The Victorian Model Solar Vehicle Challenge is an incorporated association, running as a not-for-profit organisation, comprising people from many backgrounds and areas of interest.
Our current members number many educators, ranging from university lecturers to school principals, technologists - people like engineers (various disciplines) and computer and solar systems specialists, Doctors (the medical kind), students at various levels and people whom are passionate about the benefits to the students that participate in the events run by the VMSVC.
The current chairperson of the association is Clint Steele. Clint first became interested in STEM (although he did not realise it at the time) when he read a hot-rod magazine at the age of 14. It was a magazine with technical tips that showed how understanding how things worked let someone make them work better or how you want them to work. Some investigation revealed that it was engineers who use the mastery of the current scientific and technological knowledge to create the physical world that humans have made for themselves. From that point onwards he has been interested in all things related to the development and application of scientific knowledge to fix problems and make things better.
Being chairperson of MSVCV affords Clint another opportunity to share his passion with others and help lay the foundations for the next generation of engineers, scientists and technologists. Clint has a bachelor degree in mechanical engineering, a master of entrepreneurship and innovation and a PhD in probabilistic design. He has worked for Ford Australia in Product Development, Cram Australia designing mining equipment, Davey Water Products as a product development engineer, DETEKT Design in Chinese design house and Swinburne University as a lecturer teaching engineering design. He uses the skills and insights gained from his past to make the MSVCV the best STEM experience that it can be for participants.
The current National representative of the association is Paul Wellington. While lecturing on engineering materials and manufacturing in the 1980s at the then Chisholm Institute of Technology (subsequently the Caulfield campus of Monash University), he led teams of engineering students and staff in a fuel efficiency competition, the Mileage Marathon in which one of their cars achieved 1000km/litre. He then went on to lead the Chisholm team in the 1987 World Solar Challenge, the race from Darwin to Adelaide for solar powered cars in which their car, the Desert Cat, finished 6th of 24 starters. Based on the educational benefits of this event, he, in conjunction with Ted Mellor, coordinator of the Warragul Technical School’s WSC entry, started the Victorian Model Solar Car Challenge which was first held in 1990, with the Boat Challenge starting 4 years later.
Paul was a recent recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia, for his service to science education. Congratulations, Paul!
Late in 2015 one of the members of the VMSVC Association passed away.
Don Sheridan, a beloved and long-term member of the association, passed away in late November 2015 after a long, and unfortunately protracted, battle with cancer.
Don was the man behind the conception, design and production of the Kit Car division of the VMSVC events. Over the years he worked tirelessly and productively to hone the initial idea into a kit that suitable for entry level participants to the model solar challenge. Not only was he the man behind he was also the mentor up front. Many people and organisations have benefited from a visit from Don when they were undertaking the construction of the kit.
Each year at the scienceworks event Don was on hand to help scrutineer the kit cars and to help run the event. It was noted that "His friendly face and warm interaction with the kids on race day was always a welcome bonus in a busy day".
His engineering background included, the construction of the first Dynamic Wheel Balancer for Repco, he was also involved in the Repco-Brabam F1 race car team. When working at the Telstra Research Laboratories his duties included managing the section whose work provided ground breaking developments that resulted in the creation and implementation of the world renowned Cochlea Ear implant.