By Sherry DiBari

Daniel Erdogan and Rob Stuart didn't hesitate to jump into waist-deep water to make last-minute adjustments to the "Barracuda," a 14-foot electrically-propelled Jon boat, during the Promoting Electric Propulsion (PEP) competition.

As J.T. Webner, a mechanical engineering major, steered the craft into the Elizabeth River, Erdogan shouted "Unless the motor stops, you don't!"

Webner made it six laps before the engine overheated, securing a third-place finish for Old Dominion University, with Princeton University and Washington College claiming the top two positions.

This year's competition was held in coordination with the American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE) Multi-Agency Craft Conference (MAAC) at Portsmouth City Park.

"The event is very beneficial for students who get to display their boats to potential sponsors, and hirers," said Erdogan, a mechanical engineering technology major and president of ASNE's ODU student chapter.

Erdogan, who spent many hours working on the boat, acknowledged Larry Price, an ODU graduate student, for his assistance. Price began working with the PEP race as an undergraduate student. "He has been a loyal partner and a good friend throughout our history working on this project," Erdogan said.

Erdogan also noted the contributions of Rob Stuart, a graduate student in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Stuart played a crucial role in ensuring the battery system's reliability and assisting with last-minute repairs.

During the competition - which is open to manned or unmanned vessels operating with an electric propulsion system - contestants are tasked with completing five 1-mile laps.

This year's registered teams included: University of Connecticut, University of Michigan, Stevens Institute, University of Rhode Island, William and Mary, Texas A&M, Florida Atlantic University, Princeton University, Washington College, North Carolina State University, Old Dominion University, Wake Forest University, Catholic University and Christopher Newport University.

Erdogan, who has worked with ASNE and the PEP competition for several years, cites industry connections as one of the great benefits of the program.

Erdogan, who has been involved with ASNE and the PEP competition for several years, highlights the program's industry connections as one of its major advantages.

"The networking opportunities ­- not only for internships and work - but for ODU recognition, is limitless," he said. "We are also surrounded by the largest maritime industry in the East Coast. Connecting the industry to ODU not only benefits our boat with sponsors but connects ODU students to an industry looking for new engineers."