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Project Series: E-Mobility

The history of e-Mobility began with the idea of electric cars and has greatly evolved over the years.  Today, it comprises of not only electric vehicles (EV) but also other means and methods of transport involving the utilization of electricity.  E-Mobility represents the concept of using electric powertrain technologies (e.g. EV, plug-in hybrids), communication technologies, in-vehicle information, and connected infrastructures to support the momentum behind electric vehicles and fleets.

Inspired and driven by the needs to address fuel efficiency and emission requirements, and the market demands for lower operational costs, the overall goal of e-Mobility is to have environment-friendly and efficient vehicles that abide by regulatory requirements, and to move away from the traditional use of fossil fuels and oils.

Sulzer US is a proud supporter of BMW of North America and BMW Technology Office USA with a wide variety of projects surrounding e-mobility including Smart Charging, Open Automated Demand Response (OpenADR), fleet view with charging data comparison leveraging innovative and cutting edge technologies.

 

 

One of the e-mobility solutions developed and supported since 2015 by Sulzer US is the ChargeForward app for iOS and Android.  BMW has partnered with the California Energy Commission to fund their research in finding new ways to ensure supply of electricity meets the demand for electricity — managing the EV charging was one way to help manage the energy source.

Sulzer US teamed up with BMW Group Technology Office in a pilot project managing the demand charging process of BMW i all electric cars (BMW i3 at the time) to demonstrate a theory that electric vehicles (EV), via smart charging and demand response, can support the energy grid and can be used as a flexible grid resource.

So how does it work?  The idea behind the ChargeForward program is efficient management and optimization of all e-mobility charging based on energy prices and renewable energy content.  Leveraging BMW’s intelligent software, the detail of the electricity grid is analyzed in determining a charging strategy while prioritizing the drivers’ mobility needs (to improve the environmental attributes of EVs and chances for EV owners to receive compensation from local Utility for providing valuable grid services).

The ChargeForward app serves a critical role in notifying the program participants of Demand Response (DR) events (a program that pays customers to reduce energy consumption during peak demand time), and allowing them to either opt-in (e.g. charge at another time) or opt-out (e.g. charge now) of the event, and view incentives accrued over time from the app.

 

 

Another e-mobility solution provided by Sulzer US is the Fleet View — a web-based portal for fleet operators to monitor fleet vehicles.  A simple user interface coupled with real-time vehicle data, the portal provides the fleet operator an overview of all vehicles out in the field.  All the data is stored and is available for access for data and trend analysis.

Sulzer US will soon be participating in the next phase of the ChargeForward initiative to develop a software that can optimize vehicle charging and home energy storage systems for a larger pool (approximately 400) of customer owned all electric (BMW i3, i8) and plug-in hybrid (BMW iPerformance) vehicles in California!

The system is to be integrated with the BMW software backend to enable optimized charging windows to be sent to vehicles and energy storage systems.  New functionalities and features to be developed include but are not limited to: vehicle charging performance reporting, charging time translator, enhanced customer facing smart phone app, and a customer web portal.

We look forward to the challenge of providing solutions that improve the health and sustainability of the planet.

10 Ways to Enjoy Summer When You Work a 9-5

The sun is shining bright, not a cloud in the sky, people stroll around in their shorts and flip flops and the pool down the road is just waiting for you to jump in! Your social media feed is filling with photos of your colleagues and friends on vacation. And here you are, stuck inside staring at your computer screen, breathing in recirculated air, just watching the second hand on the clock tick to 5.

Summer is officially here and in full bloom, so how do you take advantage of these gorgeous summer days when you still have to work your 9-5? Don’t get stuck in a summer-time rut! Here are a few ways you can avoid the summer blues and take matters into your own hands!

  1. Take your lunch outside

If your company has a picnic table or sitting area outside, grab some of your coworkers and take to the outdoors! You’ll be able to get some rays, breathe fresh air, and escape the office for a little while!

  1. Pack your bags

Keep a bag in your car, equipped with a summer outfit, some flip flops, a beach towel, and sunscreen! This makes it easy for you to make plans and head out as soon as that end of day bell rings!

  1. Organize office events

Not sure what to do this weekend? Get your colleagues together for a fun game of soccer or a destination hike! Head to the park nearby or hit the trails in a neighboring town for a half day adventure. Don’t have enough people to make teams? Invite the office next door, you might spark a little competition or even get a tournament going!

  1. Have a BBQ

Know someone who has a grill? Everyone brings a dish and your best grill master mans the grill as you have the best Summer Friday lunch ever! Socialize, eat great food, and get outside! Whether you’re over at the park or tailgating in the parking lot, nothing says summer more than a good old fashioned BBQ.

  1. Organize a group walk

Is your favorite coffee shop or café nearby? Instead of driving the gang over, organize a walk! You’ll be able to stretch your legs while getting some mid-day exercise! And you might start a new trend!

  1. Change up your playlist

Add some fun summer songs to your playlist! From rock n’ roll to country, or 50’s pop to smooth jazz, whatever your taste is there are great songs to add that can add some pep to your step and inspire summer in the office!

  1. Diversify your lunch break

Take advantage of your lunch hour by bringing lunch so you can save more time during your break to catch up on some reading, take a short walk, or get a quick workout at the gym! Breaking up your day makes the day go by faster and makes you more productive!

  1. Create a summer-friendly schedule

Feel like you don’t have enough daylight when you get home at the end of the day? If you can, come into work an hour earlier so you can leave earlier and enjoy more time in the sun!

  1. Tastes of summer

Keep some fun summer snacks in the fridge for you and your coworkers to enjoy during breaks! Snacks you can grab and go, or enjoy while socializing, such as Italian ices, fresh fruits, or home-made dips. If you have more time, take a trip to the local ice cream shop and it becomes an outing!

  1. Leave work at work

When you clock out for the day, your work should officially end! Don’t blend your work day into your down time by answering calls or emails. You only have a certain amount of hours left in the day when you get out of work, so take advantage of them by totally being engaged in your home life!

 

If you live for summer and wait for it to come around all year, but work a full- time job that may keep you cooped up inside all day, don’t get caught up in your head! Find ways to enjoy your summer while at work! If you maximize and make the best of your vacation days, weekends, and PTO while implementing these small changes to your daily routine, you’ll quickly fall out of your summer-time depression and be happier, healthier, and more productive during the summer days!

 

The Sulzer Squad

George Magharious, iOS Developer

Meet George, our main iOS Developer! In his one year with Sulzer US, George has gained a strong foundation in software engineering while working on many projects that require the constant switching of technologies. He is excitedly looking forward to working on the iPerformance iOS app which will go live on Apple’s App Store! When he’s not working hard with us, he enjoys swimming, hiking, photography, and tennis and hopes to travel to South Africa on an exotic safari!

Meet the Interns

So you’re about to graduate college and you’re looking for a job, but no one will hire you unless you have experience. Sound familiar? This is just one of the many reasons why someone would look to acquire an internship, and who wouldn’t when the benefits are endless!  Today, interns do much more than their stereotypical relatives did years ago. It’s no longer just about making copies, pushing papers, or taking the 2:00 coffee order. Interning today is about gaining real life work experience, not only to make your resume stronger, but also to grow and discover yourself as a professional in the workforce. Here at Sulzer US, we recognize the importance of hiring interns, whether they’re already in the workforce, they want some experience abroad, or they’re about to graduate college!

Currently, Sulzer US has three summer  interns who work full time, including a Java Developer, a Mobile/ Front End Developer, and HR!

Our most recent intern is Mobile/ Front End Developer, Saif, who has been at Sulzer US for about three weeks now! Saif is currently working on the Build Your Own Motorcycle site on our website, for which he fixes bugs, develops and implements small features, and tests.

See the team’s work here: //www.sulzer-us.com/solutions/bmw-motorrad-usa-build-your-own/ 

Why did you want to apply here?

Well, as a Software Engineer, I was looking for a place where I’d be able to apply and hone my skills. And Sulzer was looking for someone that fit my profile in terms of background and skill set.

This is my first experience working at a real tech firm. At my last job, I was the only developer – I built and maintained an iOS app distributed to attendees of an annual event. It had an event schedule, maps of the venue, bios of various speakers, and you could chat with other attendees.

But it’s also pretty nice to work at a company that makes its bread and butter developing software. Working on a team with other developers and support staff is nice, because you can build projects with a wider reach and of larger scale, the company usually adopts the best practices in terms of things like code quality, version control, testing, and automation, and it’s nice having other developers around, to learn from, take advice, or ask questions when Google and Stack Overflow have failed you.

I’ve already had the chance to dive into three or four different projects so far, each built on a different tech stack. And some of the projects I’ve worked on here seem more technically advanced and challenging than anything I’ve built on my own in the past. So I’m excited to learn from each of these projects and make my own contributions.

What is your favorite part about working here?

I really like the work environment. The office atmosphere is very laid-back, the dress code relaxed, and the people are very friendly and fun to be around and work with. I also love that we have an office lunch ordered every Friday, and people love to organize activities outside of work, such as hiking, soccer, and barbecues. Finally, it’s hard to beat a 25-minute commute in your own car.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I play a lot of video games. I like to hang out with friends in the area. I like anything involving food or drinks, whether that means making them myself or going out. Recently, I’ve been taking advantage of the summer weather, so I’ve been either hiking, playing soccer, or at the beach the past few weekends.

What’s the best advice you’ve gotten in your time here so far?

“It’s better to take your time, learn, and do something the right way than to just throw things together and hope it works.”

What are your plans for the future?

At the moment, I’m just trying to soak up as much knowledge as possible, experience things, and challenge myself. But one day in the future, I think I’d like to start my own business of some sort.

 

Mark is our Java Developer Intern who has been here for almost 1 month! Currently he is working on a project that handles accessory data for our Build Your Own configuration, doing front-end VDML bug fixes and developing the back and front-end for the Driving Academy web application.

Why did you want to apply here?

I applied because I was interested in expanding my skills and putting them to use towards something I could see as a direct impact.

What is your favorite part about working here?

My favorite part about working here is how many opportunities I have to learn something new and useful!

What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time I like to bike, go to the gym, hang out with my friends, and of course practice and improve my programming skills on my own.

What’s the best advice you’ve gotten in your time here so far?

“If you want something done right, do it yourself.”

What are your plans for the future?

I’m going to college this summer at Ithaca, and hopefully one day I can start my own company.

 

Our HR intern is Rachael, who has been at Sulzer for almost 2 months! She has taken over recruiting and also maintains company marketing content, including the LinkedIn page. Check us out here: https://www.linkedin.com/company-beta/3855573/

Why did you want to apply here?

As a rising senior in college, I wanted to gain some real work experience before heading out into the “real world”, and when I came across the internship opportunity at Sulzer, I thought it was exactly what I was looking for.  I didn’t know exactly which area of HR I wanted to get into, and Sulzer was offering an HR Generalist Internship which was perfect. I wanted to gain experience that will make me well rounded in HR, and to also help me discover an area that I liked best.

What is your favorite part about working here?

I love the culture here. The flexibility allows me to be independent and take on my own responsibilities, while still having my mentor within reach when I need her. In an environment like this, I always have something to work on and my days are never the same! It has also allowed me to form my internship away from the Generalist role and into a more specific recruiting/marketing role, which is exactly what I had hoped to get out of the internship!

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love any activity that gets me outside! Hiking, fishing, snowboarding, hanging by the lake. I also enjoy working out, and at Rutgers University where I’m currently studying, I teach a workout class called BODYPUMP.

What’s the best advice you’ve gotten in your time here so far?

I feel like everyday I’m given amazing advice, especially by my mentor Lauren. But I think the best advice that has stuck with me throughout this internship so far is “Treat everyone fair, not equal”, which I have discovered to be even more important within a career in HR.

What are your plans for the future?

My short term goals include graduating with two amazing degrees from Rutgers in May of 2018, and from there I’m hoping to land an HR Generalist career where I can sharpen and build upon the skills I learned in this internship, as well as my classes.

 

IT Support Engineer, Lukas transferred from Sulzer GmbH in Munich and encourages the “try and decide” work experience that an internship brings. Like an internship, transferring to Sulzer US has brought on new possibilities, experiences, and growth, as well as learning more about our culture and amazing people!

Given the tight labor market, our interns bring tremendous value and they are not only seen as extra help, but equal counterparts to our full time employees. We look forward to expanding our intern program with hands on experience and providing them with an environment to learn!

The Sulzer Squad

Frank Buch, Project Manager

Meet Frank, formerly Start-Up Manager who is progressing to Project Manager. Frank is an original employee of Sulzer GmbH, but is happy to call Sulzer US his home away from home! One of his biggest hobbies is cars, fitting for a career that allows him to work with new technologies and a variety of challenges within the automotive industry. Frank enjoys having the opportunity to work in a fast-paced environment with such a talented, highly engaged team of people.

Promoting Health and Wellness in the Workplace

Here at Sulzer, we see the importance of taking time to get out of the office and breathe in some fresh air. On an average week, our employees sit inside at their desks for an average of 40-50 hours, and by the time the workday is over, it’s hard to stay motivated to get to the gym or exercise. That’s why we have created a culture of health, incorporating meal choices, monthly water deliveries, and opportunities for outdoor activities into our daily work. It seems crazy to not take advantage of the beautiful area we live in, as a way to bond as a team and to promote health in the workplace, whether its in our home town of Montvale, NJ or exploring nearby towns of Ridgewood, West Milford, or Hewitt!

 

Surprise Lake in Hewitt, NJ, the amazing destination of the Bearfort Ridge Surprise Lake Loop Trail.

 

According to healthyworkinglives.com, “Work related stress, depression, and anxiety form the second most common reasons for work related sickness”. However, according to the World Health Organization, at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week can, “reduce short term reactions to stress and enhance recovery from stressors”. An active work force can result in an abundance of benefits, not only to the employee but also to the organization, including:

  • higher productivity
  • improved staff morale
  • lower staff turnover
  • increased levels of job satisfaction
  • improved sense of well-being
  • less illness with a faster recovery period
  • and fewer industrial injuries (World Health Organization)

 

“The workplace directly influences the physical, mental, economic, and social well-being of workers and in turn the health of their families, communities, and society” (World Health Organization). Sulzer highly recognizes this and in return provides opportunities for employees to bond as a team outside of the office, including pick-up soccer games and destination hikes.

 


Sulzer employees are feeling the benefits of these activities, and say that it helps to bond as a team and to get to know more about each other outside of work. The weekly soccer matches give employees a chance to get out their energy in a fun, competitive environment. Anyone from Support Specialists to Developers to Project Managers, even our President shows up for a friendly game every once in a while. The hikes are a great experience too, giving employees the chance to take things slow and enjoy nature, all the while being fit and exploring. And who would miss the chance to hit the beach and go surfing, even if it’s still the cold season of March! Everyone seems to look forward to the next weekend trip or event!

Not to say that promoting health and wellness in the workplace needs persuading, but the statistics of an unhealthy lifestyle are enough to prove it. Just the costs of poor health can add up quickly. According to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, four of the ten most expensive health conditions for US employers are related to heart disease and stroke. Work related stress is the leading health problem and major occupational risk, productivity losses linked to employees who miss work can cost employers almost $225.8 billion each year, and full time workers who are overweight miss about 450 million more days of work each year.

Hallmark Business Connections highlights some workplace wellness statistics that may surprise you:

  • 50% of the approximately 100 million full time employees in the US are not engaged at work
  • 92% of workers indicate their workplace is more stressful now than it has been in the past 5 years
  • 79% of employees identified as at rick of “job burnout” are also at increased risk of coronary heart disease

 

 

Sulzer also tries to promote health and wellness from inside the company in smaller ways, such as ordering sandwiches for our Summer Friday extended lunches, promoting attendance to local gyms and workout classes after work, or participating in fun sports events such as racquetball, tennis, surfing or more intense Spartan Races. Even on sunny days, we take advantage of the fresh air by holding meetings at our outdoor picnic table. Sulzer employees are constantly looking forward to what activities will come next! Some of our future activities include trips to the beach and weekend camping trips!

 

There are so many ways to encourage health and wellness in the workplace, and to reap all of the benefits. Promoting healthy behaviors, improving employee’s knowledge of health, and providing opportunities for physical activity will show significant improvements to the overall company, and can improve all areas from employee morale to productivity and personal health. Curious to see where else our program takes us? Stay tuned for future posts! : D

 

The Sulzer Squad

Reed Bendian, Support Engineer

Meet Reed, one of our Support Engineers who has been with Sulzer for one and a half years. His favorite part about working here is the variety of tasks and hands on work he is able to do each day. You don’t want to pick a fight with this guy, since boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are his pastimes, along with pursuing his Master’s Degree in Information Technology at Virginia Tech.

The Sulzer Squad

Lauren Linzenberg, HR Generalist

Meet Lauren, HR Generalist and company “go-to”. Lauren has been with Sulzer US for almost a year and a half and her favorite part about working here is the constant support everyone shows for each other, even if it has nothing to do with a specific project. When she’s not tackling all problems people, she’s getting a pump at the gym, reading a good book, studying hard to finish her MBA, or somewhere on a beach.

Sulzer Girls’ Night

The ladies of Sulzer US had a “sippy” night out last Friday, June 23rd at the Uptown Art of Westwood, NJ. Meet, drink, and be happy is the motto of this fun, social activity that provides hands-on art instruction along with paint supplies, canvases, aprons, and all your wine needs for a great time!

Each Uptown Art location has a monthly calendar where you can choose which class you would like to attend, and the painting that will be featured!

BYOB style, you can bring your beer or wine and enjoy a night out with friends! They provide you with bottle openers, glasses, and ice for chilling!    

It was a good bonding experience with my co-workers, I really got to know them better! I was happy it was really step by step so everyone could succeed. I think doing activities outside of work is great for bonding and team building. It also gave me an opportunity to partake in an artsy activity, which I normally wouldn’t do on my own, so that was a bonus!

-Sharon, Developer

 

It was such a fun way to socialize with my coworkers outside of the office! With only four women in the company, it’s great to be able to get together to do something silly and fun with just us.

-Rachael, HR Intern

 

It was a fun and easy way to learn to paint and bond with your colleagues. My favorite part was to sit in a group together paint the same painting, chit chat and sip. Everyone’s painting came out so beautiful and unique.

-Poonam, Sr. Developer

 

I had participated in one of these wine and paint classes once before and it was so much fun! I love the unique bonding that it creates and how everybody’s final painting looks so different but all so good – you can really see each person’s interpretation. The night went off just as I had hoped; filled with laughter, creativity and good company!

-Lauren, HR Generalist

 

Did we inspire you to try it out? Visit their website!

Meet, drink, and paint happy! http://www.uptownart.com/

The Sulzer Squad

Nils Schweizer, Service Manager

Meet Nils, Service Manager and Team Lead. Originally from Sulzer GmbH, Nils came to Sulzer US for two years to aid in the company’s growth. One of his favorite parts of working here is the freedom and flexibility, and as he says “Just do it!”, which is a motto that has become part of our culture! Travelling is his passion, and among his list of prospective places to visit, he hopes to familiarize himself with his second home of New Jersey.