Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Running Out Of Gas? Tesla Takes Charge

Are you along for the ride?

I just love road trips. Get some good tunes on, roll down the windows and enjoy the ride. Probably has more to do with my fear of flying than anything else, but I'm one of many that spend quite a bit of time in my car. Ever think about how much time you spend driving around?According to Social Security, the average life expectancy overall is about 85 years old, do you know how much of your life you spend in your car?

4.3 years. If you do the math on distance and time, you could literally drive to the moon and back THREE times during that span.

When we think about how much time we all spend in our cars, we can't avoid the conversation of what it is doing to our environment.  Oil spills, gasoline prices,  off shore drilling, painful politics, air pollution from exhaust fumes, overall destruction to our Mother Nature...just a few of the consequences related to driving an automobile. Sure, we share rides, carpool, utilize public transportation, walk or ride more bikes when we can, but the bottom line is: most people rely on their cars to get them where they need to go.

How is the car being creatively crafted to combat these consequences?

Two years ago I was invited to mentor one of the Rockhurst University Helzeburg School of Management capstone projects. The topic was conquering the digital divide and looking at the future classroom space. This semester long project with over a dozen undergraduate students had a profound impact on the development and opening of the STEAM Studio. One of lead students on the project, Hunter Johnston, and I have kept in touch discussing that capstone project and the importance of it. Now that Hunter is back in KC opening up the Tesla store, he reached out to me about forming a partnership.

I asked "why Tesla Motors? His reply, "we build from the ground up."

This instantly caught my attention. How often are we concerned that our youth are not building or improving products?  

Hunter went onto further explain, "kids should have the opportunity to explore what really excites them, that is something I had to do on my own. The STEAM Studio provides this opportunity and I want to support that endeavor. From a STEAM aspect, there is a part of our company that has every single element of that acronym. There are tons of innovative science, technology, engineering, art and math going into what we do at Tesla." 

Specific activities which will be implemented at the STEAM Studio would include (but not be limited to) a challenging car project through 3D printing and designing of future models.Improving the design studio options available through Tesla while thinking outside the box.There is a quite a bit which goes into interior design of the car, picking out which fabrics and colors go together from the dashboard to the trunk. I've always wished there was an easy accessible places to put my purse, aside from the floor or passenger eat. Guess what? Tesla's got it!  With more women in the software area of motor designing, Tesla's done an incredible job of hiring and engaging women in different areas of the company. In fact, Hunter's, counterpart who taught him everything he knows thus far about the the business, is a woman.

Hunter contributes his involvement with Tesla to his Jesuit Education. He explains that his Rockhurst University courses taught him over and over to take a problem, observe it from a different angle and uncover a different way to improve it. He said that there is "no book" for what they are doing and through Rockhurst University, he learned to take risks, become a leader, and because of his diverse courses, he learned to approach challenges head on.  He says he "preaches service leadership" throughout his interactions with everyone he meets and works with at Tesla. Service leadership meaning, looking for ways to be innovative, to serve others by finding ways this car cannot only help the environment but those actually driving the car. Choosing to serve the community, the regions, the nation over self-interest. Tesla cars are built to last, not built to break down. The engineers and designers must never sleep because many, in the media, are coining this car as "tomorrow's car, today." This doesn't just happen overnight, it takes drive and constant evolution from what our world thinks of the automobile industry.

And that's not all folks...
Not only is Tesla CEO Elon Musk finding ways to free our world of gasoline guzzling cars through the electric eccentric driving machines, he's sharing how he's doing it. Get on the bandwagon!

Here are some basic highlights for owning a Tesla, coming straight at you:

1. The right-of-way: There are no cars on the car lot, no wasted materials, no one trying to talk you into a deal. What you see is what you get. Since each clean energy car is made from your direct order, you get it your way. You get to pick out which model, and every aspect that matters to you; paint, roof, mirrors, interior, exterior, extra gear, and other options that catch your eye. How is this different from other dealerships where you order cars? This one (as Hunter said prior) is built from the ground up, just like when someone makes you something from scratch. It's made especially with you mind, only you.

2. On the road again: When was the last time you drove a car that you really enjoyed? Not only will you be supporting the zero emissions movement and lower air pollution, you can find free charging stations and Tesla is known for it's low depreciation, federal tax credits,  and little maintenance needed on all its models. Plus, the 17 inch touch screen  allows for easy access and is safe as you can give voice commands for what you are looking for as you drive. Think of a big iPad that can find just about anything you need in and out of the car. Plus, you get updates to keep your car current,  AND it comes with amazing autopilot features! Who wouldn't want to take this for a spin?

Tesla motors takes the fear out of being a driver and passenger and returns us to the joy of the ride.

3. Life without a dipstick: No need to change the oil or pump up, so less stress on you, as the Tesla owner. USA Today reports that it costs about $10,000 a year to own a car. Yep. Why? Increased gas prices and maintenance are the main reasons. Not your problems when you own a Telsa. It all seems perfect, right? Well, there is the issue of keeping your electric car, well, energized. Aside from your own charging station and battery, you need to charge your ride after about 300 miles. But no reason to apply the brakes, Telsa just announced that they have over 2,000 supercharger stations across the country and are constantly adding more.

4. Yield sign ahead: As with any new product, machine, or invention, there is some controversy. Tesla has been in the news and courts over the issue of selling cars which, some feel do not follow the state requirements for selling cars. Since Tesla is not franchised and sells direct to the consumer, there have been lawsuits from several states citing franchise laws. Obviously dealerships feel the best way to serve customers is through a showroom with an adjacent service and maintenance facility, rather than factory direct. You can read more about this issue driving motor companies to court here.  The bottom line is, they are an American company, selling American cars with more American parts than any other vehicle out there. You decide.

5. You've got the green light:  Tesla is not some overnight company who just popped up with this incredible machine.  Tesla Motors was founded in 2003 and has received a 5 star safety ranking while being the fastest car out there (0 to 60 in just over 3 seconds). Not to mention, the motor is named after Nikola Tesla, the first engineer who pioneered this invention 100 years ago. While the initial sticker price may be holding you back, after you have done your own research you will realize that this car practically pays for itself over the long haul.

I've only scratched the surface on some of the amazing parts of this new set of wheels, find out more yourself at:

At the STEAM Studio, we are looking forward to what this forward thinking, futuristic company can teach us and what our kids can learn from the revolutionary way to approach car sales and new model of auto design. But, more importantly, be inspired to find exciting ways to be green and grow.

###Special thanks to Tesla Motors and Hunter Johnston for sharing your expertise and igniting projects and passion for learning and building for a better tomorrow with STEAM Studio.

"Like a true nature's child...get your motor running...head out on the highway... " Go a little wild and check out Tesla.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Am I Wrong? A Mom's Promise To Get It Right

The writing is on the wall.

I hate working out. Ok, hate is a strong word, I do not like to workout. But, I try to everyday. Why would I want to do something almost everyday I don't like?  Because I need to. Lately I have been going to Health House and I feel as though I am going to die during the class! It never seems to get any easier. However, after, I benefit from a boost in my spirit, release of frustration and peace of mind that I am doing something healthy. I feel a little less guilty about chugging a Starbucks latte, eating some peanut M & M's and having an occasional glass of wine.

This will be the only blog about my workout. :)

Another way I like to treat myself is to pop over to T.Loft for a protein smoothie. The other day I ran over sweaty and became a little annoyed as there was a line (and of course I was in a hurry). I had left my phone in the car, so I started looking around and noticed a gigantic scripture hanging on the wall. It's weird how you can see something over and over or pass by it several times and never really notice it. I decided to read it while I was waiting...

...and my heart skipped a beat.

Rewind back to when my youngest was born. This baby did not sleep through the night for the first year of her existence. At around 10 pm, it was party central in her crib. I had just returned to work, had a 3 & 2 year old at home and was trying hard to keep up with life. Mike and I would try to split up the night time duties, but that was taking a toll on us as well.  I had experienced a miscarriage before I became pregnant with her, so I was thankful for this little bundle and that she was healthy. But, I was really struggling in my daily life and being a happy healthy mommy.

My nocturnal baby, too cool to sleep at night.
Not really a self-help gal, but one night when Janie and I were hanging out watching an Oprah rerun at around 2 am, there was a segment about positive thinking.  This motivational quote from Christian Larson was mentioned and after I read it, I was touched. It soon became a mantra for me. I carried it around with me for almost two years and then one day it got misplaced.

Until this week. The enormous hanging on the wall at T. Loft was staring at me. Almost yelling at me in black and white bold letters... Larson's words. The ones that got me through sleepless nights and crabby days. It was if God was reminding me about a promise we can make ourselves.

Reflecting about Mother's Day and Larson's words prompts these ideas: sometimes waiting in line is a good thing. It forces me to take a few minutes and be still. Working out is very important to my body and mind. I need to be thankful that I am able to do so.  Bonding late nights with my daughter taught me patience and that finding ways to restore my soul in difficult times is imperative.

So here it is (I have bolded my favorite lines):

Promise Yourself 
by Christian Larson (1922)

To be so strong that nothing
can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity
to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel
that there is something in them

To look at the sunny side of everything
and make your optimism come true.

To think only the best, to work only for the best,
and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others
as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past
and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times
and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself
that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear,
and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world,
not in loud words but great deeds.
To live in faith that the whole world is on your side
so long as you are true to the best that is in you.

This pretty much sums it up for me.  I hope you find a piece of it that touches you, please feel free to share with a mom on Mother's Day. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think Mr. Larson nailed it. Moms are very busy people, but spiritual beings who should promise to take care of themselves not only physically, but mentally. 

Thanks so all the incredible mommies out there who strive to get it right!

One of my fav songs by Nico & Vinz. I think they are right on: “Am I wrong for thinking out the box from where I stay? If one thing I know, I'll fall but I'll grow. I'm walking down this road of mine, this road that I call home…”