Reactor Institute hosts event at IVC

Evelyn Caicedo

The Reactor Institute and Irvine Valley College teamed up last week to create an exhibit on innovative transportation products and energy solutions for students.

On Sept. 22 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the IVC Performing Arts Center, the Reactor Institute hosted the Reactor Cafe event to network with entrepreneurial individuals while promoting technologically advanced products for the future.

“The goal for this event is to bring students of all ages from high school and college to meet a lot of local entrepreneurs to learn about careers in energy and transportation,” said Brian Hagerty, the director of the Reactor Institute.

Over 100 high school and college students from around southern California met with the company leaders and learned about their work in the technology industry.

“[The students] heard the personal stories of these inventors, innovators and engineers which were stories that they could relate to,” said Kathy Johnson, the CEO of Vital Link. “We want the kids to feel inspired and go into the fields.”

Keynote speaker Steve Trindade was the first to speak at the event. He founded and is the CEO of Automotive Technology Group, which is a motor sports and vehicle engineering firm in Irvine.

“[The exhibit] gives you an idea on what you really want to focus on in this industry,” said Matias Araya, 23, mechanical engineering. “[Trindade’s] presentation really inspired me to look into a more automotive field. He definitely put things into perspective for me.”

The second to speak was Doug Malewicki who is the founder and inventor of SkyTran, which is a high speed Magnetic-Levitation Train.

“It is so fascinating how this type of technology, [SkyTran], is coming in the future,” said Taylor Jennings, 17 from Hill View High School. “All we need is the right funding to make this happen. Who wouldn’t want to fund this type of project?”

The SkyTran venture is being formulated in full scale on a short track by NASA’s Ames Research Center in northern California, according to the website.

“It seems like both the high school kids and the adults grasped [the speech] pretty well. Even one of the other presenters was really impressed with how SkyTran can improve the world,” Malewicki said. “I guess I could say he was inspired about how SkyTran could solve congestion, pollution and accidents and understood its implications.”

Last to speak was Ira Munn, the Team Leader at Team IKE Aerospace. The company is currently developing products like the Seraph Super Plane, which is a described to be a hybrid diesel-electric plane.

The Seraph Super Plane plans to compete in the NASA Café Green Flight Challenge that will test airplanes to fly 200 miles in less than two hours with one gallon of gas.

After the keynote speakers, the audience changed to a business community and educators began to discuss ways to work together for the students.

Johnson said that they discussed “how the industry and educators can work together to expand the capacity of those programs and develop enrichment for the students.”

Reactor Cafe plans on having an event in the Orange County Fair Grounds in April for any students and adults that are interested in attending.

“The young people who work hard and stay interested in the world around them will have plenty of opportunities to make their own creative contributions,” Malewicki said.

Visit for more information on the exhibits and for career exploration in the fields.