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Graduate geared up for his engineering job

Taylor Allen

Taylor Allen

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Updated: November 26, 2013 6:12AM



Twenty-something-year-old college students don’t figure to know much about the Offenhauser auto racing engines that were popular from the 1930s to the ‘70s, or so Purdue University Calumet alumnus and Carlisle Companies Inc. chairman, president and CEO Dave Roberts told Hobart’s Taylor Allen.

Allen was a Purdue Calumet mechanical engineering technology student in 2012 when the university hosted a Technology Day that attracted Roberts to campus and included soon-to-be graduating technology students displaying their senior design projects.

Allen’s project featured pattern creations of a new Offenhauser engine crankcase, attracting Roberts’ attention.

“Mr. Roberts said I wasn’t old enough to know what an Offenhauser engine is,” Allen, 25, said about the once powerful, reliable “Offy” that once dominated the Indianapolis 500 and other American open wheel racing.

Allen’s ingenuity apparently impressed Roberts. Or, as Purdue Calumet Dean of the College of Technology Niaz Latif put it, “Dave Roberts said ‘Give me more Taylor Allens’.”

After graduating in 2012, Allen accepted a job with Carlisle and its manufacturing Brake & Friction division. The division provides high-performance and severe duty brake, clutch and transmission applications for heavy off-road construction, mining and agricultural equipment, as well as for competitive auto racing.

Allen is an operations engineer by title, but he also is part of the company’s recently initiated, pilot management training program.

“We have a need to develop people for future plant managers and other leadership positions,” Carlisle Brake & Friction Vice President of Human Resources Kevin Doherty said.

With a work force of some 12,000 spread over five divisions, Carlisle offers plenty of opportunity, according to Doherty. “We can keep engineering technologists very busy,” he said.

Doherty and Allen recently visited Purdue Calumet to nurture corporate-university partnership prospects. With Carlisle having previously supported Purdue Calumet student participation in Baja SAE design competition for off-road vehicles by providing tires, one might say the wheels of collaboration already have been set in motion.

As for Taylor, the connection he made with Carlisle came after transferring to Purdue Calumet in 2010 following three years down state.

“I got an internship with a company in Valparaiso,” he said. “So it made sense to take advantage of the proximity to my internship, go to school close to home and graduate with less debt.”

But those weren’t the only perks he derived from attending Purdue Calumet.

“I had easier one-on-one access to professors and labs here,” he said. “Plus, the atmosphere is more open and available to students. That was important to me, because I’ve always been a hands-on person.”

Apparently, it’s important to other Purdue Calumet students, too, as the university’s College of Technology is ranked ninth nationally in technology-related undergraduate enrollment and third in graduate student total, according to the American Society for Engineering Education.

“I wanted to work directly with people and equipment in a manufacturing environment; I didn’t want to just sit behind a desk,” Allen said. “I had a great experience at Purdue Calumet. Coming here was one of the best decisions I could have made.”



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