Tesla owners display vehicles on Milford Campus

Dan Pickerill talks to Milford Campus students, faculty and staff about his Tesla.
John Hao, the son of Tesla owner Dr. Zijun Hao of Lincoln, talks about his Tesla experience with Milford Campus students, faculty and staff.

What began as an invitation to be a guest speaker for a class turned into a show-and-tell on the Milford Campus of Southeast Community College.

Business instructors Chelsea Reese and Janet Scott teach Introduction to Sustainability each fall (and Reese teaches it online during the Winter Quarter), and both attended last month's Sustainable Living Festival in Lincoln.

At the event, Reese met several Tesla owners, including Dan Pickerill, chief executive officer of Digitec Inc. in Milford, and Dr. Zijun Hao of the Lincoln Surgical Group.

"It started out as an invitation to speak to the five classes I teach this quarter on the Milford Campus and the upcoming class in the fall in Lincoln," Reese said. "Interest blew up quickly after I mentioned the potential visit to my students and a couple colleagues."

Reese pitched the idea of getting the automotive programs on the Milford Campus involved in the Sept. 2 visit. She sent an email to program chairs and deans on Aug. 28. By the afternoon of Aug. 30, Reese had interest from more than 250 students, faculty and staff.

"More requests to send students kept coming in right up to the last session," she said. "I guess you could say my 'show and share' went viral!"

SCC President Dr. Paul Illich and his wife Gail also were on campus to get a close look at the vehicles.

Pickerill and John Hao, son of Dr. Hao, shared their experiences with the cars, specifications of the respective vehicles, past and future Tesla business plans, and the importance and relevance of the technology behind the vehicles.

"Obviously, there is more to purchasing a Tesla than gas savings," Reese said. Each car retailed for around $110,000.

Reese provided students with specifications for the Model S, as well as an emailed copy of the glossy brochure.

"Technology behind sustainable options fascinates me," Reese said. "I was overwhelmed that my side interests were so well received by the Milford Campus. I've had some really great conversations with colleagues about what their industries are doing to further efforts to become more environmentally friendly. I find interdisciplinary collaboration very important. It is support, feedback and participation like what I saw that really allows me to enjoy what I do."

Tesla Motors was founded in 2003 by a group of engineers in California's Silicon Valley who wanted to prove that electric cars could be better than gasoline-powered cars. The Tesla Roadster debuted in 2008. Four years later Tesla launched Model S, the world's first premium electric sedan. The automaker now has more than 50,000 vehicles on the road worldwide.


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Stu Osterthun
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