MURRAY, Ky. — Electromechanical engineering technology students at Murray State University recently placed first in competition at the National Fluid Power Association’s (NFPA) Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge in Ames, Iowa.

The team won for their design and build of a hydraulic bike, which is a chainless bicycle operated by liquid pumping through tubes from a hydraulic pump to a hydraulic motor. After creating a prototype of the bike in the fall for their senior design course and sharing it with NFPA engineers, the group received further funding to complete the construction process. The finished product was then used — and won first place — in competition during the Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge this spring. During the competition, the team earned the best times and scores in the sprint race and efficiency challenge.

“The students competed against some of the best engineering students in the nation and won by a large margin,” said Bryant Harrison, team coach and instructor in the Institute of Engineering. “The program has always produced students who do well in competition, but this particular group did an exceptional job working through many issues that have historically been difficult to overcome.”

The winning team in spring 2018 consisted of Cooper Lindberg (Danville, Kentucky), Evan Kellems (Evansville, Indiana), Grant McCuiston (Dawson Springs, Kentucky), Joseph Caldwell (Palmersville, Tennessee), Joseph Irby (Nashville, Tennessee), Kevin Mackie (Hopkinsville, Kentucky) and Kyle Lebarron (Evansville, Indiana). They are all students in Murray State’s Institute of Engineering.

Murray State has competed in the annual Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge for more than 10 years. Harrison, who is also a Murray State alumnus, competed on the team as an undergraduate and was part of the University’s winning team in 2013.

“The bike this year is fundamentally different than what my team built,” Harrison said. “My job as a teacher is to guide students down a path that can lead to success while allowing them room to fail and learn from their mistakes.”

The electromechanical engineering technology program is part of the University’s Institute of Engineering, the first entity in the Commonwealth to offer a broad spectrum of engineering, engineering technology and STEM-related programs under a common, cooperative umbrella. With state-of-the-art equipment in the new 81,000-square-foot Engineering and Physics Building and in the Industry and Technology Center, students work with knowledgeable and supportive faculty and staff in a variety of fields that include engineering physics, engineering technology, engineering graphics and design, physics and telecommunications systems management. For more information about opportunities in the Institute of Engineering, please visit


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