Graduate Thrives with Partnership

Purdue Calumet graduate thrives as
university & Carlisle build partnership

Twenty-something-year-old college students don’t figure to know much about the Offenhauser auto racing engines that were popular from the 1930s to the ‘70s, or so Purdue University Calumet alumnus and Carlisle Companies Inc. Chairman, President and CEO Dave Roberts told Hobart’s Taylor Allen. 

Attracting attention

Allen was a Purdue Calumet mechanical engineering technology student in 2012 when the university hosted a Technology Day that attracted Roberts to campus and included soon-to-be graduating technology students displaying their senior design projects.

Allen’s project featured pattern creations of a new Offenhauser engine crankcase, attracting Roberts’ attention.

“Mr. Roberts said I wasn’t old enough to know what an Offenhauser engine is,” Allen, 25, said about the once powerful, reliable ‘Offy’ that dominated Indianapolis 500 and other American open wheel racing during the middle decades of the 20th century.

Allen’s ingenuity apparently impressed Roberts. Or, as Purdue Calumet Dean of the College of Technology Niaz Latif put it, “Dave Roberts said ‘Give me more Taylor Allens’!”

2012 Graduate

After graduating in 2012, Allen accepted a job with Carlisle and its manufacturing Brake & Friction division. The division provides high performance and severe duty brake, clutch and transmission applications for heavy off-road construction, mining and agricultural equipment, as well as for competitive auto racing.

Allen Taylor - 2012 Mechanical Engineering Technology GraduateAllen is an operations engineer by title, but he also is part of the company’s recently-initiated, pilot management training program.

“We have a need to develop people for future plant managers and other leadership positions,” Carlisle Brake & Friction Vice President of Human Resources Kevin Doherty said.

With a work force of some 12,000 spread over five divisions, Carlisle offers plenty of opportunity, according to Doherty. “We can keep engineering technologists very busy,” he said.

Partnership projects

Doherty and Allen recently visited Purdue Calumet to nurture corporate-university partnership prospects. With Carlisle having previously supported Purdue Calumet student participation in Baja SAE design competition for off-road vehicles by providing tires, one might say the wheels of collaboration already have been set in motion.

As for Taylor, the connection he made with Carlisle came after transferring to Purdue Calumet in 2010 following three years down state.

“I got an internship with a company in Valparaiso,” he said. “So it made sense to take advantage of the proximity to my internship, go to school close to home and graduate with less debt.”

But those weren’t the only perks he derived from attending Purdue Calumet.

“I had easier, one-on-one access to professors and labs,” he said. “Plus, the atmosphere is more open and available to students. That was important to me, because I’ve always been a hands-on person.”

Ranked ninth nationally

Apparently, it’s important to other Purdue Calumet students, too, as the university’s College of Technology is ranked ninth nationally in undergraduate technology-related enrollment and third in graduate student total, according to the American Society for Engineering Education.

“I wanted to work directly with people and equipment in a manufacturing environment; I didn’t want to just sit behind a desk,” Allen said. “I had a great experience at Purdue Calumet. Coming here was one of the best decisions I could have made.”