Srikanth Pilla is a man of many degrees — receiving his B.S., M.S., and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering before attending Stanford University to complete his postdoctoral training. He worked as an assistant scientist at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, before coming to Clemson University’s Innovation Campus for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) in 2013, as an Assistant Professor of Automotive Engineering. In addition to his work at Clemson, he serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Renewable Materials, as well as an editor on several other publications and journals focused on renewable materials.
In this interview, Srikanth talks about why he chose to advance his work in South Carolina, at CU-ICAR, his impact on his students, and even his thoughts about what cars of the future will be like.
Srikanth believes innovation is simply about doing things differently. Innovation is less about what you do and more about how you do it. He continues to innovate in the established composites space by applying new approaches and thought processes, like the circular economy concept.
As a professor, he tells his students, "Don't look for opportunities; try to create opportunities." When it comes to innovation, there's no right time. And being "laid back" by waiting for the opportunity to bring your ideas to life will only stall or deter your ambitions and delay advancements in your work or field.
Srikanth was a lead engineer on Deep Orange Concept cars, a project of CU-ICAR – a renowned facility in the automotive research industry. He has applied his circular economy concept to prioritize design without waste and utilize reusable materials. As he looks toward the future of the automobile, Srikanth believes cars will eventually be a mix of repurposed materials and traditional manufacturing. For more notes on innovation visit Scribble online.