Thursday, February 14, 2013

Nothin’ Says Love like Diesel Engines

When Purdue was accepted as one of the teams competing in the EcoCAR 2 competition, the team knew we were agreeing to a lot of late nights, meeting new people, making great friends and traveling to new places, but we never thought finding our future spouse would be part of the deal. This was the actual case for two members of Purdue’s EcoCAR 2 team, Christopher Rhoades, Front Drivetrain team lead and Haley Moore, Project Manager, who met at the beginning of Purdue’s first year in the competition. Chris had just started his graduate career at Purdue, and was new to the university and the state of Indiana. Haley was finishing up her undergraduate degree and starting work on her master’s degree, having been part of the team that wrote the proposal and was currently busy getting the newly formed team rolling.

Unlike some relationships, Haley and Chris’s was not love at first sight. Before the two even met, Haley had already canceled a meeting she had scheduled with Chris to go over his responsibilities on the team, causing frustration between them at first. A few weeks later the Purdue team had set off on the six hour drive to Pontiac for the Year One Fall Workshop. During the drive and the time spent at the workshop, Chris and Haley discovered that they had a lot in common and really enjoyed spending time together.  Among the discussions on engine selection and component packaging, they found that a strong friendship had been established between them. In just a few short weeks, these two mechanical (and very stubborn) engineers were dating. Chris and Haley aren’t the typical couple. Just ask their families. Everywhere they go, EcoCAR 2 gets mentioned at least ten times and at least one argument occurs. One specific time was Labor Day weekend when they got into an argument about how the car should be disassembled, in what order, and who would be in charge. Chris ended up winning that argument, although the glory was short lived when he was forced to walk Haley’s puppy Riley at 2 A.M. You will often find Chris and Haley in the same lab, usually wearing their matching EcoCAR 2 shirts. The matching shirts have even been worn by the two in pictures while on vacations.

In certain situations, some really great ideas and solutions have come from knowing each other so well. Chris typically gets frustrated very quickly. And Haley’s been able to get him to re-focus and get him to get work done (They have this saying, “Just shut up and do it”…works like a charm!) A perfect example was when the team was removing the stock engine from their Chevy Malibu. For some reason, one of the bolts that secured the front cradle got bent. After Chris spent hours trying to remove the bolt, Haley stepped in with a hammer and chisel (and then later on a drill) and got the bolt out. A short time later (and after a few trips to the hardware and auto parts stores), the engine was out and the crisis has been averted. Haley tends to be a major perfectionist. Chris knows when to pull her away from the situation and get her to relax and re-focus when no one else can. And really, does an example need to be given for this one? This is EcoCAR 2 after all J

(And here is the sappy part) All EcoCAR 2 participants can talk about the experiences and opportunities they got during the competition. But, Chris and Haley have EcoCAR 2 to thank for their engagement and approaching wedding! So during this Valentine’s Day, we thank the EcoCAR 2 Organizers and Sponsors for providing this competition that led us to each other and giving us unreasonable deadlines that keep us from going on dates.

If you are planning a wedding, here are some eco-friendly wedding tips:

-          Use a wedding invite and RSVP website instead of paper invites. You don’t have to pay postage or deal with all the RSVPs in your mailbox, and you save money! And if you really want to do paper invites, make sure they are made from recycled material
-          Give trees, or anything consumable (like salsa or homemade jam) as wedding favors
-          Avoid limos or big SUVs to haul the wedding party. Try to rent hybrids or high MPG cars!
-          Don’t require your guests to drive a lot. Try to have the wedding and reception within walking distance
-          Instead of printing pictures for everyone, upload your pictures to Flickr or Dropbox and allow them to print off the ones they want. Paper isn’t wasted this way (also saves you money!)
-          Don’t use anything disposable such as camera, plates, utensils, and napkins
-          Avoid balloons and confetti for decorations

And just to be really sappy, we also included a picture from when Chris proposed on Haley's birthday


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