This past November, Joey Krebs (MBA ’11), had the chance of a lifetime to participate in one of the longest off-road endurances races. Krebs is an engineer at Oshkosh Corp, who put two of its vehicles to the ultimate test by racing in the 43rd Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, an off-road endurance race held on Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula. This point-to-point race, roughly the equivalent of driving from Oshkosh, Wis. to Denver, tests every element of a vehicle on the rough terrain. Krebs not only worked on one of the vehicles, but also got the chance to go along for the 1,061-mile ride and experience the excitement firsthand.
Throughout the race, Krebs was part of the pit crew, comprised primarily of engineers and designers who worked on designs for the trucks, following the trucks during the race. They spent hours driving on the hilly roads and passing through military checkpoints between pit stops setup along the peninsula. The pit crew was constantly awaiting word about the truck’s progress and preparing for anything on the truck that needed to be repaired. It was a high stress and often sleepless environment, but it gave Krebs and the other crewmembers the chance to see their designs come to fruition and be put to the test.
“Going through an experience like this and seeing our vehicle finish the race was very rewarding. And spending three days with no sleep in a high stress environment, after the difficult task of designing this vehicle, was very valuable to the design team and will only help improve our relationships and improve how well we work together and collaborate on the design to make future vehicles even more of a success,” Krebs said.
Oshkosh Corp. manufactures vehicles for the U.S. military, fire and emergency, concrete placement and refuse hauling. This is the first time that Oshkosh Corp. has participated in the Baja 1000. The Baja 1000 is actually just one part of a series of several other races for other types of vehicles including motorcycles, production vehicles, buggies, trucks, stock Volkswagen vehicles and custom created vehicles that started in 1967. The Oshkosh Vehicles were part of the M class, which was a new class for this year’s Baja.
Krebs is currently a mechanical engineer in the Chassis Sub Systems Department of Oshkosh Defense. He is responsible for creating logic, selecting and integrating components, and managing the sub system design for multiple vehicle designs. In addition to his fulltime position, Krebs has been working on his MBA at UW Oshkosh.
There was an extensive amount of travel involved, especially as race week approached. Krebs spent four days in California and seven days in Mexico for the race, in addition to a week in California one month prior to the race. Throughout all of the travel, he was still able to complete his MBA work.
Krebs was taking six credits during the fall semester. He said that during race week, “homework time was a luxury.” This is not the first time Krebs has traveled for work and overall, professors have been very understanding. He brings his homework with him and works on it during free time while traveling.
Keeping the balance of a fulltime engineering position with Oshkosh Corp. and pursuing an MBA isn’t always easy, but in cases where the experience is so unique, like the Baja 1000, somehow everything gets done.
“The experience as a whole is almost inexplicable unless you were part of it. All of the hours spent designing, building and testing these vehicles and finally having it perform in a race like the Baja 1000 is something very special to participate in. The Baja race itself was just part of the whole experience and the culmination of a lot of hard work from a lot of great and dedicated people.