12 February, 2018

Neoteric Hovercraft inspires Rose-Hulman graduate students

In 1983, Neoteric President Chris Fitzgerald was honored to be selected as the very first Entrepreneur in Residence at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, the #1 undergraduate engineering college in the U.S. for the last 19 years.

A productive relationship has flourished between Neoteric and Rose-Hulman in the decades since then. Scores of Rose-Hulman students find employment, internships and involvement in special engineering projects at Neoteric. The first World Symposium on Hovercraft Rescue was held at Rose-Hulman as a part of World Hovercraft Week 2002, chaired by Fitzgerald.

Last week, 20 Rose-Hulman Master’s Degree students came to Neoteric for an introduction to hovercraft and our manufacturing process, accompanied by Dr. Diane Evans, Professor of Engineering Management and Dr. Terry Schumacher, Associate Professor of Engineering Management. Their department has a seminar for its graduate students every quarter and, as Dr. Evans explains, “I decided that I’d like this seminar to be an opportunity to show the students some companies that practice quality in the workplace. I had been to Neoteric before during an American Society of Quality (ASQ) tour and I knew the students would really appreciate what Chris is doing right in the middle of Terre Haute.”

Watch a video clip of Chris Fitzgerald discussing Neoteric’s manufacturing process …

How did the students react to the tour? According to Dr. Evans, “They loved it. The students couldn’t believe that this awesome facility was in Terre Haute. They were amazed at how the hovercraft works and how much Chris knew about the whole process. They thought he was incredible – they enjoyed listening and learning from him.  They also loved the actual demonstration of how the hovercraft works with the smaller tube-like one.

Dr. Evans is referring to the company’s Hovering Billiard Ball, one of many Neoteric developed for Gallagher, the U.S. comedian. Here, Fitzgerald uses the Hovering Billiard Ball with the ball top removed to demonstrate hovercraft lift, daylight clearance and cushion stability to the students …

Even the wintry weather didn’t hinder the students’ fascination with hovercraft and Neoteric’s production processes. Here, outside the manufacturing facility, Fitzgerald demonstrates how the company’s skirt flagellation text rig assures Neoteric’s high-quality, durable hovercraft skirts …

Dr. Evans was also quite pleased with the visit. She said, “This is one of the best tours on which I’ve taken students. There were so many aspects of the visit that pertained to what I teach – for example, the Kanban system and the Toyota Production System process. Chris’ dedication to continued learning and growing is inspirational.”

These feelings are mutual. We at Neoteric, as always, enjoyed our visit with the students, Dr. Evans and Dr. Schumacher, and look forward to continuing our valuable relationship with Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology for years to come.

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