If we keep getting stories such as this, we can stop writing the “woe is me” type of articles about the future of engineering and manufacturing. Here is yet another great example of a company in our industry working with young people. They won a trip to Hannover. I hope to meet them there next month!

A team from Early College EAST, Havelock, N.C., has won a trip to Hanover, Germany, in Phoenix Contact’s Nanoline Contest. The company announced the winner on Saturday, February 16, to kick off its National Engineers Week celebration.

The team designed and built the “Delian One Remotely Operated Vehicle.” The unmanned vehicle uses Phoenix Contact’s Nanoline Controller and nanoNavigator software to remotely maneuver and explore an underwater environment. The Nanoline controls the Delian One’s thrusters, so that it can submerge and maneuver underwater. It also turns the lights and camera on or off.

Team members are Thomas Munday, Alex Messmer, Ashley Mullikin, Benjamin Fisher, Aaron Nasser and Claudia Yllanes. The school advisor is John Ebright, and Don Dickinson served as the team’s Phoenix Contact mentor.

They will travel to Hanover, Germany, this April, where they will demonstrate the project at the TectoYou Hall at Hanover Fair (Hannover Messe). Hanover Fair is the world’s largest industrial tradeshow, and TectoYou is a special hall dedicated to inspiring young people to consider careers in engineering.

Ten teams competed in the fifth annual contest. Second place ($500) went to Walker Career Center in Indianapolis, Ind., for building an “Automated Hotdog Cooker.” The Neptune team from Lower Dauphin High School, Hummelstown, Pa., took third prize ($250) for its “Automated Fish Tank.” J.P. McCaskey High School, Lancaster, Pa., came in fourth place ($125) with its “Basketball Return.”

David Skelton, vice president and general manager of Phoenix Contact Development and Manufacturing, served as one of the judges. He stated, “We need engineers to be successful in our business, which is one reason we developed this program and other outreach activities throughout the year. Engineering is a wonderful career option, and this contest exposes young people to our profession. They create solutions with some tools and their imagination, which is the same thing our engineers do every day. The results of their projects are truly inspiring.”

The contest is part of Phoenix Contact’s National Engineers Week celebration. National Engineers Week (Feb. 17-23) recognizes engineers for their contributions to society and also serves as a catalyst for outreach.

Other activities at Phoenix Contact include:
• School Outreach: Engineers teach sixth-grade science classes at Middletown Area Middle School
• Engineering Lunch and Learn: A chance for Phoenix Contact’s non-engineer employees to learn about their colleagues’ jobs
• Engineering Awards Banquet: A dinner to honor Phoenix Contact engineers for their achievements over the past year

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