Honda Engineer Embodies ‘Challenging Spirit’

Honda Development and Manufacturing of America (HDMA) Senior Engineer Ed Sandoz has shown the world just how far a challenging spirit can take you.

Sandoz was involved in a motorcycle accident 24 years ago that left him paralyzed from the chest down. At the time, he was working as a mechanic and racing motorcycles as a hobby in his home state of Massachusetts. After the accident, Sandoz went back to school to get a degree in mechanical engineering, and he eventually took a job at Honda in Ohio to continue his passion for cars.

“Growing up, fixing things came easy to me,” said Sandoz. “After my accident, the obvious next step was to go back to school and learn about the science behind the practical application I understood as an automotive technician.  I believe you can accomplish anything you want to, but you must be willing to make the necessary sacrifices. This fits well with a quote I like, ‘Opportunity is sometimes disguised as hard work’.”

As part of the team that developed the second-generation NSX, Sandoz took the opportunity provided by a special program at Honda’s development center allowing associates to pursue passion projects by using Honda systems and tools for a 24-hour period.  His idea was to create hand controls for the latest NSX and drive it.

Sandoz sourced the needed NSX parts and designed the assembly that became the hand control. This included one new part that Sandoz designed, and his Fabrication colleagues made, during the 24-hour period.

To drive it, Sandoz uses one hand for gas and brake and one hand for steering, using a tri-pin to turn the wheel.

The idea worked well, and Sandoz has been noticed. His determination and ingenuity may inspire young engineers as they get a glimpse of the hand-controlled NSX when it goes on display at COSI, the Center for Science and Innovation in Columbus, Ohio.

Leaders in Marysville, Ohio, noticed as well and nominated Sandoz for the COSI STEM Star Award, which recognizes people who do extraordinary work and brings awareness to local scientists who are powering innovation.

Sandoz, who resides in Powell, Ohio with his service dog, Flanagan, a 4-year-old Labrador/Golden mix, was presented the award during the COSI Science Festival May 5-8.

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