My name is Jordan Ruiz, and I served as the team president of the Formula SAE team at Kennesaw State University this past school year. We’re known as Kennesaw Motorsports, but we are headquartered on the Marietta Campus.
Formula SAE is an international engineering design competition that is organized by SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers). The whole purpose of the program is to apply engineering principles to the design and manufacture of a formula-style race car. Besides racing, design, cost and business operations are all vital parts of the competition.
We’re full-time students on a full-time race car team. I organized the process of building a race car based on what I’ve learned from my project management internship, the team’s faculty advisors, professionals in industry, books and my Dad.
I was the administrative lead and team manager. I took care of all outgoing and incoming team communications and make sure everyone has what they need. Parts are designed based on what we learn from our literature, then a combination of CAD, simulations and hand calculations. Designs are periodically shown to our faculty advisors.
Professors like our faculty advisors are an invaluable resource when it comes to applying engineering principles within the team, keeping things fair and dealing with policies and changes within the university.
As an ME (Mechanical Engineering) major, everything I learn directly applies to the design of car components. I’ve learned a lot while being on the team. Other engineering students may have more time to study and prepare for class compared to me, but I take the course learning outcomes and apply them in a real-world setting every day. After serving as president for a full school year, I can vouch for that.
The biggest challenges were time and organization. Time is the most important resource and also the only one I can’t get more of. Organization is a challenge because I can see events that took place in the beginning of the year come back and affect certain parts of the project towards the end.
I got into cars because I wanted to learn about what the car was doing while I drove. I got a job at a parts store in order to do that. My first was car a 1984 Corvette. It had a digital dash.I think my favorite experience with cars was going to the drag strip and seeing a 9 second car in person. It was a white foxbody mustang from a local tint shop running nitrous.My top three dreams cars: 2007 GT500, 1995 ZR1 and 1987 Grand National.
Cars are special to me because no two are the same. All come off the same assembly line in the same way, but all of them will feel different to drive. They’re loud and make me happy. I would like to work in the automotive world one day.
If I weren’t so involved with cars, I would’ve done AFROTC at Valdosta. I come from a military family. My other hobbies are building computers and racing simulators. Video games are cool.
In my free time, I study or make food.