Nick Skadberg just graduated from Colorado State University. He is now working at Siemens Infrastructure & Cities as an energy engineer. I interviewed him at the EcoCAR2 Year 2 Competition a few weeks ago. Below is our video and blog interview.
When did you know you wanted to be an engineer?
“I knew that I wanted to be an engineer long before I knew the title. I have been building things since I was little, and I was more likely to entertain myself with the box than the toy. Formally, I realized that engineering was my goal during high school when I took AP physics. My teacher was a former mechanical engineer, and he encouraged us to use what we learned in that class in our future endeavors.”
Tell us about the EcoCAR2 project this year and your role on the team.
“Colorado State University’s EcoCAR2 team replaced the original gasoline engine in our 2013 Chevy Malibu with a hydrogen fuel cell and large battery pack. Because of this, there were modifications needed to the entirety of the vehicle, including the human-machine interface and center stack hardware. I was the group manager for CSU’s user interface team, which was responsible for the redesign of the HMI in the vehicle. Some of the primary features we worked to integrate – and which the future team will continue to work on – are control of the HVAC system, satellite radio and media entertainment system. Also vehicle status information regarding the hydrogen fuel cell and battery will be included. We also integrated a cellular modem into the vehicle, which allows us remote access to some very limited features and the ability for the user to access the Internet. There were many people on my team who extensively modeled using Siemens’ NX software.”
Any lessons learned from EcoCAR2?
“EcoCAR2 was my first time not only managing the timeline, but also the budget of a group. The big thing I learned is that you never seem to have enough time and rarely enough money for a project. I really had to learn to balance our workload and manpower for impending deadlines.”
What advice would you give students considering engineering as a career?
“For me, I knew I was going to do engineering at a fairly early age, and started to emphasize engineering-related coursework such as advanced placement physics and calculus. Later along, I think the real-world experiences of my internships were a major component in why I was hired.”
How did you find out about the job you’re taking with Siemens Infrastructure & Cities?
“During my sophomore design project, I was tasked with using a Siemens S7-200 series PLC. With that initial exposure to Siemens products, I began doing more research into the company as a whole. Because of that research, I discovered that I was really interested in both the building technologies and mobility divisions of Siemens. When a representative of Siemens Infrastructure & Cities was on campus last semester, I made a point to meet her. She told me a great deal about the company, specifically about the operations development program in which I was hired.”
Thanks Nick for taking the time to answer our questions. Good luck with your new gig.
Find out more about student competitions we support (like EcoCAR2) on our Academic Projects and Competitions website.