Oklahoma City - Oklahoma Christian University School of Engineering has established the Ethan Loyd Leadership Award to be awarded during their annual engineering graduation award banquet.
Loyd's gift for leadership was noticed by faculty members soon after the freshman from Galva, Kansas joined the mechanical engineering program in 2016. His skills as a welder secured him a spot, that is traditionally reserved for seniors, on the Baja SAE team. In Baja SAE, engineering schools throughout the world participate in the annual competition that involves designing and building a car that must withstand grueling tests and potentially hundreds of laps around the rugged courses. Many cars do not withstand the demands of the competition.
The following year, the OC Baja team benefitted from more than Loyd's welding abilities. The prior year's competition experience proved valuable. He knew what worked well and where to improve.
"When I started, OC had recently rejoined the competition process," said Loyd. "I took pictures of other cars, talked with teams from different schools and learned from them. I was able to build a progression of knowledge to help my team."
Loyd credits OC engineering professors with the team's ability to grow into a competitive threat against universities much larger. He even noted OC's small class size as an advantage.
"The professors are all experts in their fields and took time to create personal relationships with the students," said Loyd. "Many of them made huge impacts on me spiritually and academically, as they were intentional with their faith along with their teaching style."
Walk the Talk
Loyd saw his professors 'walk the talk.' They brought industry experience into their teaching. Applying ethics to engineering is not only taught and emphasized at OC, but Loyd saw it lived out in day-to-day decisions.
'Walk the talk' and love for God have been foundational Loyd family principles for generations. Since birth, his parents, Scot and Jenny, have been intentional with helping Ethan develop faith that would be lived out in real life. They emphasized the importance of words matching up with actions, and Loyd's home town, Galva, KS, also exhibited values similar to his family. So, when they visited OC Loyd's senior year, they recognized those same ideals in the OC campus community and Engineering faculty.
When Loyd became the Baja team lead his senior year, he was in a position to manage and motivate others. It was important to inspire and lead all team members with endurance. The project requires hundreds of hours over three semesters to prepare for the competition.
"Ethan was ready to step into the team lead role his senior year," said Professor Dr. David Cassel. "He proposed building our first-ever custom gear box. I tried to be polite, but warned against the high-risk decision. I am now a recovering naysayer!"
'Walk the talk' influenced Loyd's team leadership style. He always showed up ready to get his hands dirty in doing the work. He overcame obstacles by seeking advice from professors who were always ready to help. His reliability and integrity, that began five years ago and continued throughout his time at OC, inspired engineering professors to refer to the time as Ethan's Era.
A model student, Loyd has left OC a better place than he found it. The university intends for his legacy to continue by telling new students about Ethan Loyd who always walked the talk in classes, as a friend, as a Christian and as an invaluable member of the OC Baja SAE team for five years.
The Ethan Loyd Leadership Award is intended to inspire OC students for generations to come. They will always be reminded of the faith and character of the award's namesake by the display of the #36 Baja car with a plaque commemorating Ethan's Era.
"It's such an honor," said Loyd. "It's more than what I've accomplished, it's the team. We are one of the smallest schools who beat some of the top engineering schools in America."
The next time you are near Oklahoma City, go to the Prince Engineering building on the campus of Oklahoma Christian University to see the car that Loyd built and the legacy of leadership that he has left behind.
Loyd earned his bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering and went on to complete a Master of Business Administration degree in project management. He has accepted a job with Meter Engineers in Kechi, Kansas, and he is now engaged to marry OC alumna Katy Patterson from Denver City, TX. The couple met at OC where Patterson graduated from the state's top Gaming and Animation program. She now produces two dimensional drawings and animations for a Department of Defense contractor.