Engineering Students Place First at National Competition

Press Release Photo
Alan Hill and Mark Delavan with their JBU support team. Front row (kneeling) Nathan Gustafson and Caleb Shelburne. Second row: Advisor Cliff Peters, Alan Hill, Jesse VanGorkom, Mark Delavan, Drew Martindale, Advisor Fernando Vega.

Siloam Springs, Ark. (April 23, 2009) - John Brown University engineering seniors Mark Delavan and Alan Hill took first place in this year’s national Basic Utility Vehicle (BUV) competition. The event was held in Zionsville, Ind. near Indianapolis and is sponsored by the Institute for Affordable Transportation. This year’s competitors came from such schools as Purdue University, University of Cincinnati, University of Missouri—Columbia, and Northern Illinois University. The vehicle Delavan and Hill designed and built as their senior capstone project was tested in a grueling series of six events that challenged the vehicle’s agility, endurance, strength, and overall capabilities. In addition to the six events, the vehicle must also be low in cost, easy to maintain, and reliable. "This is my first year working with the seniors on the BUV and it's been a great experience,” said Clifford Peters, team advisor. “To overcome all the problems and challenges along the way, to see the vehicle come together and function well, and to ultimately see our team take First Place in the competition has been very energizing to me. It's been an honor to serve our Lord in this way and to help provide reliable and affordable transportation to the working poor in the developing world." "It's awesome to finally see the reward for all the hard work that Mark and I put into the BUV,” said Alan Hill. “This semester has been the busiest and most stressful, but we learned so much about the mechanics of vehicles, basic skills such as welding, and how to manage our time wisely. I thank God for giving us the strength and perseverance to finish, and finish well." This year’s competitions required competitors to build a vehicle for leg amputees, with all controls hand-operated. Each vehicle was loaded with 600 lbs of cargo and had to tow a trailer carrying an additional 300 lbs. Numerous design specifications had to be met including a variety of utility and safety features. Mark Delavan said, “I am glad that I got to work on this project. Not because it was fun to make or a physical challenge or that we won, but because of how BUVs can change lives. The judges explained how BUVs can impact lives in developing countries. When someone becomes sick in a remote village the only way to get to a hospital 40 miles away is by a two-day wheelbarrow ride. With a BUV the person can make it to the hospital within a couple of hours. Learning that I was part of an organization that helps to change lives in developing countries made working more than100 hours on this project not seem so bad." This annual competition is for teams of students to conceive, design, and fabricate a vehicle that can be utilized in the developing world. The process takes nearly a year to complete with the final test being the competition held in Indiana. “This BUV project is an excellent example of integration of faith and learning: students apply the engineering principle into practice to make Basic Utility Vehicles to assist and empower people in impoverished places for Christ’s name,” said Young-Gurl Kim, Professor of Engineering and Director of Institute for Biblical Community Development at JBU.”

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