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Two faculty and two students stand in front of a maroon backdrop. They are holding an oversized check for $1,500 for winning the Virtual Project Showcase.
From left: Dr. Mike Graul, Dr. Harry Hogan, Austin Adams and Zacharias Gonzalez celebrate the Custom Fabricators and Repairs team as the overall winner of the Virtual Project Showcase. | Image: Texas A&M Engineering

The Wm Michael Barnes ’64 Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering celebrated many wins in its capstone program in fall 2022. 

More than 400 students across departments participated in the fall Virtual Project Showcase to demonstrate what solutions they had developed for sponsors from across various industries. Winners in the showcase received a monetary prize, with $9,450 total available in awards.

The overall winner of the showcase was the Custom Fabricators and Repairs team from industrial and systems engineering, including team members Austin Adams, Zacharias Gonzalez, Bradley Harslem and Melissa Lopez. Gonzalez said he was excited the team’s exceptional work was recognized.

“We couldn't have designed our solution without the guidance of our professors and of course, Dr. Luis Morales, the sponsor representative with Custom Fabricators, which set us up for success,” Gonzalez said. “Moving forward, I have learned that it is important to communicate with your teammates, motivate each other and use whatever resources you can to reach your goal.”

The team experienced an unexpected tragedy when Morales died in November. “From our brief time spent with Dr. Morales, he set us up for success for our senior design project. He wanted to see us learn and grow as engineers, and he was willing to do anything to help. We are so grateful for his support and send our condolences to his friends and family,” the team said in a statement.

The Urban Turbine Wind Competition – Phase 1, including Zachary Bolin, Mariah Chavez, Samantha Kins and Abraham Reyna, won first in the industrial and systems In Major award and the Energy Industry Sector award. The team worked as part of a national competition sponsored by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to address the siting, outreach and development of offshore, fixed-bottom wind turbines to assist in meeting the green energy goals the government has set. 

“I believe this experience has helped develop me into a leader,” said team lead Bolin. “Through the constant communication and scheduling, and working with various parties, I have become more confident as a communicator. This project has also shown me just how much effort goes into a project, especially in the energy industry. Who knows, maybe I will work in renewable energy one day.”

Other department awardees include:

  • Blaze Equipment — Kelly Bar Repair Method: Kyle Beck, Jose Handal, Bailee Statham and Ricardo Zelaya — second place, In Major and Manufacturing Sector award
  • Nurse Orientation Time — Saint Elizabeth Ministry: Jay Desai, Ronak Desai, Nickole Huerta and Nathan Panak – third place, In Major and Health Sector award

Dr. Mike Graul, associate professor of practice and one of the faculty advisors for the capstone program, said he was proud of the fantastic work of the students.

“Industrial and systems engineering is the largest engineering discipline in the United States,” Graul said. “Our students work on very complicated systems, and use mathematical modeling, computer simulations and stochastic processes to solve those problems. These students did a wonderful job with solving very difficult problems out in industry.”

Student presentation videos can be viewed in the 2022 Virtual Project Showcase Public Gallery.