The Georgia Tech Auto Show is the result of a growing informal band of enthusiasts with a vision. Drawn primarily from the mechanical engineering and industrial design disciplines, this group is comprised of students (undergraduate and graduate), faculty, staff, alumni, and fans of Georgia Tech. The goal is to have fun and to enjoy the unique character of the Georgia Tech community around an area of technology and design that it has influenced greatly.
Those shown below are only a few of those that significantly contribute to the execution of the annual event.
BME 1991, MSME 1995
Sterling Skinner graduated from high school in Statesboro, Georgia and was brought up to be a Georgia Tech fan by his father who graduated from Georgia Tech in 1967 with a MSEE degree. Sterling became a fan of automotive design and technology at an early age while riding in his father's gold and black 1969 Pontiac GTO. Sterling's first memories of Georgia Tech are of watching the Ramblin’ Reck parade while sitting on his father's shoulders in the early 1970's.
As a freshman student at Georgia Tech in 1986, he was on the first gt motorsports Formula SAE team. Sterling was chosen a GM Scholar in 1988 and spent three summers working General Motor's Hydra-Matic division. He finally “got out” in 1995 after obtaining BME and MSME degrees. Since then, Sterling has been working for Tech’s George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering as the Director of Instructional Laboratories. In this position, Sterling purchases, designs, assembles, maintains, and repairs the lasers, pumps, robots, servo motors, instrumentation, and other equipment used for the undergraduate lab courses in mechanical engineering. In addition to these tasks, Skinner is the founder and main organizer of the Georgia Tech Auto Show, now in its eighth year. Sterling has a love for all things with engines and wheels and a knack for bringing people together. The Auto Show is the culmination of both.
Skinner believes that this show is primarily a way to build community at Georgia Tech across the boundaries of “student” “graduate” “faculty” “staff”. Skinner often points out that there are great numbers of Tech graduates that have made some important engineering and design strides in the automotive industry and it is great to be able to celebrate their accomplishments in a way that creates friendships and inspires the current students.
Although he does have other vehicles, Sterling has especially bonded with his Porsche 914 into which he transplanted a 32 valve aluminum V8 engine. Look for that vehicle at the show!
MS ID 2005
David Lynn grew up in Atlanta, graduating from Pace Academy in 1982. An automotive enthusiast since he could crawl across the rug with Matchboxes and Hot Wheels, his passion for all things automotive knows few bounds. Dave studied mechanical engineering at the University of Rochester (Rochester, NY) and ultimately left with a degree in English. Then it was on to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA where he earned a BS in the renowned Transportation Design Program. Upon graduation, he returned to his native Chicago to work in the studio of artist / designer John David Mooney on various projects including personal rapid transit. In late 1991 the opportunity to work in racing brought Dave back to Atlanta to work for Jim Downing. During his time at Downing / Atlanta, Inc he was responsible for a number of endurance racing prototypes including GTP cars and the first WSC racers. One of the Kudzu cars that Dave designed carried Wayne Taylor to the inaugural IMSA WSC Championship. Dave designed three Kudzus that raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The 1996 excursion resulted in a class victory. The Kudzu DLY began its illustrious career by finishing third in the inaugural Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta behind a factory Porsche and a Ferrari, not bad for a car that comes from a shop under a bridge in Chamblee, Georgia.
Lately, Dave has worked for Elan Motorsports Technology, Hubbard / Downing, Inc (the HANS® people) and a number of contract clients. In addition to being one of the partners in Laughing Dog Design Studio, Dave teaches industrial and automotive design at Georgia Tech and is involved in the programs of Landmark Education.
MSBIOE 2006, BSME 2004, LMT 2007
Adventurer and Auto Show Glue
Erika Larson is a resourceful individual with a make-it-work mentality. She manages the information tent and maintains the schedule of events for the Georgia Tech Auto Show. She has experience managing events for other groups as well, such overseeing massage presence at McKeever’s First Ride—a First Clinic through the Orthotic and Prosthetic Assistance Fund (OPAF), designed at facilitating physical and emotional healing for individuals with amputations through the spirit of the horse. Her involvement with Georgia Tech extends beyond the Georgia Tech Auto Show; she is also president of the Georgia Tech Equestrian Society (GTES), an affinity group for equestrian enthusiasts/supporters through the Georgia Tech Alumni Association. GTES annually hosts a tailgate at the Atlanta Steeplechase.
Employed full-time in the orthotics & prosthetics field, Erika aspires to have massage therapy integrated into the care of children requiring orthotic or prosthetic intervention. She works part-time assisting with massage therapy research at Emory University through a partnership with the Atlanta School of Massage.
Prior to participating in group research at Emory University, Erika conducted case studies through the Massage Therapy Foundation's Professional Practitioner’s Case Report Contest. She received honorable mention for the entry, “Massage as a conservative treatment option for chronic exertional compartment syndrome,” and received the gold award for the entry, “Massage therapy effects for a long-time prosthetic user with fibular hemimelia.” She presented her findings at the 2009 American Massage Therapy Association national conference in Orlando, FL, and the 2010 Complementary & Integrative Medicine Conference in Seattle, WA. Recently, the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies published her article online.
Erika enjoys hands-on activities such as baking and crafting. She helps people personalize their life events through the creation of custom invitations, favors, and decor. She considers herself an adventurer and enjoys travel. One of her greatest gifts is the ability to make things happen wherever she may find herself.
BS Arch 1995, MArch I 2000
John Weiler and Sterling Skinner met in the waiting lobby of the Goodyear Tire dealership near Howell Mill Road and I-75 in approximately 2005. The two Porsche 914 owners became fast friends.
Weiler works at Stevens & Wilkinson, one of Atlanta's oldest architecture firms specializing in the design of Higher Education Lab and Classroom buildings but also maintains an un-healthy load of hobby interests just as all the others that contribute to the Georgia Tech Auto Show. Just one such focus is being a founding member of Freeside Technology Spaces ("freeside”). Freeside is a hackerspace in Atlanta encouraging personal projects and providing a space to accomplish them.
Weiler is a heavy lifter in the execution of the show. Indeed, one year he created over 25 traffic cones cast out of solid concrete for the show as a part of an effort to keep the show signs from blowing away. He has done most every job and task through many years of supporting the Georgia Tech Auto Show and continues to increase his support every year despite the time needed for his growing family.
BME 1980, MBA 1989
Vince Tidwell is no stranger to automotive events, having created and run the 25,000 member and 100+ international chapters of The Miata Club of America.
Like many other mechanical engineers, Vince began building car and airplane models in elementary school and soon thereafter began taking everything in the house apart to see how it worked. His father threatened to take his motorcycle away when he was 12 but realized after he put it back together (with modifications, of course) that there would be no extracting the motor oil from his blood. Being a Georgia native, it was inevitable he would attend Georgia Tech where he would coop with Georgia Power Company and Tech’s own Research Institute (then called Engineering Experiment Station), majoring in Mechanical Engineering.
After being a design engineer on the F-15 Strike Eagle Fuselage, earning patents in Liquid Chromatography and Particle Technology and then earning an MBA, Vince rejoined his Tech roommate and Mazda Miata Engineer Norman Garrett to create the Miata Club of America, utilizing his experience from being an officer of the BMW Car Club of America.
In 2001 Vince was contacted by Jim Downing to utilize his business and engineering skills to operate and manage Jim’s burgeoning HANS device business. At Hubbard/Downing Vince reigned in the operations and vertical growth while designing and patenting the HANS helmet post anchor. Today Vince is a freelance writer for motorcycle magazines.