Undergraduate Program > Senior Projects > Team

CSU EcoCAR 2 Teams and Personnel

Colorado State University's Vehicle Innovation Team (CSU VIT) combines approximately 35 students who are dedicated to developing and building innovative green automotive technologies with decades of experience in automotive and energy research. This diverse team brings expertise and experience to the project in a variety of fields including manufacturing, systems engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and design. The team works out of the CSU Motorsports Engineering Research Center, which supports students in the fields of vehicle dynamics, vehicle structures and materials, vehicle aerodynamics, and power-train system design and vehicle-level control.

Meet the Team: Year 3 (2013-2014)

Team Leaders


Dr. Thomas Bradley

Dr. Thomas H. Bradley is Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Colorado State University. He has earned BS and MS degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California " Davis, and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology with an emphasis in systems engineering and decision support. Primary research interests include the design of automotive, aerospace and energy systems; integrated controls and design optimization; and the validation of engineering design methods. Prior to his academic career, Bradley was sole proprietor of an independent consulting company, performing hybrid electric vehicle design and control modeling for the Electric Power Research Institute in support of vehicle development programs at Ford, Daimler Chrysler and BAE Systems. Specific expertise relative to the proposed project includes: the development of tools and methodologies for design, assessment and optimization of energy and power plant systems and hybrid vehicles.



Benjamin Geller

Benjamin Geller is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering with a focus on hybrid vehicle design methods. His previous work includes plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) evaluation at Idaho National Laboratory (INL), hybrid technology modeling at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), and design of a hydraulic hybrid retrofit for heavy diesels at Colorado State University.

Linked Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/benjamin-geller/16/bb3/441








Jake Bucher

Jake Bucher is a master’s student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Colorado State University, with research interests includes hybrid vehicle design, simulation, and testing validation. Jake earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of California Davis (UC Davis). Through undergraduate and graduate research Jake has worked on projects that include modeling and simulating the system dynamics of an underwater dynamometer at UC Davis, converting a Class 8 truck into a series hybrid with Artisan Vehicle Systems, and studying the temperature and battery net energy change effects on hybrid and electric vehicle energy consumption dynamometer results at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL).

LinkedIn Profile: www.linkedin.com/pub/jake-bucher/59/4b3/b51/






Shawn Salisbury

Shawn Salisbury is a graduate student pursuing his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering and is interested in the design and development of hybrid vehicle technologies. This will be his third year as a member of the CSU EcoCAR 2 team, serving both as a part of the Mechanical Engineering senior design program and as a graduate student. Shawn has experience evaluating EVs and PHEVs as an intern at Idaho National Laboratory, and has taken several courses focusing on controls, design, development, and modeling of advanced vehicle technologies.



Controls Systems Team

The controls team is refining the current controller design through hardware in loop (HIL) testing. With HIL testing, the controller will be integrated with the GM-LAN, Battery ECU, Fuel Cell ECU, and Electric Motor ECU. By the end of the year, the team will make the car more efficient and have a better driving experience. The controls team is also responsible for Energy Management. Through Simulink modeling, the team will be able to optimize the Malibu’s hydrogen and battery usage for the spring competition.

Alex West

Alex West is a senior in Mechanical Engineering at Colorado State University. He is the team lead for the Controls Team for year 3 of the EcoCAR2 project. The team is working on the EcoCar's drivability, fuel range, stream line control system and to improve reliability.









Tom Cummings

I am a senior Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering student at Colorado State. I currently work part time at the High Energy Physics lab at the university, where I design cryogenic monitoring equipment and photon detection instrumentation. After graduation I plan on working in the field of controls, embedded systems, digital design, or all of the above.








Matt Shannon

My name is Matt Shannon. I am studying Japanese and Engineering to one day engineer control systems for robots. I love anime, J-pop, and robotics. I’ve been building robots as a hobby for years, but most of them were novel toys. Inverse pendulums, scooters, and line followers are not intrinsically useful. I want to apply the engineering principles I’ve learned to develop cleaner, more reliable, and higher performance robots for use in everyday life. CSU’s EcoCar2 (eV) is just a robot on wheels, and she needs the love of every person in our team so that we can drive innovation and develop the hybrid car of the future. This will be the first robot I’ve built that can really shake the world.





Michael Jurich

Michael is a senior at Colorado State University currently working on his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. For the past two years he has been working in the Soil Ecology Lab helping research carbon and nitrogen dynamics. Michael is very interested in alternative energy sources, and that can be seen by his research and time on EcoCAR. When he gets some free time Michael can usually be found in the mountains snowboarding, kayaking, backpacking or hiking.  







Mechanical Team

The goals of the mechanical team is threefold.  The first is to reduce overall vehicle weight.  This includes optimizing several components such as battery box mounts, while maintaining safety standards.  The second goal is to strengthen powertrain components.  The final goal is the packaging and mounting of all the systems being designed by the other CSU EcoCAR 2 teams.


Marek Stejskal

I am currently a Senior Mechanical Engineer. My family immigrated from Czech Republic and I am the 1st to go to a University and obtain a Bachelor’s degree. This has given me strong motivation to make a difference in this world using my degree and creative imagination. I would like to find a career in the realm of the auto industry or extreme sports, be it improving efficiency, performance, and/or safety. Hobbies include anything dealing with performance cars (racing, car shows, personalization, working on them). I also like traveling and learning about other cultures, in addition to spending time with my gorgeous wife and dog, hiking, snowboarding, and sitting on the beach.






Mohammed Asheer


Mohammed Asheer is an international undergraduate Mechanical Engineering student at Colorado State University. He is originally from Qatar. Mohammed expects to graduate in May 2014. He is working on Eco-car to Mechanical System over this year. Mohammed is currently seeking the opportunity to build on his previous knowledge and experience through working in highly reputed company in Qatar for vehicle system.










Chase Betzer

Chase Betzer is a Mechanical Engineering student at CSU planning to graduate in fall of 2014.  He moved to Fort Collins from Austin TX in 2010, and is currently working as a bicycle mechanic and retail sales manager at the Gearage, a local outdoor gear store.  Growing up Chase has always had a strong work ethic, and a good mechanical sense.  Now, working as a bicycle mechanic, chase has developed a great ability to diagnose mechanical issues and find the solution to fix them.  At CSU Chase has really enjoyed the different projects.  His favorite being the sun tracking solar panel his mechatronics team designed and built.  An avid mountain biker and skier, chase hopes to stay close to the mountains and work in the bicycle industry








Devin Martinez


Devin Martinez is a senior Mechanical Engineering student and a member of the mechanical team. He has done extensive research in solar electric Unmanned Arial Vehicles (UAV). After graduation he hopes to venture into the oil industry and eventually earn his MBA. He also plans to attend law school so that he can practice patent law. His interests include teaching kids about the world of engineering, rapping, going to the gym and watching the broncos.









User Interface Team

As the CSU EcoCAR 2 user interface team in year 3, it is our goal to design and implement a fully integrated user interface that displays pertinent information to the driver while focusing on safety, performance, functionality, and consumer acceptability of the system. The main concern with driver interfaces today is that drivers have to look away from the road for periods of time in order to make changes in vehicle settings. We hope to implement features that lessen the time and distraction of the current interface by employing mechanical and electrical insight to find a system solution. One of the key functions of the system will be to display data from systems incorporated by past teams.


Sarah Bass

Sarah Bass is currently pursuing a bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering from Colorado State University. After taking a systems engineering course at CSU she is extremely interested in pursuing a future career either as a project manager or systems engineer. Sarah has a broad range of interests and hopes to find a company that works on a variety of different projects that involve forms of mechanical, electrical, and software integrated systems. She enjoys hands on experiences as well as having a part in seeing a system through its entire lifecycle. Some of her major fields of interest are in the space, robotics, vehicles, commercial products, and new technology industries. Sarah values hard work, dedication, attention to detail, creativity, and always having a willingness to jump in and start learning for all aspects of life.

LinkedIn profile: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/sarah-bass/3b/b44/573



Brandon Pletcher

Pletcher is a senior in Electrical Engineering at Colorado State University. He hopes to expand his career somewhere in the power industry. Pletcher enjoys playing chess and tennis. He hopes his time in senior design will give him experience in programming with HTML5, CSS, Javascript and C.










Mike Garcia


Mike Garcia is a Senior in the Electrical Engineering program at Colorado State University. He spent the past summer working as an intern on the systems design team at Aeroflex and the two summers previous to that interning in the QA department at Aeroflex. He enjoys programming  in C, Java, Python, and VBA. After graduation, he would like to work somewhere in the field of embedded systems design such as ASIC or FPGA design.







Garrett Kadillak

My name is Garrett Kadillak and I am currently working on the User Interface team.  As an integral part of the UI team, I look to enrich my skills in electrical components as well as in functional software design.  The ultimate goal for my career would be to mesh my creative side, associated with design, with my technical background to sharpen my skills as well as to create groundbreaking, influential products.  My LinkedIn page can be found at







Brandon Pletcher

Brandon opted to not submit a bio, or take the team picture.

Fuel Cell Team

The fuel cell team is responsible for designing and constructing a range extending power generation system for the EcoCAR. In order to ensure efficient and reliable functioning, members will construct a controller to govern fuel cell operation. The team will also install safety systems to protect users from the hazards associated with hydrogen use.

Clinton Knackstedt

Clinton opted not to submit a bio.












Duc Chu

Duc Chu opted to not submit a bio.












Joshua Engle


Joshua Engle is an undergraduate Mechanical Engineering student at Colorado State University and expects to graduate in May 2014. As an intern, he worked on failure modeling of DoD Radar sites by creating a model to predict system uptime of the entire radar site. He has taken classes in Solar and Alternative Energies, and looks forward to applying his engineering experience to improving the performance of the Hydrogen Fuel cell of the EcoCar2. After graduation, Josh looks forward to starting his career in energy systems design and hybrid electric systems in the energy and automotive industries.







Marilena Grovenstien


Marilena Grovenstien opted to not submit a bio.













Nathaniel Ownes


Nathaniel is a Junior Mechanical Engineering student from Virginia. He came to Colorado for school because of his love for the outdoors and new experiences; the same reasons led him to join the EcoCAR team. So far Nathaniel has spent his summers as a jeweler’s apprentice and a math tutor at CSU. He hopes to continue to have new and challenging experiences in the engineering field.   








Outreach (Communications Team)

Communications Team Year 3 (2013-2014)


Emily Keats (Communications Manager)

Emily Keats is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Public Communication and Technology through the Department of Journalism and Technical Communication. While her research interests do not center on advanced vehicle technology, she greatly enjoys her position as the Communications Manager for the EcoCAR 2 team because it provides her with excellent experience in the public relations and marketing realm.










Miles Rand (Communications Coordinator)

Miles Rand graduated from CSU in December 2013, but still supports the team electronically as needed from California. He graduated with a BA in Communication Studies, and a minor in History. Miles is currently involved in the Film Industry in California. Miles brought a passion for automotive technology to the communications team despite a non-technical background, and was often quite valuable in technical concepts to non-engineers.

Miles Rand also maintains a professional profile on Linkedin.







Torie Hawn (Communications Intern)

Torie Hawn is a second-year Journalism and Technical Communications major with a minor in Global Environmental Sustainability. EcoCAR 2 has given her an opportunity to combine her areas of study, and pursue experience in environmental communications with the CSU EcoCAR's sustainable technology. Hawn also works at the School of Global Environmental Sustainability as Project Coordinator for the GSBI (Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative).









Mary Timby (Year1 Communications Manager, currently serving as Outreach Team Consultant)

Former Outreach Coordinator Mary Timby now works as Communications Coordinator at Bohemian Foundation in Fort Collins, Colorado. Mary is responsible for press relations, web and social media, communications strategy, research and LOTS of writing.

"My work as the Outreach Coordinator for CSU's EcoCAR 2 team helped me get where I am today. The EcoCAR 2 outreach program mimics what professional public relations and communications do everyday, so it definitely eased my transition from a student to a working professional. I am proud to call myself an EcoCAR 2 grad!"