Where Are They Now: Frank Falcone

 

Falcone (far right) with his SDSU ChallengeX team

Falcone (far right) with his SDSU ChallengeX team

Frank Falcone initially began his career as an assembler at a manufacturing firm, but after realizing he wanted to learn more about engineering and science, Frank decided to go back to school and enrolled at San Diego State University (SDSU) to study mechanical engineering.

Frank was recruited to the school’s ChallengeX team when a fellow student asked him if he wanted to join. “I went to the HEV engineering lab, and there was this little red sports car,” he said. “I dove into the project with all that I had. I knew I had found my niche in the world.” Frank spent four years as the Team Leader in ChallengeX.

One of Frank’s most memorable moments occurred during the second year of the program, when his team was struggling due to a lack of experience. “Many people thought we wouldn’t make it to the next year,” he said, “but our team was dedicated and displayed outstanding teamwork and poise under very stressful circumstances as we overcame breakdowns and other issues. Seeing that final checkmark on the scoreboard was a huge morale booster.”

Frank stuck with Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTCs) even after graduation, serving as a technical coordinator at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL).

“The battery pack design was one of my most notable contributions,” he said. “Working closely with the sponsors helped to add a battery pack design element to the program. This gave students the opportunity to learn in a safe and guided manner, while letting them understand and utilize the new higher performance capabilities of their vehicle systems.”

Frank currently manages vehicle programs and design control systems for Class 8 EV powertrains at Transpower USA. “ChallengeX gave me this path and changed my life forever,” he said. “I get up every day and go to work to do something I would do for fun in my garage on the weekends. I believe in the work I do, and it makes for a very rewarding life.”

Frank adds that he still thinks very highly of AVTCs. “I am confident the program will continue to push boundaries and paradigms.”

Frank (2nd from right) with several EcoCAR teams and former Secretary of State Colin Powell during the 2009 Washington Auto Show

Frank (2nd from right) with several EcoCAR teams and former Secretary of State Colin Powell during the 2009 Washington Auto Show

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