ASME Launches E-Fest Program with Asia Pacific Event in India

March 10, 2017

(Left to right) Dr. S.S. Gokhale, director of the LNM Institute of Information Technology (LNMIIT), ASME Executive Director Thomas Loughlin, B.V.R Mohan Reddy, founder and executive chairman of Cyient, ASME Past President Madiha El Mehelmy Kotb, and Dr. Ravi Gorthi, dean of academics at LNMIIT at the lamp lighting ceremony on the opening day of E-Fest Asia Pacific. (Photos courtesy of Bhavesh Kumar)

Upwards of 800 student engineers from across India gathered in the northern city of Jaipur to compete, to learn from accomplished professionals, to network with both peers and industry representatives, and to party at ASME’s inaugural E-Fest held March 3-5.

“I’ve made new friends, I’ve learned about different cultures, and we’ve been exposed to ideas about the latest trends in engineering,” said Jerin Benedict, who traveled 2,900 kilometers (more than 1,800 miles) to get to E-Fest Asia Pacific from the Bethlahem Institute of Engineering in Tamil Nadu. “It took 36 hours by train and 12 hours by bus to get here.”

Prof. Manoj Kumar (right), head of the department of mechanical engineering at LNM Institute of Information Technology, welcomes ASME Executive Director Thomas Loughlin to E-Fest Asia Pacific.

Energy was high throughout the three-day event in Jaipur, a popular tourist destination in the northwestern state of Rajistan. “It’s absolutely fantastic to be here in India for E-Fest,” said ASME Executive Director Thomas Loughlin “There’s passion, energy, creativity and pride that you see in every student here. It comes with the festival atmosphere. You see it in the competitions. Every team wants the other team to succeed. So there’s a great sense of cheer, and it’s contagious.”

E-Fest Asia Pacific featured four competitions, presentations by leaders in business and industry, networking opportunities with both peers and working engineers, plus fireworks and live music. A famous Indian pop band, Euphoria, had no difficulty prompting students to “party like an engineer” during an outdoor Saturday night concert that lasted past midnight.

The student team from Delhi Technological University was the overall winner at the Human Powered Vehicle Challenge (HPVC) regional competition at E-Fest Asia Pacific in India. The team also placed first in the competition’s design, women’s speed and men’s speed categories.

E-Fest Asia Pacific was held at the LNM Institute of Information Technology’s sprawling 100-acre campus. “This has been an exhilarating and thrilling experience for my Institute,” said Professor S.S. Gokhale, the Institute’s director. “I believe this has been a big success. A lot of students participated and the enthusiasm they showed in all of the events, whether it is the Student Design Competition, whether it is the Human Powered Vehicle Challenge (HPVC), whether it is a poster presentation. Right from the beginning to the end, they have had a tremendous amount of enthusiasm.... This has been a phenomenal success.”

“Volunteering at E-Fest has been a good experience for me, remarkable for me,” said Krati Maheshwari, one of 200 student volunteers helping to host the festival. “I’ve enjoyed this so much,” she continued. “Interacting with different people from different colleges from different parts of India.... It has been a proud moment for LNMIIT. I’ve enjoyed the perks too. The t-shirt, and the food, which is so delicious. The concert was good, too. Euphoria, the band, was very rocking. We danced, and partied until 12:30. It was a very remarkable, amazing night.”

The student teams had to navigate through obstacles during the endurance event at the HPVC regional competition at E-Fest Asia Pacific. The team from B.H. Gardi College of Engineering and Technology were the winners of that event.

The Human Powered Vehicle Competition spanned all three days of the festival, with a drag-race style speed test and a 2 ½ hour endurance test. The Student Design Competition set four challenges for small robots, including a lift test, a ball toss and a difficult stair climb. The ASME Old Guard Competition featured both posters and oral presentations. The Innovative Additive Manufacturing 3D (IAM3D) Challenge provided students with an opportunity to demonstrate their design skills for 3D printing.

A special guest at the keynote address was B.V.R. Mohan Reddy, a prominent mechanical engineer and business leader whose company provides design engineering services to global companies. Other speakers included Dr. Anil Kakodkar, an advocate of clean energy who is former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India. Talks also featured experts in advanced manufacturing, innovation and entrepreneurship, and leadership skills.

Students prepare their entry for the ASME Student Design Competition, one of the regional ASME student competitions that took place at E-Fest Asia Pacific.

In addition, ASME hosted an opportunity for students to meet informally with early- and mid-career engineers at E-Fest, which combined the best of both digital and in-person networking, according to Dr. Gokhale. While social media was used to mobilize resources and promote the event, he said the festival went an important step further.

“Facebook is perfectly alright,” Gokhale said. “But there is no replacement for person-to-person contact. Meeting somebody, rubbing shoulders has a completely different dimension... There is a definite advantage to meeting face-to-face. You meet somebody, you smile ... you understand the gist of what a person is feeling. And that is the advantage of old fashioned person-to-person communication. I value it. I cherish it.”

The Indian pop group Euphoria were the featured musical act at the Music Fest, one of the highlights of E-Fest Asia Pacific.

E-Fest Asia Pacific was the first in a series of 2017 E-Fests: E-Fest West will take place from March 17 to 19 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and E-Fest East will run from April 21 to 23 at Tennessee Tech University in Cookville.

Helping close the ceremony and presenting awards at E-Fest Asia Pacific were ASME’s Paul Scott, interim executive director, ASME Foundation, and ASME Past President Madiha El Mehelmy Kotb. “It is exciting to see so much potential in your talents, in your teamwork and your successes,” Kotb told an appreciative audience. “It is inspiring to feel the energy in a room of engineers like you.”

-Roger Torda, ASME Public Information