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Newest class of engineers display industry projects

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Posted on August 07, 2017

Graduates of the newest class of engineers displayed design projects they completed for West Michigan companies at a special event August 4.

The 19th annual Engineering Design Conference took place in the Kennedy Hall of Engineering and Keller Engineering Laboratories on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus. The event celebrated the completion of students' senior design projects and the Grand Valley partnership with local industry, in which teams of students solve engineering design problems sponsored by local organizations. 

The day began with an employer forum that featured panelists from JR Automation Technologies, Spectrum Health Innovations and DornerWorks. An employer luncheon and a session about recruiting students for co-ops followed. About 20 design projects were on display that were completed by 116 students, who graduated during the Order of the Engineer Graduate Ceremony in the evening. Engineering graduates at Grand Valley earn their degrees later than the traditional spring ceremony because they complete a year-long co-op experience with a company. 

Paul Plotkowski, dean of the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing, said the projects are outstanding examples of the effectiveness of Grand Valley's engineering programs, and display the increasing need for engineering talent. 

"Interest by students in engineering and the need for graduates are both at an all-time high," Plotkowski said. "Enrollment has more than doubled over the past 10 years, and employers indicate that we are still not meeting the growing demand."

The university recently purchased the Ferris Coffee and Nut building on Winter Avenue in Grand Rapids to address the need for more educational engineering space. The space, the Design and Innovation Center, will support cooperative education and extensive project-based programs — the hallmarks of Grand Valley's engineering programs. Grand Valley is planning on moving into the 63,385-square-foot facility in summer 2018.

Sponsors of this year's senior projects include General Motors, Stryker, Cascade Engineering, DornerWorks, E3 Compliance, Gentex, Herman Miller, L-3, Adient, PADNOS, Hydro-Chem Systems, Koops, Tennant, Active Inspection and CWC.