Where Are They Now: Cal State-LA’s David Schmitt

Former Cal State-Los Angeles team member David Schmitt shares his life changing experience with EcoCAR 2 and how this part of his college career prepared him to work for the big league name company he always dreamed of: General Motors (GM).

David, 2nd from left, with the Cal State-LA team during Year Two of EcoCAR 2

Schmitt reminisces about his time in EcoCAR by stating: “I started on the team for my undergrad senior design project in the first year of the competition.  We struggled at first, but after a little hard work and some sleepless nights we ended the first year poised to strike.  I stayed involved in the project during my masters as the co-lead of the mechanical team.”

What started off as a senior design project, finalized in being Schmitt’s inspiration and learning ground to work as a calibration specialist for the Calibration Verification group in GM Powertrain.

How was EcoCAR able to do this for David? “EcoCAR 2 not only taught me how to use the tools and software that I use in my everyday duties on the job, but the culture and values at GM.”

As an engineer, learning how to use tools and mechanisms can be easily done through reading, but building respect for an entire engineering practice and society can only be done through self learning, practice, and determination.

The love he built for engineering, with the help of EcoCAR, helps Schmitt accomplish many of his duties at GM, which include FMVSS124 (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard) and ETC (Electronic Throttle Control) testing that will help “reduce deaths and injuries resulting from engine over speed caused by malfunctions in the accelerator control system.”

Not only is he living his dream by working for GM, but David is also enjoying his location change from California and is experiencing the Michigan lifestyle. “Detroit is a great city and vastly underrated. Michigan is beautiful and has a ton of activities all year, from boating on the lakes in the summer to snowboarding in the mountains during the winter, there is something for everyone.” Schmitt continues, “The biggest obstacle was figuring out what the white stuff falling from the sky was. Turns out its just snow, and its cold!”

A self-proclaimed ‘big kid playing with toy cars,’ Schmitt has a message for upcoming engineers.“It’s all about attitude and drive. Never give up, work hard, and always follow your dreams. It might be hard, but it will pay off in the long run. Keep your head up and stay focused because success is right around the corner.”


Written by former Cal State-LA Communication Manager, Kortnee Smith