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COES students, professor win first place in Shell Eco-Car team competition

Four students and one faculty advisor from Louisiana Tech University’s Eco-Car team have won first place in the “Best Overall Team” category at a new event called “Hack-a-Truck,” sponsored by Shell Oil Company last weekend at Google’s headquarters in Palo Alto, California.

L-R: Matthew McHenry, Tommy Naquin, Kyle Dupree, and Matthew LaCroix (Dr. Mike Swambom – not pictured)

Eight universities from across the country were invited to the event, and paired off into four teams tasked with designing the “food truck of the future.” Louisiana Tech students Matthew McHenry (electrical engineering), Matthew LaCroix (computer science), Kyle Dupree (mechanical engineering) and Tommy Naquin (mechanical engineering), along with faculty advisor Dr. Michael Swanbom, worked with students and advisors from the University of Illinois on a superhero-themed food truck that claimed the honor for the best overall team at this element of Shell’s #MakeTheFuture initiative.

“I could not be more pleased with the creativity, innovation, drive and cooperation that I saw from this team during this 42-hour brain-blitz,” said Swanbom. “The Louisiana Tech Eco-Car team will be participating in the Shell Eco-marathon event for the tenth consecutive year this spring.”

The Louisiana Tech-University of Illinois team was tasked with designing a food truck that optimized the customer experience while integrating several emerging technologies focused primarily on energy harvesting and conservation. Design tasks included choosing a menu, picking out appropriate appliances, laying out the food preparation process to maximize the rate of production and the development of an enticing theme.

“Louisiana Tech has had a lot of success competing and winning with our undergraduate programs in regional and national events,” Dr. Heath Tims, associate dean for undergraduate studies at the College of Engineering and Science and Eco-Car team faculty advisor, added. “We are proud of the way these students represented our program, and are already looking forward to sending a team next year.”

In addition to the group winning best overall team, most creative design, best story and best food honors, Shell will commission a food truck based on the Louisiana Tech-University of Illinois team design and, following its use at the Shell Eco-Marathon event in Detroit, Mich. in late April, the food truck will be donated to a low-income community.

Written by Brandy McKnight – mcknight@latech.edu