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adrive7 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote adrive7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Shop Attendance
    Posted: Feb/16/2009 at 12:30am
So, of the nearly 100 people I send emails to regarding team meetings, our 2009 vehicle has been constructed mainly by myself and about 4 others. In the past this has been an issue, but never as severe as it is this year. For some reason or another, I simply cannot get people to show up and help build. Needless to say we aren't as far along as I would have hoped.

Out of my own curiosity I started recording people's useful time spent at the shop (i.e. those people who show up and bullsh*t for an hour get nothing). The results were rather shocking. The top 5 goes like this:

105 hours
60 hours
55 hours
53 hours
17 hours
8 hours.

Out of a big list. I'm reluctant to become a douche and not let people without enough hours drive the car/go to competition, because its how we get and keep people interested. But even that seems to not be working.

One of the main issues is we don't get any school credit for baja. For those of you out there who similarly don't get credit for baja, how do you keep your members being productive?

My group won't even show up to be assigned projects.

Angry *End Rant*


Edited by adrive7 - Feb/16/2009 at 12:31am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rob71zilla Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/16/2009 at 6:24am
I am definitely on the same page as you on this one.  Myself and 2-3 others are consistently logging countless hours in the shop while the younger guys show up when it's convenient.  This is the most frustrating thing in the world because the senior members have been to 2 competitions before and we know how much fun they are and how badly we want to go back.  That can't happen without a car however.

Keeping people interested is the hardest thing to do.  At least that's what I have found out in my 2 years as team captain.  If I cannot think of things to do in the shop I try to find stuff outside the shop.  Things like, trying to get extra money out of the clubs associations on campus, thinking about/putting together fundraisers, gathering information for competition.  If that doesn't work then I put people to work by cleaning/organizing the shop which actually seems to keep people fairly interested because they are in the shop with everyone else as well as contributing.  Be sure to tell them that they did or are doing a good job no matter what.  That means a lot to the young ones 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dillon_b12 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/16/2009 at 11:35am
We started out 2008 with around 10 members and ended going to Montreal with four.

However, this year we seem to have found a successful combination.  I really think a lot of what makes teams work is just having a good combination of guys with similar interests and easy-going personalities.  Pretty much all our guys worked on cars before joining baja.

This year we somehow managed to bag 5-7 new guys who are all very interested in cars and love being on Baja.  We also are friends first, team second.  All of us work on baja together but we also party/drink together.  We work hard and play hard and it seems to keep morale up and everyone interested.

I'm sure some of the TTU boys can confirm that our guys like to have a good time.


Edited by dillon_b12 - Feb/16/2009 at 11:38am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote collinskl1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/16/2009 at 1:30pm
This is 100% the case here too...  As captain, I have a hard time defining the line between being a dick and understanding that most people aren't as hardcore as I am about the project.  Once people drive the car they're usually hooked, but I like using the whole driving deal as a reward. 
 
It's a vicious cycle and the bottom line is that the only ones that are going to truly get into it and make sacrifices and put their blood sweat and tears into baja are the ones that are the most motivated...
 
...but then again, everyone here on this board fits that description, and thus already knew that...
 
good luck, and if you find a solution, definitely pass it along to me!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CLReedy21 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/16/2009 at 3:56pm
Are those hour numbers single shop stints?  If so then major kudos.  If not then you havn't gotten to the worst yet :)
 
In the bad old days of last year Matt, myself, Frank, and a handful of others build that car.  The low point of the year was a 54 hour no sleep double all nighter the days leading up to paint before the TTU race and I'll hopefully never be in that shape again.  A 60 hour week in the shop was not at all uncommon and shifts taking naps on the couch were a regular occurrence for the three of us.  
 
We had a mob at our own race, we took the Dirty Dozen to Illinios and by Montreal we were down to the Unlucky 7.  We recruited hard this year and came up with about 6 new folks that have really contributed alot and with some personell changes some of the old members have come around more, bringing us back up to 15-20.
 
To re-inforce Dillon's point we work together, play together, and in several cases live together on the team.  We are a super tight knit group and if you find one of us then there are probably more nearby.  Our latest thing has been bikes, we work on them all the time and go out and ride often.  It hurts shop time in the short run, but it keeps morale high and keeps us all from getting burnt out.  Here is a shot from a couple weeks ago of some of the major players in TTU baja.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote adrive7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/16/2009 at 4:11pm
Haha those hours are just cumulative, and only since January 29th. Thus far in my Baja Career the most I have needed to pull has been 48 hours straight. That was the week before Auburn 2006. My goal this year is to have the car finished a month early to allow plenty of time to test and paint and everything without too many crazy shop days.

Our team used to be pretty tight knit, but then most of the core all graduated last year. Now I just have the periphery so to speak.


Edited by adrive7 - Feb/16/2009 at 4:11pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote zehlerdj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/16/2009 at 5:37pm
We definitely have a lot of the same problems having a core group of 5 or 6, 15 or so showing up whenever they want. I feel like as a leader you need to be easy going to keep people around and keeping them busy is also a huge part of keeping them around. A lot of our guys seem to congregate around four-wheeling, hunting, parties, snowmobiling, extreme sports type stuff which keeps us pretty close.

I know having hockey games on friday and saturday nights during our build is a big killer to our help cause hockey is huge up here. Anyone else have problems like that with sporting events cause I know its really frustrating for us to lose guys to the hockey games?

adrive just mentioned goals as for finishing the car and things like that. I know we tend to always set goals and never have things done on time which usually just digs into test time but it still hurts. How does everyone else do with setting and achieving goals?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rob71zilla Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/16/2009 at 11:20pm
Well I'm happy to see that there are several of us in the same boat.  How much support do you guys get from your advisor?  Ours gives us zero. 

Auburn is 2 months from today. Good luck with the final couple months guys
Robbie
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote collinskl1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/16/2009 at 11:30pm

We are lucky to have an advisor who cares and gives us as much help as he can... As for setting and achieving goals, I set goals that I believe are attainable, and if it is necessary put in long nights to make them happen (but again, thats only the guys who really want to see the car through).  Some deadlines get whacked because of circumstances out of our control... like our slow as balls machinist. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote adrive7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/16/2009 at 11:35pm
Originally posted by Rob71zilla Rob71zilla wrote:

How much support do you guys get from your advisor?  Ours gives us zero. 


Useless as tits on a boar. Maybe worse. He likes to throw out ideas and offer help, but then disappear for months. He's also impossible to get a hold of.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote zehlerdj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/16/2009 at 11:53pm
We had a great suggestion from our adviser this year. He told us that it isn't necessary to run a suspension in the rear and that we could incorporate enough flex in the frame, steel, tires...we just about laughed in his face. Other than terrible suggestions we get nothing out of him.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote adrive7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/16/2009 at 11:56pm
Originally posted by zehlerdj zehlerdj wrote:

We had a great suggestion from our adviser this year. He told us that it isn't necessary to run a suspension in the rear and that we could incorporate enough flex in the frame, steel, tires...we just about laughed in his face. Other than terrible suggestions we get nothing out of him.


Michigan Tech (I think?) had a car like that in Rochester 2007. Huge balloon tires in the rear. Apparently their adviser wanted them to run no suspension, but they convinced him down to just no rear sus. I would hate to be the driver.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jarmumd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/17/2009 at 11:35am
All of the organizers for Auburn are best friends (spanning baja from 2000 - 2008), and all most all of us are either techs or design judges.  Everything you guys have posted so far is exactly the same stuff we have been dealing with for so many years...  it's truly amazing how the most unlikely people become your hardest workers and the people you want most involved "are too busy".  Our adviser (who is also the lead organizer) sometimes has ideas we don't like (he wanted us to do swing-arm suspension... psssha like that ever worked for anyone Smile ), but he has always had the best intentions - really pushes for us to learn and is really encouraging.  Advisers are like impact wrenches, you can get by without one, but life can be alot easier with a good one.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jhu42 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/17/2009 at 8:11pm
Originally posted by adrive7 adrive7 wrote:

Originally posted by zehlerdj zehlerdj wrote:

We had a great suggestion from our adviser this year. He told us that it isn't necessary to run a suspension in the rear and that we could incorporate enough flex in the frame, steel, tires...we just about laughed in his face. Other than terrible suggestions we get nothing out of him.


Michigan Tech (I think?) had a car like that in Rochester 2007. Huge balloon tires in the rear. Apparently their adviser wanted them to run no suspension, but they convinced him down to just no rear sus. I would hate to be the driver.


here is a picture of it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kenneth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/18/2009 at 9:36am
Whoa. Crossed front suspension too.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JHrdy724 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/18/2009 at 12:22pm
We've always had a set policy where the whole team works on the car and come race time, the senior members (i.e. anyone who has been to a race prior) sits down and decides who put in the quality (key word) hours and work to earn a spot on the race roster.  It's always worked fairly well with a few flaws here and there, but having people who have been to race decide means they've been picked to go to race because they did the work in years past.  Basically the time it takes to try to organize the lazy and incompetent is more valuable being spent doing your own tasks.  We look at as if something breaks during the endurance race are they capable enough to respond.  Being capable comes from being in the shop building and learning the entire system.  We usually end up with 10-12 quality people that makes race a much easier and less stressful time than trying to have 10 capable people spend half their time corralling 15 idiots.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote seanbronee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/02/2009 at 6:57am

I had written a very long rant with stories from last year, but I figure I'd rather just be brief.. its 7am and I want to go to sleep because my Materials Lecture starts in an hour  oh- for any UOIT members reading this post, I finished welding the frame.. by myself..    Case in point

Yes its a HUGE issue with us. Our school hasnt given us a place to work, access to the shops, or a means to transport the car. We are forced to rely on our own connections and resourcefulness to get things done. Its kinda ironic.. all the machining on our UOIT car is done out of a UofT student's garage. (a friend of mine from back in highschool). He also put in a great deal of his own time helping me and the other dedicated members last year trying to get the car done on time.
 
This is one very sore spot for me and I get quite bitter about it. For the second year in a row I find myself doing the majority of everything, albeit involvement has improved slightly, its still the same people giving 150% to get things done on time while others just coast along for the ride.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rob71zilla Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/02/2009 at 7:14am

You don't even have a place to work on campus?!  That sucks man, I guess I'll stop complaining now haha

Good luck getting to competition, hope to see you there
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jarmumd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/02/2009 at 9:47am
Unfortunately, this is very often the case of how things are in the real world (that is, after college in the work place).

Not that you should take it lying down, but I found that when you yell at people they just say F' it, and sometimes you hold grudges against people for years after you are done with baja.  You find yourself telling the same story over and over, and realize you are the only one who cares anymore.  <\rant_on>(one more time...)  last week of my undergrad, I was desperately trying to finish the float (was the frame designer), and slept 8 hours that week before race...  2 hrs a night, didn't sleep from thursday to friday...  a fellow member of the team whose attendance had not been up to par was walking home from the bar AT NOON while I was leaving the shop to take a test...  I've been bitter about that one for a long time...  but I need to let it go, he's a good friend that was put in a position that he probably shouldn't have been put in...<\rant_off>

Sometimes you are the only one who cares about things (whether it's how well a tab is welded or if it's making sure that all your Techinical Memos to NASA are similarly formatted), such is life - try not to let it get to you too much... it's not worth it... Baja is... Bitterness isn't...

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AlexW Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/02/2009 at 11:05am
Hey all - first post here, so I'll include a short intro -
   I'm the team captain for UT - Knoxville's team, and we are really excited about the Auburn event. This will be the first time for everyone involved.

I've been heading up the project for 2 years now, but it has taken 3 years to get it off the ground enough to make a competition. The first two years we had very little shop attendance. By the time it was down to the wire, it was usually me and two or three others tops. It picked up at the end of last year, and I now have about 7-8 guys I can rely on when I need them. I haven't seemed to have a huge trouble with retaining interest yet, since everyone involved really just wants the hands-on shop working experience. Oddly, though, I had about 10-12 consistently showing up for design meetings last semester, but once the build began, I lost people. It's been my experience that it's the other way around.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote infocustrasti Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/02/2009 at 1:48pm
There are people that just have some semesters that priorities sort of changes. I remember one of my semesters were I only went to about 3 or 4 meetings through out the whole semester and then the next semester I was cooping.... That semester i only went a couple of times I met my fiance so it was a fair trade at least for me but it helps me put stuff into perspective... Sometimes you have to remind people that BAJA is still there and would really apreciate the help. Sometimes people just forget how much the team needs them!

Edited by infocustrasti - Mar/02/2009 at 1:48pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote adrive7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/02/2009 at 2:00pm
Certainly there are times when classes have to take priority, and you have to understand that as team leader. But what really bugs me is when people take on leadership roles i.e. chassis team leader, sus team leader etc, and then don't ever show up, and I end up doing the chassis. But hell if that title doesn't show up in their email signatures. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote umbaja2009 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/02/2009 at 2:55pm
Quote But hell if that title doesn't show up in their email signatures


Or resumes.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/02/2009 at 4:15pm
Originally posted by umbaja2009 umbaja2009 wrote:

Quote But hell if that title doesn't show up in their email signatures


Or resumes.
 
That's what irks me more than anything else.
 
At least it's nice to know that we're not the only ones with this problem.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote goliath0904 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/02/2009 at 6:40pm
our email list consists of roughly 100 names as well. this year we probably get about a consistent 6-8 people that show up regularly to work on the car.  our policy has always been those that show up and put time in get to drive at competition. we keep track of how many hours each person spends at the shop then use this data to select competition drivers.

its rather interesting looking at the spread, those with the most hours are seniors and those with the fewest are freshman.  there are always a few underclassmen that clock a decent amount of hours and they generaly come back again next year.  those with little hours we usualy never see again.

here is a current chart of our work hours since january. (sorted by class, seniors at the top)

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CLReedy21 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/02/2009 at 11:31pm
To be honest I have no idea how many hours any one person has spent in the shop.  I do have a very good idea who has been there and who has gotten stuff done, but really I havn't ever felt like I needed to keep track of hours as it can become kindof a division between those who "are there" and those who "aren't".  Everybody close knows who has been working and who hasn't in the end without keeping score, but it may work for your team since different groups work differently. 
 
I know that it takes a rare breed to stand in front of the mill for 18 hours in 1 weekend so when I do it mostly alone I'm not mad or anything, but I do have some expectation that if you've come to the driving days in the fall and you come have fun with us that you'll also come down and put in some time to get work done: even if that means sweeping the floor or sorting the misc bolt box.  One major problem this time of year is that the work has all become quite skill sensitive.  A new guy walking in this time of year has about two choices for a tool to operate, a wrench or a broom.  It almost always comes down to the end of the year when everyone is in a hurry and doesn't have time to teach someone new how to do someting and allow time for mess-ups which sucks because thats where the greatest opportunity for learning is.  Often these new people don't have anything to do and aren't motivated enough to stand there and watch and learn until there is an opportunity for them to do something, so they drift away.  We've found for the last couple years that rebuilding a previous years' car is a great project for some of the newer guys under direction of an older member or two.  It will quickly familiaraze them with the systems that make up the car and and older ride gets a fresh lease on life to keep on driving and having fun.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dillon_b12 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/03/2009 at 11:50am
We had all our noobs rebuild a couple of our older cars to get them ready for our sponsor driving day.  Also when I destroyed the frame of one our cars in a wreck the noobs jumped all over it and got it fixed in like 2 days.

Both of these things got the new guys valuable experience and I'm comfortable with most of them working on the new car.  It did help that some of them already had knowledge with working on cars but even still all of them really wanted to learn so they jumped on learning the machine tools and TIG welding, etc...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote thompm1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/03/2009 at 1:50pm
There should be no reason to keep track of hours per member.  If the team leadership is in the shop as much as they should be then when it comes down to race time the go/no go decision will be easy.

You also have to remember that different people require different styles of motivation.  Finding what style you need to use with one person or the next is probably the hardest challenge in getting people in the shop.

I also make sure I don't try to force somebody to work in the shop, if they don't want to be there then their probably going to do sh*ty work, which in turn makes more work for those on the team that already have enough to do. 
Michael

No Monkeys f**king footballs
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Joined: Feb/16/2009
Location: Dayton, OH
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Points: 20
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote infocustrasti Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/04/2009 at 7:28pm
Keeping track of the hours help keep freshman motivated. That way they won't think they don't have a chance against upper classmen...
 
BTW I love that fusha color you have me setup....
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