Where Are They Now: FutureTruck’s Dan Bocci

Dan Bocci has been involved with Advance Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTCs) for more than 10 years now. It began back in 2002, when he became a team leader on the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s FutureTruck team, and continued to participate throughout ChallengeX.

“I got involved in AVTCs through a guy I knew in my dorm who joined and kind of overcommitted himself to it. After showing up for a couple days to help him out, I was hooked and showing up on a daily basis,” said Dan.

Dan earned both his Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering and Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from UW-Madison. “As an engineering student, I wanted to be involved in the AVTCs because I’ve always enjoyed a lot of hands on work and it seemed like a great way to learn new things while getting to wrench on a vehicle,” he said.

He noted that his involvement as a student in the AVTCs prepared him for his careers. “It’s through contacts I made as a student that I’ve gotten all of the jobs I’ve had.”

After college, Dan began his professional career at the Argonne National Laboratory, where he worked in the Advanced Powertrain Research Facility for several years.

Currently, he is a software engineer at New Eagle, a mechatronics and embedded controls solutions company. “I get to play with the firmware and writing the software for a variety of automotive applications,” he said. “My favorite part about my job is getting to solve problems – solving problems and figuring out new ways to do something.”

In addition to his job at New Eagle, Dan is still involved with the AVTCs as an electrical safety tech inspector. “My particular area is electrical systems and the high-voltage systems in the cars. It’s been really impressive to see the level of understanding and the execution of some of these teams,” he said.

Dan said that the technology in the competitions have moved ahead light-years from when he was a student. “The students have new challenges to solve, and not only does that push the students but it pushes the organizers from the safety tech perspective, because there’s new challenges to make sure that the students are doing it correctly and safely in their vehicles.”

On top of jumpstarting Dan’s career and giving him the passion and interest for automotive technologies, the AVTCs helped him form significant relationships. In fact, he met his wife through AVTCs. “The friendship, camaraderie and the team atmosphere was really a memorable experience for me,” he said. “There’s still a group of us who get together on an annual basis to go camping or just hang out.”

Dan can perfectly sum up his career and his longstanding involvement with the AVTCs in one sentence, “I love what I do.”