Class Notes Spotlights

By Emma Macmillan
Steve Bellinger

Steve Bellinger (PSYC ’73), Chicago, science fiction author

The Chronocar (Barking Rain Press, 2015) tells the story of the genius son of a slave who earns his physics degree from Tuskegee University and makes plans to construct a time machine but doesn’t have the technology to build it. Fast-forward 100 years later; a black student at Illinois Tech discovers his plans and travels back in time to visit the inventor.

Steve Bellinger says that he wrote The Chronocar because he loves science fiction and wanted to include two aspects in his novel that weren’t present in other science fiction books: an African American as the main character and IIT as a setting to honor his alma mater.

Bellinger is currently working on his second novel, a paranormal love story with some science fiction aspects. “The plot is based on my life but wildly fictionalized,” he says. “The opening scene of the fourth chapter is set at IIT.”

Pattie Piotrowski

Pattie Piotrowski (M.B.A. ’07), Lockport, Ill., vice president/president-elect of the Illinois Library Association

From offering smart phone help for seniors to lap sits for toddlers to teen media education, the public library of the twenty-first-century is busier than ever.

“Libraries are still about building a community and not just about being a community building,” says Pattie Piotrowski, assistant dean for public services at Illinois Tech’s Paul V. Galvin Library.

According to the “State of America’s Libraries Report 2016,” today’s libraries are transformative centers that provide users of all ages with opportunities to learn, create, and share as branches shift resources and services in response to patrons’ digital needs. Galvin is even part makerspace, providing students access to 3-D printers, a button-making machine, and other tools in its Exploration Space.

Such high-tech offerings paired with a “warm, welcoming, and friendly” environment at Galvin Library has contributed to a 3–6 percent gate count increase over the past eight years, Piotrowski notes.

Bryan Tillman

Bryan Tillman (M.B.A., M.S. EMS ’12), Chicago, co-founder of the car-sharing company E-RIVE

What’s E-RIVE about and what makes it different?
E-RIVE is a car-sharing company that focuses on renting cars that are more sustainable, such as hybrids and electric. What makes E-RIVE different is our exclusive partnership with Uber. We are the first and largest electric fleet for Uber drivers.

What kinds of cars does your company feature?
We carry Prius, Camry, and Build Your Dreams (BYD) e6. BYD is the largest electric-vehicle manufacturer in the world that focuses on electric vehicles and some that can be used for taxi, limousine, and Uber-type service as well as electric buses. Our cars are being utilized 75 percent of the time and are driving up to 70,000 miles per year, which would be almost impossible for an individual to achieve.

How did you come up with this idea?
When we looked at sustainable mobility, we saw that there were no electric-vehicle fleets of any substantial size. Additionally, no one had a car-sharing service for Uber drivers.