The Arbor Award recognizes and celebrates the contributions of many exemplary volunteers to the University of Toronto. This year Blue Sky Solar Racing team’s member and adviser Ahthavan Sureshkumar will be receiving an Arbor Award for his exemplary efforts and contribution towards the team.
Ahthavan Sureshkumar was the Chief Technical Director for the Blue Sky Solar Racing team and has been a key volunteer of the team since 2003. He has been a faithful member, leader and advisor for the team for over 15 years, and his involvement in multiple departments of the team including Mechanical, Electrical, Solar Array, Advancement and Strategy was crucial for the team to place 8th at the 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, the best finish by the team to date. From doing his Undergraduate studies in Engineering Science to Masters in Medical Biophysics, to currently an Alumni advisor for the team, he has contributed his technical skills, experience, time and energy with the belief that the races promote new innovations in the field of solar automotive technology to better our future.
Ahthavan is now working as a Product Development Engineer for Ford Motor Company and has previously worked for Apex Composites, an aerospace company developing composite parts. “My involvement with the team motivated me to tackle challenges and believe that you can do what you set your mind to.” Ahthavan says he has received invaluable experience from being on the team by learning skills that contributed to his job at Ford working on electric vehicles and stated, “joining the team was the best decision I made.”
“I learned a lot from his work on his race simulator, which bridges the gap between the solar array and strategy departments of the team.” Nasa Nguyen the Polaris Array Lead states.
“He taught me how to use the simulation and how to troubleshoot some common issues that would exist when trying to use the program… I would present and discuss my findings with him and he would give me some more insight/explanations if I was having difficulty.” Sam Chau, the Gen X Electromech Lead said.
“Ahthavan has built solar simulation software which the team used to optimize the energy input of the vehicle and taught the team how to use advanced ANSYS Workbench modules to analyze our parts and the fundamentals of finite element analysis,” current Chief Technical Director Sean Doughty said.
“He has been an outspoken critic of the status quo and inspired me to design and build the first fully carbon fiber occupant space with a thermal-formed plastic windscreen.”
Doughty also exclaims “Ahthavan has positively contributed to my peers’ and my education as future engineers and ensured the roots of the Blue Sky Solar Racing team are strong as the team continues to grow throughout the ages.”
Ahthavan wanted to mention Tomek Bartczak, Andreas Marouchos, and Amy Bilton who have also been significant contributors to the team, because of the amount of time and effort they have put towards the project over the years. Tomek and Andreas were also Chief Technical Directors and Amy was the Aerodynamics Lead for Cerulean. Since their tenures, they have been part of the advisory board for the team, ensuring the team was ready and the car was safe before every race.
The Blue Sky Solar Racing Team is very grateful for Ahthavan’s contributions to the team and would like to congratulate Ahthavan on receiving the Arbor Award.