DENSO announced it is sponsoring the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition’s EcoCAR Mobility Challenge.
EcoCAR is a four-year collegiate engineering competition that aims to be the ultimate training ground for future leaders in the automotive industry.
DENSO’s sponsorship, which includes $300,000 in monetary and in-kind donations such as components and mentorship, will benefit 12 university teams as they compete to make 2019 Chevrolet Blazers as energy-efficient as possible, the company said. The student-led teams will do so by developing advanced propulsion systems, electrified technology and SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) Level 2 automation and connected solutions for their vehicles.
This is the second time DENSO has sponsored a full four-year cycle of the Challenge.
Through its work with EcoCAR, DENSO is able to help develop the automotive workforce of tomorrow, identify top talent who can advance its mission to reshape mobility, and advance its Long-Term Policy 2030, which includes creating innovative solutions that contribute to a greener, more sustainable society, the company noted.
“To support EcoCAR is to support the future of automotive. And the future, especially as it relates to technology, sustainability and workforce development, is incredibly important to us,” said Jim Harkins, director of Electrified Systems Engineering Division, DENSO. “Transportation is changing rapidly. This event offers the perfect opportunity for students to experience that change first-hand. It’s also a shining example of how industry stakeholders, from automakers to suppliers to aspiring engineers, can tackle complex issues like energy efficiency together.”
Since university teams come from across the country, EcoCAR also affords DENSO the opportunity to connect with and attract a broadened pool of potential new hires. DENSO has hired four employees who previously were student competitors in the Challenge, according to the company.
One such employee is Emily Arnold, an application engineer for battery-electric vehicle inverters who started at DENSO’s North American headquarters in Southfield, Michigan, last July. Arnold hails from Northern California and attended Arizona State University. She says EcoCAR prepared her for her current position by helping her appreciate the many roles people take on in the workplace.
“During EcoCAR, I managed the schematic development for our team, meaning I helped ensure we had organization and continuity across our focus areas,” said Arnold. “That experience helps me every day as I work with customers and internal teams to ensure we hit project deadlines and meet customer requirements.”
Matthew Bergman, a program coordinator at DENSO who also joined the company last year through EcoCAR, is from New Jersey and attended West Virginia University while competing. He says the challenge was instrumental in helping him land a rewarding job with an employer who catered to his career goals, a top priority at DENSO to provide to its employees.
“EcoCAR allowed me to explore different roles I might want to pursue in the automotive industry,” said Bergman. “I quickly became passionate about project management, and while that typically isn’t an entry-level role, DENSO recognized that’s where my skills lie and gave me the opportunity to pursue it. I’m glad I get to be part of an environment where your career aspirations are heard and encouraged.”
For more information about the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge, click here. For those interested in learning more about DENSO internships, co-ops and other opportunities for young professionals, go to densocareers.com.