Networking: Green vehicle sustainability lives at Penn State

The world is one expansive network. Reminders of this occur all the time.

Last month, Elliott Weinstein was at Penn State for a meeting of Penn State Hillel, of which he’s currently the board chair. Weinstein had just purchased a Tesla S, one of the highest powered and lowest consuming vehicles available. Within a short time of being at University Park, a couple of engineering students spotted the car on College Avenue, engaged its owner in conversation and told him about upcoming sustainability events at Penn State.

As a driver who was experiencing “sustainability” up close and personal on a daily basis, Weinstein surfed and discovered the Sustainability Institute at Penn State, as well as, David Riley, assistant professor of architectural engineering, and Joel Anstrom. Anstrom is director of the Larson Institute’s Hybrid and Hydrogen Vehicle Research Laboratory at Penn State and coordinator of the 21st Century Automotive Challenge, an annual green-vehicles competition that occurs in May at University Park.

Three students at Tesla dashboard, from left to right: Harshad Kunte, Jim Kreibick, Benjamin Sattler

Three students at Tesla dashboard, from left to right: Harshad Kunte, Jim Kreibick, Benjamin Sattler

So this explains why one recent afternoon, Anstrom, three engineering students and a staff member with a camera were – with the owner’s full permission – joyriding in the Tesla while Weinstein was in a meeting. The sleek machine is practically noiseless already, so when it passes other vehicles like they’re standing still and without a sound, it’s enough to make even the most composed engineering student giggle with glee.

“Wow!” said the students. Wow indeed. It’s impressive, what applied engineering can accomplish.

The students are currently volunteering time to work on the Larson Institute’s EV-1, a pioneer machine in the green vehicle movement. They are James Kreibick (electrical engineering), Harshad Kunte (masters student, mechanical engineering), and Benjamin Sattler (mechanical engineering and engineering science).

Weinstein received his B.S. in marketing in 1973 and M.S. in accounting in 1974 from Penn State. He is president of Weinstein Realty Advisors, based in York, Pa.

“We’ve gotta improve the world,” said Weinstein of the Tesla’s advanced technology that produces virtually no pollution and doesn’t send petrodollars abroad.

Foursome with Tesla, front view, from left to right: Jim Kreibick, Harshad Kunte, Dr. Joel Anstrom, Benjamin Sattler

Foursome with Tesla, front view, from left to right: Jim Kreibick, Harshad Kunte, Dr. Joel Anstrom,
Benjamin Sattler

The 21st Century Automotive Challenge will draw together a range of vehicle types and advanced technologies, with a public display event on May 19 at the MorningStar Solar Home, on Penn State’s University Park campus.

For more information about the automotive challenge, visit

To learn about student education opportunities at the Larson Institute, visit For
information about student education opportunities at the Sustainability Institute, visit

CREDIT: Mike Casper

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Start-up Week

Next week, March 18-23, a week-long celebration will showcase talented entrepreneurs from around the country, many of which are Penn State alumni and some are engineering alumni. The College of Information Sciences and Technology is hosting the event along with the College of Engineering, Smeal College of Business and the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Erik Davidson is a 2008 graduate of the Penn State College of Engineering with a B.S. in electrical engineering and a 2010 graduate with an M.S. in electrical engineering. In June 2008, Davidson used his engineering skills to co-found Buzby Networks, delivering hardware and software to accurately track people’s locations within a building using wireless technology. Davidson will present on Tuesday, March 19 from 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. in 112 Walker Building.

Ethan Wendle is the founder and CEO of DiamondBack Automotive Accessories, Inc. DiamondBack manufactures and markets a patented line of Utility Tonneau Covers for pickup trucks. In 2003, Ethan took a break from his studies in Penn State’s College of Engineering to start the company and has spent more than a decade learning how to bring a company to sustainability and growth.

Paul Silvis founded Restek in 1985 to manufacture innovative, high-quality chromatography products. The company’s sales exceed $60 million and continue to outpace competitors by consistently maintaining double-digit growth and profits. Silvis will present on Wednesday, March 20 from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. in the Business Building Atrium.

Matt Brezina is co-founder and CEO of Sincerely, a mobile gifting startup whose mission is to help the world be more thoughtful. Postagram, Sincerely’s first product, enables users to send real postcards made from photos taken with Instagram. Brezina also co-founded Xobni, an email software company that makes your inbox and address book smarter. Brezina is also an active angel investor, having invested in companies such as Dropbox, Voxer, Edison Jr., Rescale, 15Five, Orchestra, and more. He graduated from Penn State in 2003 with a B.S. in electrical engineering. Brezina will present on Friday, March 22 from 12:20 p.m. – 1:10 p.m. in room 113 IST Building.

Rod Murchison, vice president product management at Tripwire, Inc., is a pioneer in the field of data security, cyber analytics, networking, and identity and fraud protection, and has more than 20 years of experience in product development and go-to-market strategies for innovative IT security and networking solutions.Before joining Tripwire, Murchison was the senior vice president of engineering and product management for Narus, a wholly-owned subsidiary for The Boeing Company.  At Narus, Murchison drove solutions worldwide geared towards a unified approach to real-time, streaming, and deep analytic applications for network-oriented big data. Murhcison is a 1991 graduate of the College of Engineering at Penn State. He will present on Monday, March 18 from 9:05 a.m. to 9:55 a.m. in room 202 IST Building.

Bob Morgan is co-founder and chief executive officer of MorganFranklin. Morgan’s primary focus is developing strategies to grow and improve the company while ensuring that the MorganFranklin team is aligned with the vision of surpassing clients’ expectations and achieving workplace excellence. Morgan is a graduate of the College of Engineering at Penn State with a B.S. in electrical engineering. He will present on Wednesday, March 20 from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. in the Business Building Atrium.

Rajiv Eranki was previously head of server engineering at Dropbox, a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. Eranki will present on Friday, March 22 from 11:15 a.m. – 12:05 p.m. in room 202 IST Building.

Credit to the College of IST:

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