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Student Group Learning at the Forefront of Innovation at Italian Motorsports

Student Group Learning at the Forefront of Innovation at Italian Motorsports

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Expert Advice: Gian Paolo Dallara (right), founder and owner of Dallara Automobil, discusses topics about motorsport vehicle design to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology President Matt Branam, Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor Patrick Cunningham and Grand Prix Formula SAE team member Matt Kennedy (left).

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology mechanical engineering students and faculty members interested in motorsports exchanged ideas with leaders of automotive innovation at the Italian headquarters of Dallara and Ferrari during a recent European trip.

The contingent was led by Rose-Hulman President Matt Branam and also included Jeff Belskus, president and chief executive officer of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He is vice chair of Rose-Hulman's Board of Trustees.

The educational trip came at the invitation of Gian Paolo Dallara, founder and owner of the most successful international motorsports vehicle design company. Dallara Automobili provided the six-day, all-expense-paid trip, and Gian Paolo Dallara shared his philosophy for innovation and success while accompanying the group during a tour of Dallara Automobili's facility in Varano, Italy. There was also a visit to the Society of Automotive Engineers' formula motorsports competition and a dinner with Italian SAE members.

It was an experience that the Rose-Hulman group will not soon forget.

"Dallara is a small company and Rose-Hulman is a small college. In both places the people are passionate about their jobs and they care about one another. We both strive for excellence in what we do," said Patrick Cunningham, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and faculty adviser for Rose-Hulman's Grand Prix Formula SAE race team. "We were all struck by similarities."

Students participating are leaders of Rose-Hulman's Grand Prix Engineering Formula SAE team which is part of the college's Advanced Transportation Systems program. They had the opportunity to meet with students from Israel, India and Germany at a European regional Formula SAE competition in Varano.

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Ciao! Rose-Hulman contingent joins Dallara eating Italian style

"Even though we're from all these different backgrounds, we have so much in common," said Daniel Watson, a senior from London, Ky.

Other students participating in the trip were Graham Blyth, a senior from York, Pa.; Jay Kautz, a junior from Geneva, Ill.; Matt Kennedy, a senior from Berkeley Heights, N.J.; and Casey Povelones, a senior from Danville, Ill. Zac Chambers, associate professor of mechanical engineering and director of Rose-Hulman's Advanced Transportation Systems program, also joined in the unique educational experience.

Dallara's pursuit of excellence, and their philosophy of employing failures as a tool to generate greater success, creates an environment of innovation, team spirit and employee pride in their work.

"Mr. Dallara is keen on allowing failure and learning from mistakes. He commented that he tries to only make a mistake once, learning from it and moving on, but mistakes are necessary for learning, moving forward and innovating," Cunningham related.

Rose-Hulman continues a strong relationship with the Italian auto engineering industry, and officials hope to establish an internship program for students to learn motorsports design at Dallara Automobili's production facilities in Italy and Indianapolis.