LB Fox is a senior Mechanical Engineering student at Virginia Tech. He has been involved with VT Rally since the spring of 2016. As a senior in high school in Martinsville, VA, he restored a 1941 Willys MB which inspired him to pursue mechanical engineering, and his love of off-road vehicles drove LB to join VT Rally. He spent two summers taking welding classes and earned American Welding Society certifications for MIG and TIG welding. LB spends most of his free time outside of school and church working in the metal shop and wood shop and enjoying all things outdoors. This summer, LB is getting married and is hoping to obtain and engineering job in Roanoke, VA.
VT Rally team’s academic advisor, Steve Southward, has his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan State University. His areas of expertise include Ground Vehicle Chassis & Suspension Performance, Modeling and Simulation of Dynamic Systems, and Real-Time Adaptive Signal Processing and Control.
Tyler Bezek is a senior in Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech and has been involved with VT Rally since the fall of 2015. He’s originally from Manassas, VA and has been interested in cars for as long as he can remember. He has taken technical electives such as Internal Combustion Engines to learn more about the ins and outs of how cars operate. Tyler also serves as an undergraduate research assistant to graduate students at CenTiRe, Virginia Tech’s Center for Tire Research. He assists in a number of projects involving rolling resistance, terrain modeling, and suspension dynamics. Outside of class, Tyler teaches swim lessons at McComas Gym on campus, plays the saxaphone at the Newman Catholic Campus Ministry, and loves to hit the local mountain bike trails any chance he gets. After graduation in May, Tyler hopes to land a job in the Roanoake, VA area, so he can continue living in the wonderful Blue Ridge Mountains.
Christopher Hughes is a 5th year senior studying Mechanical Engineering on the 2017 VT Rally Team. He is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is the only member of his family who did not go to Penn State. He is a member of the Suspension sub-team and uses his background and interest in off road vehicles to help design this year’s suspension. His passion for off road vehicles grew after he bought a jeep, became a member of Sinking Creek 4-Wheel Drive Association, and met previous members of VT Rally. Around campus, Topher is a member of Snow Club, Scuba Club, Navy ROTC, and formerly the Corps of Cadets. His past internships include a small military contractor machine shop and DRA Taggart. Following graduation, he hopes to become a Nuclear Submarine Warfare Officer in the United States Navy.
Tau Ly is a senior in Mechanical Engineering and has been volunteering with VT Rally since the spring of 2016. He became interested in cars after taking Land Vehicle Dynamics taught by Dr. Ahmadian Mehdi and is now a member of the suspension sub-team for VT Rally. Tau loves eating snacks and watching action movies, but the 16 credits of classes and labs is taking away his free time. After graduation, Tau will pursue a dual masters in business (MBA) and engineering (MSE). Bring Tau food when you visit him at the VT Rally garage, and he may help you with your mechanical engineering homework.
Wesley Alvis is a senior Mechanical Engineering student at Virginia Tech with a focus in Automotive and Green Engineering. He joined VT Rally in the fall of 2016 after being inspired by last year’s team progress. Originally from Texas, Wesley spent a number of years in northern Virginia before recently moving to North Carolina. He became a member of the suspension sub-team so that he can apply knowledge to the car drawn from his hobbies, off-roading in his Jeep, and competing in Autocross in his Subaru WRX. Wesley is fascinated by anything with wheels and is heavily involved in the Car Club at Virginia Tech, as well as Sinking Creek 4WD Association on campus. During his co-op with Volvo Trucks and Peterbilt Motors, he learned about the logistics of manufacturing heavy vehicles and plans to apply similar concepts to the VT Rally car. After graduation, he plans on securing a job in Colorado in the Product Development engineering field. In his free time, Wesley enjoys photography, exploring new places, and fixing the endless list of things that break on his Jeep.
Daniel Salas is a senior Mechanical Engineering student at Virginia Tech who became a member of the VT Rally team in the spring semester of his junior year. He is originally from Lima, Peru and has been interested in cars since he was five years old, and his interest in off-road vehicles and racing led him to VT Rally. This year, Daniel will be supporting the suspension team. He hopes to gain more knowledge on vehicle suspension as well as more hands on experience throughout the design process. In his free time, he enjoys ostrich racing, playing Pokémon GO, and Rock Paper Scissors. After graduation, Daniel will be pursuing a career in the automotive or manufacturing industry.
Bradford Wilson is a senior studying Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Computer Science from Annapolis, Maryland. He is currently enrolled in the Undergraduate/Graduate Accelerated Program and will be pursuing a master’s degree in engineering in the coming year. As a new member of VT Rally this year, Bradford has a lot of experience in mechanical design working at Kratos Rocket Support Services and the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory. Bradford is very interested in space exploration and is a long time member of the Astronomy Club of Virginia Tech. He hopes to find a career working with robots in space at NASA JPL or SpaceX. In his free time, Bradford enjoys camping, sailing, and model building.
Kristina Crump is both a senior in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters Student in Materials Science and Engineering. She has had two summer internships at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center working with Solar Sails and has gained experience in many programs such as MATLAB and NX10. Kristina plans on applying her expertise to the VT Rally Suspension sub-team, and hopes to gain more knowledge on suspension vehicle design, as well as valuable hands on experience. In her free time, Kristina dances Swing, Blues, and Salsa.
Ben Amos is a senior in Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech from WIlliamstown, WV and is a member of the Powertrain sub-team on VT Rally. Growing up riding dirt bikes and being around various farm machinery, Ben developed an interest in motorsports and mechanical work at a young age. He has spent four internships at Solvay Specialty Polymers as a maintenance engineer, where he increased his knowledge for mechanical systems and components as well as machinery repair practices. When Ben is not at school, he spends his time restoring his 1979 Jeep J-10, tinkering with dirt track race cars, and various other vehicle maintenance and projects.
Philopatier Botrous is a senior in Mechanical Engineering and was born and raised in Egypt. He had an internship at Mercedez-Benz in the summer of 2014 and an internship at Graziella Jewelry in Italy in the summer of 2016. After Philopatier discovered his interest in cars, he decided to join VT Rally as a volunteer in the spring of 2016 before becoming a member of the Powetrain sub-team this fall. After graduation, he plans to continue his education and get his MBA. Philopatier was in the Egyptian swimming federation and participated in several championships.
Ahmed Omar is a senior Mechanical Engineering student at Virginia Tech and has been volunteering for VT rally since November 2015. He is originally from Alexandria, Egypt, a city off the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. In 2008, Ahmed found his hobby and passion of working on internal combustion engines, while he was a student at the University of Alexandria. He has been to many different universities and has traveled to many countries. In 2010, Ahmed completed an internship with the Mercedes-Benz Assembly Line Plant and learned a lot about the manufacturing process and IC engines. He became a member of the VT Rally Powertrain sub-team in the spring of 2016. Ahmed is part of many on campus groups like the Middle Eastern Student Association and the RotarAct Club, and he hopes to land a job in a great manufacturing plant. In his free time, Ahmed loves to watch birds and go to the beach.
Jesse Tuck is a senior studying Mechanical Engineering, originally from Mechanicsville, Virginia. Jesse is a part of the Powertrain sub-team for VT Rally and has been involved with the team since his junior year. Jesse loves all things combustion and has been turning wrenches for as long as he can remember. His passion for hands on work and going fast is what led him to VT Rally. He grew up working with his father on anything he could, starting with small engines around the house and eventually car engines. When Jesse’s hands aren’t greasy, he enjoys wakeboarding, snowboarding, hiking, and other outdoor activities. He was also fortunate to be given an opportunity for an internship with Cummins in 2015, where he was able to expand his knowledge of combustion to include diesel engines. Jesse hopes to be able to pursue his passions in the future for his career, and he is particularly interested in the automobile industry.
Peter Duda is a senior in Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech and has been involved with VT Rally since the spring of 2016. He is originally from Middletown, NY where he grew up racing motocross and performing all of the maintenance on his bikes. Peter had a co-op with Spectrum Brands working in the R&D department as a test engineering in a UL certified lab. His role was to perform experiments such as life tests, durability tests, flow tests and more on aquarium filters and other products. He also worked closely with quality assurance, production and marketing to troubleshoot any problems that would arise and ensure well organized communication throughout the plant.
Stella Thai is a senior at Virginia Tech studying Mechanical Engineering. She was born and raised in Mechanicsville, VA and found inspiration to become an engineer from her high school calculus teacher who believed in encouraging young women to go into the STEM field. At the end of her junior year, Stella joined VT Rally looking to gain experience in human and safety engineering and has now found her place on the Weight Reduction sub-team. Outside of school, Stella serves as the President of Virginia Tech’s Panhellenic Council, the Co-Executive of Entertainment for Virginia Tech’s Relay For Life, the Co-Chair of Special Events and Elections for the Class of 2017 Leadership Team, and works closely with the Virginia Tech Alumni Association as a member of the Student Alumni Associates. She has a love for working with people and serving others and her university and has truly embraced the lifestyle of Ut Prosim since becoming a part of the Hokie Nation. After graduation, Stella plans on continuing her education and pursuing a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Daniel Culler is a senior in Mechanical Engineering from Central Virginia. He has invested extra time into automotive technical electives such as Engines & Powertrains, Kinematics, Advance Technology Vehicles, and Practices in Finite Element Analysis. Throughout his academic career, Daniel has maintained, repaired, and modified his personal vehicles, and he contributes to the Weight Reduction sub-team for VT Rally. After graduating, Daniel will pursue a career in the automotive design field and hopes to one day manufacture his own supercars. Daniel spends his free time repairing cars and motorcycles.
Omer Khan is a senior in Mechanical Engineering and became a member of VT Rally after hearing about the team in the spring of 2016. Originally from Pakistan, Omer Khan has always been interested in automotive racing which led him to choose mechanical engineering as a major, volunteer with Formula SAE his sophomore year, and then join VT Rally as a member of the Weight Reduction sub-team. Primarily interested the Aerodynamic and Chassis side of the team, Omer Khan is currently taking Finite Element Analysis and plans to take Mechanical Design II. After graduation, Khan will pursue a career closely related to the automotive field. Khan is an Engineer; he has no free time.
Troy “Drew” Smith is a senior Mechanical Engineering student with a focus in automotive technology. His family resides in Warrenton, VA, though he spent much of his childhood living near Ft. Hood, TX. He has pursued his automotive focus by taking technical electives such as Engines and Powertrains, Advanced Technology Vehicles, and Internal Combustion Engines, and he hopes to take more in his final year at Virginia Tech to continue learning what he can about motor vehicles. Though his summers have been filled with military training events, Drew has found time to pursue his interest in motor vehicles in different ways, such as performing maintenance on the Stryker fighting vehicle while attached to a mechanized infantry unit. In the spring, Drew will commission as a 2nd LT in the U.S. Army where he hopes to make a career as a military officer. He hopes to pursue his love of vehicles by restoring old cars as a hobby in his spare time and potentially putting his degree to further use after he is done with his time in the military. Drew enjoys backpacking, lifting, hunting.
Blake Feichtl is studying Math with a Computer Science minor and has been involved with VT Rally since his freshman year as a volunteer, receiving independent study credit.He is from Fairfax, VA and has a general knowledge of automotive design from personal experience working on modified cars. As a volunteer for the 2015 year, he produced multiple promotional videos to help spread the word about VT Rally. He was also able to work closely with the 2015 team to better understand the general project timeline and execution of the team’s designs. This year, Blake will work closely with the Weight Reduction sub-team and is interested in working in the automotive industry in research and development where he can utilize his mathematical modeling and data analysis skills to help develop better aftermarket products. Blake’s strong communication skills and passion for automotive design makes him a valuable aid to the team. In his free time, Blake enjoys swimming and is a member of the Virginia Tech Swim Club.