Mr. September - USU Engineering Student Takes Home Best of Show

By Maren Cartwright
Utah State Today
May 2008

Dennis Olsen's graphic rendering of USUs Space Dynamics Laboratorys AIM-SOFIE satellite, earned him Best of Show in the 2008 Seimens PLM Software Calendar competition.

Dennis's winning artwork is featured on the September 2008 page of the Americas edition of the Siemens calendar.

When Utah State University mechanical and aerospace engineering student Dennis Olsen sat down in the Engineering Graphics class in Fall 2007, he had no idea that he was about to create a piece of art that would be distributed around the world. 

Olsen’s graphic rendering of USU’s Space Dynamics Laboratory’s AIM-SOFIE (Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere — Solar Occultation for Ice Experiment) satellite, earned him Best of Show in the 2008 Seimens PLM Software Calendar competition. The winning artwork is featured on the September page of the Americas edition of the calendar.

“I was so surprised when my professor told me I had won Best of Show in the competition — I didn’t even know that my artwork was one of the entries that USU submitted,” said Olsen. “Being featured in the calendar is an honor and it will look great on my resume.”

Siemens is a leading global provider of product lifecycle management software with 51,000 customers world-wide. The Siemens Calendar competition started in 1997 and has become an annual tradition with entrants from leading global companies, including Adams Golf, FMC Technologies and Hill-Rom. Every year, a panel of industry professionals from around the world selects the images that appear in the printed calendar. People from more than 20 countries entered the 2008 competition.

John DeVitry, a mechanical and aerospace engineering professor and SDL researcher, assigned his class with the task of creating an artistic rendering of the AIM-SOFIE satellite using Siemen’s Solid Edge software. He told the students that the best renderings would be submitted to the contest.

“Dennis has a keen eye for being able to see exactly what needs to be done and doing it,” said DeVitry. “His ability to visualize and present a complicated 3D CAD model in the simplest and most effective manner made him stand out as a student. I am proud of Dennis, he was competing against professional engineers from around the world, quite an accomplishment for a USU student.”

When Olsen sat down to design the rendering, he imagined the satellite and what it would look like in its natural atmosphere. He noticed that the 2007 calendar featured artwork with attention to detail, including emphasis on lighting and reflection. Olsen focused his efforts on these details, and thinks it helped to earn him a place in the calendar.

“Dennis joins a select group of people from around the world recognized for delivering absolute excellence in their work,” said Betty Hill, manager of the 2008 Siemens PLM Calendar Program. “The selection process is difficult to pick the best of the best based on overall dramatic impact and aesthetics, complexity of the image, image innovation, image clarity and resolution and how much the image represents maximum usage of Siemens PLM Software products. Dennis did a wonderful job in all of these areas.”

Having a good knowledge of 3D modeling software is an important skill for engineers today.

“Companies are creating 3D models of everything so that the client can visualize the end product and if you have the skills to create the 3D models, you are more marketable,” said Olsen.

And while the Solid Edge software was new to Olsen, he took advantage of the opportunity to learn a new program.

“USU is a great school to go to,” Olsen said. “It has a great engineering program and I have enjoyed the classes and professors.”

Olsen said that the engineering program at USU is a lot of hard work, but has already realized the pay-off with the honor and notoriety of having his rendering featured in the Siemens calendar. Taking home a new digital camera and secure digital card weren’t too bad either, he said.



© 2008