Angela Cosner ’12 has always had an interest in cars. Restoring them, fixing them, casually driving them. But co-piloting them in rally races? That’s a whole different story.
Angela, a mechanical engineering major from Springville, Penn., is the founder and owner of Cosner Co-Piloting, a business she started at Clarkson during her junior year at Clarkson. With Cosner Co-Piloting, Angela is a professional stage rally co-driver, the navigator on a team that reads the description of the stage (road) while racing against the clock.
It’s a sport where most co-drivers are not prominently marketed in the rally racing world. Angela is trying to change that, and she’s seeing success. Within a year, she competed in a number of rally races across North America and even in the Caribbean, paved the way for other co-pilots to market themselves more effectively, and positioned her company to become only more successful in the future.
Cosner Co-Piloting was created when Angela worked with Clarkson’s Shipley Center for Innovation, Deputy Director Matt Draper helped Angela has create a long-range business plan for her company and gain some preliminary sponsorship to keep her personal costs down.
“With the Shipley Center’s help, I was in a strange new world, the business world, learning about how to run a business,” she says. “I became a business owner and I’ve already reached a few of the goals I set for myself and my business.”
And to think, Angela had almost no experience with cars and business until a couple of years ago. During her sophomore year at Clarkson, she found herself at a Clarkson Sports Car Club meeting. At that meeting, the club decided to volunteer at an upcoming rally at Black River Stages in nearby Harrisville, N.Y. After attending the event, Angela started volunteering at more and more vents and she knew she had to try her hand at competing herself.
Angela’s first event took place in Canada in August 2010, where she won her class and took fourth overall. She says, “Seeing my success in that first race, I was hooked and I watched my passion slowly grow from there.”
She even found a place for her mechanical engineering background in co-piloting. “My Clarkson education has benefitted me very well while racing and training. On numerous occasions, my engineering mindset has aided me during races in the form of temporary mechanical fixes,” she explains.
Now, with many races under her seatbelt, Angela plans to make co-piloting her full-time career after graduation. “My career goals right now are all focused on co-driving. I want to become a co-driver on a factory team competing in the World Rally Championship and open a rally school featuring a focus on co-driving.”