David Friedman, Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy, recently gave an interview about how his experience as a team member of the FutureCAR Challenge (a predecessor of EcoCAR) has led to his current career. Here are 5 things we learned from the interview.
1. The automotive field is a changing and exciting place to be in right now.
Freidman not only talks about how he’s seen the automotive industry change over the years, but where he sees it heading. He says he expects to see more innovation in the next 10-20 years than we’ve seen in the last 100. Who will be on the frontline of this innovation? We think it will be EcoCAR students who are showcasing their bold new ideas in the innovation swimlane. 2. Having a wide variety of interests could lead to a well-balanced career.
A fun fact we learned from the interview is that Freidman has many hobbies outside of his work, including writing poetry and traveling. One thing that always impresses people about EcoCAR team members are how versatile they are, and this is often a result of the dynamic teams they work on. Collaborating with people from majors as far apart from each other as engineering, business, and graphic design can open your mind and introduce you to new ideas and activities.
Friedman talks about how during his time on the team, he and his teammates’ first attempt at their vehicle control system failed. Like all successful people and teams, that didn’t stop them. They kept trying ideas outside the box, even using Friedman in the driver’s seat to manually tell the vehicle what to do. They ultimately went home with a couple of awards from the final competition, but the biggest reward was the tools he received that served as a springboard to his immensely successful career.
4. Contacts you make in EcoCAR are one of your most valuable assets.
Early in his career, Freidman made contacts whom he continued to see as he worked in different areas of the automotive industry. EcoCAR students often note that building a network is one of the most valuable things they take from the competition. Students who worked on teams have gone on to work together through decades of their career, start businesses together, and create life-long friendships.
5. EcoCAR can give you the tools to go far!
David Freidman is a shining example of success that comes from students in the EcoCAR program. Students from the past nearly 3 decades of DOE’s Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions now work in all areas of the automotive industry, designing the next generation of vehicles and securing America’s energy future. From learning teamwork skills, being able to apply classroom knowledge in a real-world scenario, to networking with sponsors who are the leaders in the automotive industry, EcoCAR is a stepping stone to the future you want to build!
Click here to read the interview with David Freidman.