Industry Mentors Key to Vehicle Challenge Success

Programs like the Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge are made possible in part by the generous support of industry volunteers as well as NFPA Education and Technology Foundation and Pascal Society donors. 

The NFPA Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge strives to promote original thinking in a competitive setting by combining two technology platforms that are not normally associated with one another—human-powered vehicles and fluid power (hydraulics and pneumatics). By combining this unlikely pair, the Vehicle Challenge hopes to create an environment that results in uncommon connections and breakthroughs while supporting learning and the growth of fluid power industry knowledge. 

One of the keys to the success of the Vehicle Challenge Program is the support provided to each team by their industry mentor. This year, the twenty-three teams met with their mentors remotely or in-person at least four times throughout the school year. From help with sizing motors and pumps and understanding the benefits and drawbacks of various hose fitting options to focusing in on the fundamental hydraulic circuit, the expertise of industry mentors is instrumental in preparing students for fluid power careers.

The mentors provided more than technical expertise. They encouraged students to think of innovative solutions, coached them on presentation skills, and reminded them of the real-world supply chain problems. One of the teams participating in the Vehicle Challenge said this about their mentor, “Their advice and mentorship supported us
throughout this work, and their vision and guidance were one of the reasons we were able to complete our bike. Their belief in our team made us more confident in our abilities.”

Mentors also have the opportunity to be judges at the competition. The Vehicle Challenge Program is one of the best opportunities for NFPA members to recruit talented and creative engineering students.

The opportunity to mentor and/or judge a Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge is reserved for Pascal donors. For more information, please contact Mary Pluta at mpluta@nfpa.com.

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