While a student in middle school, Ben Edwards '13 had one dream –to design and engineer the snowmobiles that he loved to ride. Specifically, he wanted to work for Polaris Industries, one of the largest power sports manufacturers in the world.
After returning to Clarkson from an eight-month co-op with Polaris, Ben’s dream has already become a reality.
It was a difficult dream, but Ben took the initiative while still in high school and emailed Polaris' human resources department to find out what he would have to do to make his dream come true.
"I discovered that competing in the Society of Automobile Engineers (SAE) competitions in college were a great way to prepare myself for a future with Polaris,” Ben explains. “From there, I researched the different competitions and thought that Clean Snowmobile would fit my interests perfectly."
Clean Snowmobile is a program where college teams across North America compete each year to see who can design the most efficient, environmentally-clean and quiet snowmobile without giving up the integrity and power of the snowmobile.
Ben attended Monroe Community College for a couple of years, but, because college did not have Clean Snowmobile, he joined the Mini Baja team instead. He then transferred to Clarkson and joined the SAE Clean Snowmobile team right away.
"Being on the team, I made a lot of friends right away, which was nice as a transfer student," he says.
The SAE Clean Snowmobile team at Clarkson is made up of students of all class years from a variety of majors, including mechanical and aeronautical engineering, engineering and management and even business. They come together to build a snowmobile that meets the competition’s requirements, which change on a yearly basis.
Since joining the team, Ben has been instrumental in securing sponsorships from major companies to help the team improve their snowmobile. From this, he has made several valuable connections within the auto industry, including Polaris, BRP-Ski Doo, John Deere, Fox Racing Shocks, Dyno Jet Research, Klim Technical Riding Gear, Lotus and many more.
He also found the perfect internship at Polaris.
"Working for Polaris was a dream of mine since I was 12, so it was amazing to b there 10 years later," he says. "During my time there, I submitted three invention disclosures, two of which will hopefully be turning into patents in the near future."
Aside from his networking opportunities and internship, Ben is also quick to mention one more advantage of Clean Snowmobile – learning how to work in a team environment.
"Being on a team like this really helps stress the importance of working together as a team," he says. "A project of this magnitude would not be accomplished in this short amount of time if there weren’t people around to have each other’s backs."