Spencer Kadel

Genius Garage has truly been a once in a lifetime opportunity. Knowledge learned in the classroom and through research is very important but it leaves a gap in the educational system. For me, the chance to work hands-on and apply the information I have learned in the classroom is where I benefit the most. Genius Garage as a program has been the perfect opportunity for me to do that and much more.

I have always had a passion for cars so the opportunity to work on race cars was one I couldn’t pass up. Last year was my first year being part of the Genius Garage Race Team. I worked on two world class race cars and began designing and building one from the frame up. I learned concrete skills such as welding, fabrication and structural design. I was also able to build other valuable skills such as teamwork, problem solving and further learned the importance of taking real pride in my work.  I really value the teamwork experience I have gained and the new friends I have made through the program. 

Another one of the most beneficial parts, I believe, of the Genius Garage program is the trips we take as well as the mentors and people we meet. It’s a perfect way to network with people you wouldn’t normally be introduced to and who make great mentors and role models. For example, last year we were invited out to V Collection, a men’s fashion store. We all were given professional haircuts and learned all about the importance of professional dress and how to choose the right outfit for any event or occasion. This is something that I was always clueless about before and had only received the advice of friends and family on. However, through Genius Garage I met Jonathan Rodebaugh who runs V Collection, and we have since kept in touch and he is always there for me whenever I need advice on formal dress and style.

It truly is an amazing experience to be able to learn and better myself as a person while working on world class race cars. I have noticed the impact it has had on me professionally. Last year while I was searching for a co-op position for the following semester along with hundreds of other students in the engineering programs I realized that having Genius Garage on my resume caught the attention of most of the hiring managers I gave it to. It was the experience that set my resume apart from the possibly hundreds of others they had received. In every interview I was given I was asked about my experiences while being part of Genius Garage and I was always met with a pleasantly surprised and impressed face from the interviewer.

The experiences from this program have not only helped me to grow as a person and get interviews for jobs but will also stick with me for the rest of my life. I can’t thank Casey and Taylor Putsch enough for starting this program and putting countless of hours in every week so that students like me can have the once in a lifetime opportunities that I have had through the Genius Garage program. There are so many other people who have donated their time or resources to the program that I want to thank as well. I will never forget the indescribable feeling of being in the pits with my team at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or Mid-Ohio and seeing the race car fly. There is no better feeling than seeing all your hard work and dedication out on the track competing against world class race teams and their cars who are maintained by professionals.