Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mini-Workshop Report

Saturday's mini-workshop, the first collaborative venture between Bucks County Renewables & the Green Jobs Academy of Bucks County Community College, went really well.  The class was completely sold out with 18 participants, and I talked to at least half of the attendees afterwards.  With big smiles they all told me they had a great time and learned a whole lot!   One gentleman had driven 4 hours (from Waynesboro PA) to take the class, and said it was well worth both the registration fee & the drive.   Some of the enthusiastic students were complete novices to the EV conversion process, some had already done a lot of background research, and one actually has a conversion underway already -- so that tells me we have done a good job of crafting a program that can meet the needs of a range of participants with different backgrounds.  Yay, us!

This new iteration of our mini-workshop was a true group effort.  Clorece Kulp & Ira Weissman of the Green Jobs Academy and Chris Gillespie of Bucks County Community College were incredibly helpful behind the scenes -- and out front on Saturday in Ira's case, as he introduced the class and walked us through all the college procedures we needed to follow.  BCR intern Adam Khorshin sacrificed a lot of sleep to work on the graphic images for our new "Conversion Considerations" slideshow, while Brandon Hollinger of BH Electrics generated the outline and some key slides in addition to providing the incredibly useful closing video of parts building up in the Miata engine bay -- along with lots of moral support & good cheer.

Brandon also brought some helpful show-and-tell items with him on Saturday, while Dan Monroe hauled along all the pieces of his conversion kit that are not already in his Saturn-in-progress.  In addition to bringing in the e-Vanagon with Intern Adam (who does graphics AND owns a truck & dolly -- be still my heart!) Saint Bill brought along his gorgeous EV go-kart  to display, so we had lots of EV gear & gizmos to share with the group.

With Brandon, Dan, and Bill all participating in the informational presentation and answering specific questions during the last part of class we were able to cover a lot of material, with a nice range of experiences represented: from DC to AC, lead-acid to lithium-ion, clutch-in or clutchless conversions, etc.  I am so grateful to all three of these guys for serving as the brain trust for this workshop, and I can't wait to do it again in the fall.  I was pretty thrilled with how it went this weekend, but I know it will be even better the 2nd time around!

I had a number of inquiries from folks on Saturday about the 6-day hands-on workshop July 25-30, and I have received at least 2 dozen email inquiries about it in the last couple of months (before any official promotion even took place!).  Registration will be opening shortly through Bucks County Community College and it looks like demand for the limited spaces will be high so if you are interested and haven't already emailed me to receive an announcement the instant registration officially opens, do it NOW and be in the first wave to hear.

Please note that Ken Ekegren will be putting on his 4th (!) hands-on conversion workshop out at North Central State College in Ohio this summer.   This is a 2-week workshop (July 25-August 5) so the pace is a little more leisurely.  Here are the details if that timing or location would suit you better:  2011 Conversion Workshop NC State.   ASE technicians & automotive technology teachers take note: the NC State workshop provides 20 hours of instructor training required for NATEF-certified programs.

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