YSU students take first in national Green Energy competition

Accepting the first place award in the national Green Energy Challenge are, from left, front row, Ted Bosela, YSU professor and team advisor, Kalen Wallace, Mike Currao, Jarrett Scacchetti, Dave Wright and Ethan Parks, NECA President Dennis Quebe, Jacob Tibbits and Nick Gealy; second row, Bob Page and Jason Nutt.

A group of Youngstown State University engineering students bested teams from 18 other universities, including Penn State and Purdue, to take first place in the national Green Energy Challenge competition in Las Vegas.

The 15-member YSU team won the top prize with an energy saving plan they designed for the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor on West Wood Street on the YSU campus.

“Once again, our students shone on the national stage against competitors from prestigious engineering schools around the country,” said Theodore R. Bosela, YSU professor of Engineering Technology and the team’s advisor. “Their performance is another indication of the caliber of students at YSU, the quality of our Engineering Technology and Engineering academic programs and reflective of YSU’s emerging role as an urban research institution.”

The YSU team’s proposal was chosen as one of four finalists in the first stage of the competition, and they won first place honors when they presented the plan before a panel of judges at the National Electrical Contractors Association Annual Convention in Las Vegas on Sept. 30.

It was the third consecutive year YSU participated and placed in the challenge, sponsored by the NECA and ELECTRI International – The Foundation for Electrical Construction.  YSU’s NECA Chapter placed third in 2010 and second in 2011.

Students who presented YSU’s award-winning energy plan at the conference are: David Wright of Washingtonville, senior, electrical engineering technology; Ethan Parks of North Lima, sophomore, EET; Jason Nutt of Cortland, senior, EET; Jarrett Scacchetti of Canfield, senior, electrical engineering; Kalen Wallace of Youngstown, junior, mechanical engineering technology; and Michael Currao of Youngstown, junior, EE.

Other students who participated in the written proposal included: senior EE majors Nicholas Brown of McKeesport, Pa. and Michael Sammartino of Canfield; junior EE majors Matthew Biedka of Glendora, Calif., Drew Duraney of New Middletown and Jacob Tibbits of Canfield; and EET majors Robert Page of Newton Falls, a senior, and Nicholas Gealy of Fowler, a junior.

Bosela said YSU’s team received financial support to help fund the Las Vegas trip from local electrical contractors that are members of the Mahoning Valley Chapter of NECA, as well as from the YSU Student Government Association.

The YSU NECA Chapter team won a $2,000 cash prize for its first place finish in the challenge presentation. The University of Washington, Iowa State and Georgia Tech placed second, third and fourth respectively. YSU also took third place for a poster presentation of its proposal, along with an additional $250 cash prize.

Assigned to design an energy saving retrofit plan for a campus building, the YSU team chose the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor. The museum is a three-story brick and stucco building that opened in the late 1980s and is managed by YSU’s Department of History under an agreement with the Ohio Historical Society. Bosela said the students invested hundreds of hours evaluating the building’s lighting and mechanical systems, proposing energy-saving replacements that would maintain the architectural integrity of the building, developing a financing plan and then creating a presentation for the judges that included a simulated video walking tour.

“They had to consider the whole business aspect: how to package it, how to present it, how to market it,” said Bosela. “What makes this competition so great for the students is that it reflects the kind of real world environment that they will be working in.”

For more information on the Green Energy Challenge, visit: http://blog.necaconvention.org/tag/green-energy-challenge/.