Meet ASCEND Team Manager, Matt Jennings. Entering a Solar-Powered vehicle in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge is a huge undertaking, so having a Team Manager that is across all aspects of the project and is able to lead a diverse group of students and staff is an absolute must! Matt’s warm and calm approach to leadership ensures Team ASCEND is always in the right frame of mind and ready to cope with whatever challenge comes our way.
Your role / your expertise & background?
I am the Team Manager of ASCEND. I joined Deakin University’s School of Engineering as a lecturer in Manufacturing, brining my industry experience of composites to the school and the solar car in 2019. I have been Team Manager for just on a year. I enjoy prototyping with polymers, whether they are reinforced with fibres or printed into 3D shapes.
How you support the students?
I try an keep everyone on the same page and make sure the students understand the learning experience opportunity this is for them.
The deadlines and pressure in pursuit of perfection make this hard but that is also the best preparation for their life as an engineer, especially when so many on the team are very driven to achieve great things.
What have you enjoyed most so far?
I enjoy all the little successes we have had along the way: when the team solve problems so simply and elegantly. Often the big milestones aren’t a surprise to me, as I have seen how the team have made the extra effort on the key systems along the way which result in the car looking and driving as good as it does.
What are you most looking forward to on the challenge?
Enjoying the fact that the hard work has paid off. I cant wait to meet all the other teams from all around the world too, what an amazing opportunity for us all to learn from each other about more than just engineering.
Any concerns something that might be a challenge for the team or you personally
Our team have very high expectations and have put in a huge amount of blood seat and tears, I would hate for that to not be rewarded, they deserve the car to do really well.