He learned ropes in the garage

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - - Classified Obituaries -

them for one goal.

“For a pretty an­a­lyt­i­cal guy, [the suc­cess­ful demon­stra­tion] was pretty emo­tional mo­ment … that shared ex­pe­ri­ence ev­ery­one has at the same time.”

Now that Hyperloop has proven its con­cept works, Mr. Giegel said, the next steps are to con­tinue refin­ing and sim­pli­fy­ing the tech­nol­ogy so that it is prac­ti­cal and af­ford­able. He’s con­vinced ad­vances in man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­nol­ogy and elec­tron­ics will al­low that to hap­pen quickly so the com­pany can reach its five-year goal.

“That’s the bil­lion-dol­lar ques­tion,” he said. “We’re build­ing the air­plane, the air­port, the run­way and the sky all at once. I think we can build a Fer­rari for the price of an Audi.”

Mr. Giegel said he’s happy to see his home area is part of the Mid­west Con­nec­tion pro­posal that’s mov­ing for­ward. He’s from a fam­ily of huge hockey fans and when they at­tended a Pen­guins play­off game in Colum­bus last spring, he dreamed that mak­ing the trip in a hyperloop in about 15 min­utes would al­low Pitts­burgh fans to fill Na­tion­wide Arena.

“The more we started look­ing at the con­nec­tion be­tween th­ese three cities, the more we started to see how it makes sense,” he said. “You take two in­dus­trial cities (Pitts­burgh and Colum­bus) and a money city (Chicago) and put in the Hyperloop to con­nect them in a half hour, those three ef­fec­tively be­come one mega-city.

He’s also no­ticed a change in West­ern Penn­syl­va­nia. When he left in 2003, many of his friends and class­mates were leav­ing, too, but many have started re­turn­ing with the emerg­ing high-tech econ­omy, he said.

That brings him back to the lessons he learned grow­ing up in an engi­neer­ing fam­ily and work­ing in the garage with his father, where he was amazed at how much his father knew about ve­hi­cles. When he reached mid­dle school, Mr. Giegel re­al­ized his father re­ally didn’t “know” that much but used his cu­rios­ity as an en­gi­neer to try things un­til he found some­thing that worked.

Fam­ily va­ca­tions were usu­ally two-week trips that in­evitably ended up vis­it­ing a sci­ence mu­seum along the way. He pokes fun at him­self and his wife, Stephanie, also an en­gi­neer, by telling the story of their wed­ding night spent in bed look­ing at a live engi­neer­ing feat on a lap­top.

It’s all part of what led him to have what Hyperloop calls an “un­matched back­ground in ther­mo­dy­nam­ics, heat trans­fer, com­press­ible fluid me­chan­ics, power cy­cles, tur­bo­ma­chin­ery, and non­lin­ear struc­tural anal­y­sis.”

“If ever there’s a fish in wa­ter, it’s me,” he said of be­ing in­volved in de­vel­op­ing rev­o­lu­tion­ary tech­nol­ogy.

“One of the things [my father] taught me was the only thing stand­ing be­tween you and what you want to do is you.”

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