DENSO’s Maryville, Tennessee, facility (DMTN) is a proud supporter of FIRST Robotics, an international engineering competition designed to give students real-world science experience. Through DMTN’s support, DENSO associates mentor and guide a FIRST Robotics team comprised of local student competitors. One of these associates is Jim McDaniel, a senior manager in DENSO’s Body Electronics division. This was his second year supporting the program, where he was a Jack of all trades – part teacher, motivator and photographer – but also a dad. His son captained the software team.
Jim finds the can-do spirit that FIRST Robotics encourages and learning opportunities it provides to be what makes it so valuable to students.
“As a mentor, I have a priority to do almost everything through the kids themselves,” said Jim. “FIRST is incredibly important as a program because it gives high school students the opportunity to grapple with an engineering challenge, decide strategies and solutions to problems, design systems and components, then test them.”
While enhancing students’ education in the short term, Jim believes DENSO’s relationship with FIRST Robotics has long-term benefits for the company and broader automotive industry as well.
“I think it’s critical for DENSO to support FIRST robotics because the kids that go through this experience come out with so much experience with hard work, design, fabrication, critical thinking, planning and problem-solving,” explained Jim. “These kids will become the future engineers, technicians and troubleshooters of the workforce. After being a part of this program, I now see FIRST experience on an applicant’s history as a sign of something special.”
Last week, DMAT invited Walker Valley students, family, faculty, local city officials, and some DENSO associates to a small ceremony at the EcoPark to unveil new student sculptures.
In 2016, DENSO sponsored a local STEAM Camp, put on through a partnership between Bradley County Schools and Cleveland State Community College, to teach students about science, technology, engineering, art and math.
Thirteen local high school students participated in the camp, and as part of their final camp project, they created mock-ups of art sculptures. Now, two years later, the student sculptures are life-size, with some on display at DMAT’s EcoPark.
Students from Walker Valley worked with DENSO associates to build their full-scale sculptures in the EcoPark. The school also donated a plaque with a brief description to be placed alongside the sculptures.
DENSO was delighted to partner with students for a hands-on project exposing them to advanced manufacturing and career exploration. These students used problem solving, critical thinking, team work and creativity to create these sculptures all of which are elements we use every day at DENSO.
Our associates continue to impact the neighborhoods where they work and live in big ways. In April, 22 quality engineers took time out of their day to volunteer with the American Red Cross’ Sound the Alarm program. These rock star associates installed free fire alarms in homes all over Southeast Michigan. Volunteers like Chris Panke, Justin Higgs, and Rebecca Hagerman, who participate in DENSO’s Worktime Volunteering program, shared the following about their experience:
“The work was very rewarding. It was shocking to learn how vulnerable we all are to the risk of loss due to inadequate fire safety precautions. The numbers shared were staggering and each homeowner was extremely appreciative in our education about those risks along with installing the smoke detectors which can help save them and their family members. It really was an eye-opening experience.” – Chris Panke, Quality Planning, Sr. Manager
“This was a very fun event that helps many people who are less fortunate. It is a very sobering experience to see some of the living conditions that the elderly and former military members are living in, and I was glad to be able to provide them with the extra peace of mind of having working smoke detectors…I hope to volunteer for it in the future.” – Justin Higgs, Field Quality Engineer
“For me, when I signed up to volunteer for the Sound the Alarm program, I wasn’t expecting to make much of a difference by installing smoke detectors. I was wrong. Some of the homes my team visited had zero functioning smoke detectors – zero. Just by installing the smoke detectors and providing the homeowners with valuable information about fire safety within the home and explaining the importance of having a fire escape plan, gave me a rewarding feeling. Like I was making a difference in these peoples’ lives. It was a great experience.” – Rebecca Hagerman, Sr Service/QA Support Specialist
In 2017, DENSO gave a $10,000 grant to support Sound the Alarm. From April 28-May 13, the nationwide program installed over 100,000 free smoke alarms in 100 different cities across the United States. According to the American Red Cross, seven people die from home fires each day. This initiative was created to raise fire safety awareness and save lives.
Thank you to all our employees who exemplify our passion for strengthening communities and keeping them safe. Keep up the good work!
DENSO’s Athens, Tennessee, location (DMAT) recently awarded $10,000 to Cleveland High School for the third consecutive year, as reported by the Cleveland Daily Banner. With the help of Project Lead the Way, a national organization that develops STEM curriculum for schools, DENSO’s grant supports the local high school’s career and technical education programs.
Crystal Renner, a human resource supervisor at DMAT, credits the initiative’s collaborative spirit and hands-on training for its success.
“Together, DENSO, Project Lead the Way and Cleveland High School allows students access to real world applied learning experiences, which allow them to thrive in their college career and beyond,” said Renner.
This relationship with Cleveland High School – and the rest of the city’s school district – goes well beyond just writing a check. DENSO representatives also have given presentations on STEM careers in these schools and hosted students at DMAT for facility tours.
During the grant announcement, Dr. Russell Dyer, Cleveland director of schools, recognized the importance of working with partners like DENSO to develop tomorrow’s talent pool.
“We appreciate the check, but we appreciate a lot more than that,” Dyer said. “We’re really wanting to figure out what we can do to partner with the workforce, whether it’s DENSO or other companies. This is a really important thing for us.”
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In support of the United Way Diaper Drive, we held our own diaper and feminine product collection at DENSO Manufacturing Michigan and designated our donation to Charitable Union.
Our team donated:
Thanks to everyone that donated!
Members of DENSO met with Polk County High to discuss their partnership for the upcoming school year. Polk and DENSO are both committed to engaging career and technical education programs to support in-demand skills and bridge the skills gap in technology.
Last week, 992 students, grades 7-8, had a scientific day filled with hands-on activities, science experiments, career explorations, peer-to-peer talks and more at the 2018 DAPCEP STEM Day. DIAM Southfield had 6 volunteers to talk “Technology and Vehicle Safety”.
Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP) is a nonprofit organization with 40 years of experience partnering with universities, training programs, and K-12 school systems in order to connect youth to the best science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) educational experiences in Michigan.
Thank you to our volunteers for helping students build a stronger understanding, appreciation and excitement for STEM!
Below are our volunteers and their speaking topics:
Dana Paul, senior recruiter in Human Resources
Introduction of DENSO International America, Inc.
Yolanda Durfield, senior account manager in Sales & Marketing
“My journey as an Engineer”
Matthew Gesch, application engineer II in AD & ADAS
“AD & ADAS Sensors”
Denise Carlson, vice president in NAPIC Planning
“Automation & Manufacturing”
Oris Rost, material engineer II in NA Material Engineering
“Automation & Manufacturing”
Our engineers like to compete. From sports leagues to holiday gift donations, they go all out. Our Cockpit Systems* Engineering Division even used DIAM’s Worktime Volunteering program to start its own competition for associates—a competition to see who can pack the most food donation boxes at Focus Hope for low-income seniors in need.
The competition started in Cockpit Systems 3. Dan Tran, an Engineering Senior Manager in Cockpit Systems 3, and his team chose to volunteer at Focus Hope using DIAM’s Worktime Volunteering. The following year, his director encouraged the other departments to participate and make it a division-wide competition.
“I think it’s important for management to be engaged in these types of activities to lead by example” said Dan. “Everyone enjoyed participating at this event and it was a great team bonding experience. We feel like we’ve given back to the community and that we were challenged. When someone saw a packing station falling behind, they jumped in to help keep things moving.”
*Cockpit Systems formerly known as Body Component Systems
The Winners Circle
Over the last few months, four teams competed in the Cockpit Systems Focus Hope challenge. Check out the rankings below to see how the teams fared, and read about the experiences of two associates who participated:
Team: Cockpit Systems 3
Packed: 24 pallets (1,325 boxes)
Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes (757 boxes/hr)
“I want to commend my team for their commitment because even though it was the worst snow storm of the winter, everyone still made it downtown in time for the activity,” said Victor Vulcu, Engineer 4 in Cockpit Systems 3. “Our team won, but what’s most important was that our team packed a week’s worth of food donations for low-income seniors. I think more teams should do activities like this. It’s a good experience for associates. It’s something tangible and you can see your immediate impact.”
Team: Cockpit Systems 1
Packed: 14 pallets (770 boxes)
Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes (513 boxes/hr)
Packed: 22 pallets (1,200 boxes)
Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes (480 boxes/hr)
Team: Cockpit Systems 4
Packed: 18 pallets (1,000 boxes)
Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes (429 boxes/hr)
“This volunteer activity would not have been successful without our director, Chee Cheong, and the support of our senior managers and managers,” said Nancy Chen, administrative assistant in Cockpit Systems 4. “Our director sent an email to everyone encouraging us to participate. Some associates were hesitant at first, but then they started signing up after seeing the email. The email showed that our director supported the activity during work hours and believed it was meaningful. We felt a sense of community after the activity. We felt like one DENSO team. We’re very proud to represent DENSO at Focus Hope and to show other groups our DENSO Spirit.”
Cockpit Systems Division Total: 78 pallets (4,290 boxes)
Years to Come
“Each year, we want to keep improving to see how we can be more efficient and pack the most boxes possible,” said Dan. “It’s a chance for us to be challenged both mentally and physically. Friendly competition helps drive team motivation and it feels good to support a local organization such as Focus Hope.”
Learn How to use Worktime Volunteering
Click the “Download” button on the upper, right hand side of this story to download information about DIAM’s Worktime Volunteering program.
At DENSO, we’re committed to our communities. We’re dedicated to protecting lives, preserving the planet and preparing a bright future for generations to come.
For the last several years, DENSO Manufacturing Canada has supported KidsAbility, an organization that provides children with disabilities and medical complexities access to the support and services they need to reach their full potential. Here’s a few ways DMCN is making a difference in the lives of young children with special needs in Waterloo Region and Guelph-Wellington:
DMCN President Rich van Oorschot shared this about their support of KidsAbility:
“KidsAbility has made a tremendous impact in the lives of children and youth in the Guelph Community. Our gift to their capital project, to bring two KidsAbility Guelph locations together, ensures that all kids with disabilities and medical complexities in Guelph have access to the supports and services that they need. KidsAbility is a unique place that gives local children a stronger future. By giving back, we are making our community better, which is part of the DENSO culture. This is an important aspiration for our Company and our Associates.”
On May 5, associates from DENSO Manufacturing Canada (DMCN) volunteered at ‘A Day with a Difference’ 2018 conference to help promote STEM to girls in grades 7 and 8.
A Day with a Difference is a one day conference for girls in grades 7 and 8 in WRDSB schools. The day is organized by the local ETFO Girls’ Conference Committee in coordination with Conestoga College. It is a day filled with hands-on workshops offered by female presenters in fields of science, math and technology.
Monique Radersma, Cherry Lou Javier, Pauline Fell, Terry Beerman and Sameet Saini, from our DMCN team, coordinated robotics workshops for the girls.
Did you know DENSO has associates dedicated to coaching students participating in FIRST Robotics? Alex Dengate, a quality engineer in Southfield, Michigan, is one of these associates.
Alex’s interest in engineering sparked when he joined his high school’s FIRST Robotics team. Now, when he’s not programming in our Quality Engineering department, he goes back to his old school to coach the students who are now running the team.
“I actually went to Waterford Kettering and graduated in 2009,” said Alex. “My senior year was the first year that our school participated in the FIRST Robotics program, and I was on that team. FIRST Robotics is what really pushed me to want to learn about technical studies. Now, I’m a mechanical engineer by schooling who does programming as my main job. Ultimately, we are helping the kids become more successful individuals and having fun while doing it.”
“FIRST is challenging and a lot of fun,” said Alex. “Every year it’s a new game, and challenges everyone to think outside the box. Overall, FIRST is just a great experience. For the kids, we are greatly accelerating their learning curve in manufacturing, engineering, programming and mathematics. It’s an opportunity for them to gain new skill sets that support both individual growth and teamwork. These are the kids that will be working in the technical fields of the future. The kids in FIRST Robotics today, will be the people solving the world’s biggest problems ten years from now.”
The FIRST Robotics team that Alex mentors is one of nine DENSO sponsored teams competing in this year’s FIRST Robotics World Competition in Detroit, Michigan.
Alex recently moved positions at DENSO. Previously, he was a field quality engineer who worked to detect potential quality issues and find solutions. Now, he’s a senior quality information systems analyst who develops software systems to help make DENSO’s Quality Engineering department more proactive, quicker in detecting quality issues, and overall more efficient than it is today.
About FIRST Robotics
FIRST Robotics is the ultimate sport for the mind.
Under strict rules, limited resources, and an intense six-week time limit, teams of students are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors. It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get. Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team. Each season ends with an exciting FIRST Robotics World Championship.
Road traffic crashes account for approximately 1.25 million fatalities every year, and about 500 child fatalities every day. To help reduce auto crashes where DENSO’s more than 23,000 North American employees live and work, the global automotive supplier, together with Safe Kids Worldwide, co-created a comprehensive roadmap encouraging employees to spread safe driving habits: the Road Safety Associate Toolkit.
The 41-page document offers safety tips, infographics, activity sheets, and other materials to assist associates in making their communities safer for kids. The Toolkit has three sections: In and Around Cars; Pedestrian Safety, and Bike Safety.
The Toolkit includes tips on installing car seats and avoiding heatstroke, advice for parents on talking to teen drivers, ways to prevent kids from being distracted while walking near roadways, and Halloween safety precautions. It also provides contact information for local Safe Kid coalitions, an action plan to make school zones safer, other online resources, and social media posts.
“Safe Kids Worldwide has been laser focused on preventing childhood injuries for almost 30 years, and we’ve made a lot of progress toward keeping kids safe,” said Torine Creppy, president of Safe Kids Worldwide. “But we can do even more by partnering with the associates of DENSO. We’re confident that our joint initiative can help to reduce the number traffic crashes and protect our children.”
DENSO is also hosting safety events throughout the country to help educate community members about child safety on the road. May marks the company’s Global Safety Month, which will focus on celebrating DENSO’s work to produce the latest vehicle safety technology and further educating drivers and pedestrians about how to reduce auto accidents.
To download the Toolkit:
Click on the Download button above this article to view and save the toolkit.
About Safe Kids Worldwide
Safe Kids Worldwide is a nonprofit organization working to protect kids on the road, at home and at play. Preventable injuries are the number one cause of death for children in the United States. Throughout the world, almost one million children die of an injury each year, and almost every one of these tragedies is preventable. Safe Kids works with an extensive network of more than 400 coalitions in the U.S. and with partners in more than 33 countries to reduce traffic injuries, drownings, falls, burns, poisonings and more. Since 1988, Safe Kids has helped reduce the U.S. childhood death rate from unintentional injury by 60 percent. Working together, we can do much more to protect kids. Join our effort at safekids.org.
The Battle Creek community gathered to celebrate Chin National Day together this winter with sponsorship support from DENSO. The Community Cultural Center in Springfield was bursting at the seams for the annual event attended by more than 400 Battle Creek area Burmese.
Chin National Day was established almost 70 years ago to commemorate the day the Burmese threw out their feudal system, adopted democracy, and separated themselves from Great Britain. The holiday is a chance to preserve and maintain the rich culture, tradition, language, and literature of the Chin ethnic group.
This year’s event featured traditional music, dancing, food, storytelling, and fashion. The DENSO Burmese Resource Group and DMMI Business Partnering Manager Paul Gallagher represented DMMI and were recognized for the company’s event sponsorship and community support.
Our DENSO associates in Dublin, Ohio got to enjoy a free lunchtime yoga session led by a fitness instructor, all thanks to the City of Dublin FitBiz program!
We’re committed to the communities in which we work. DENSO was named the Dublin City Schools Business of the Month for March. Pictured is Bryan Starr, senior manager from Dublin, Ohio, accepting the award.
The Dublin City Schools Board of Education honors one local business partner a month during the school year. Businesses receive this designation for their contributions to a Dublin, Ohio school, support group, or the district at large.
Congrats to Agnes E. Beer Middle School in Warren, MI for receiving DENSO’s Best Futuristic Transportation Award at The Engineering Society of Detroit’s Future Cities Competition.Their future vehicles were equipped with breathalyzer sensors to prevent driving under the influence.