Where Are They Now: How AVTCs Changed One GM Safety Engineer’s Professional Career

This week’s “Where Are They Now” post features Stephen Gurski, a safety engineer in the Powertrain Division at General Motors (GM). At GM, Stephen is working on the launch of the Chevrolet Volt Extended Range Electric Vehicle. In addition to his full-time job, Stephen is serving as the GM Powertrain Lead for Year Three of the current Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition (AVTC) series, EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge.

Stephen received a tribute for his years of AVTC service

Accepting the award

Stephen’s interest in engineering started in 1997 when his roommate invited him to attend a student club meeting. The club was the Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team of Virginia Tech and their task was to convert the 1997 Chevrolet Lumina into a hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle for the FutureCar Challenge. Stephen enjoyed working on cars and agreed to help the team obtain a set of axles for the vehicle, a small but important task. Little did he know that this decision would save his academic hardships and redefine his professional career.

For the next five years, Stephen dedicated his time to building advanced vehicles for the Virginia Tech team. Eventually, Stephen was selected as team lead during his last two years with the team. During those five years at Virginia Tech, Stephen finished his bachelor’s degree and continued on to complete a master’s degree in mechanical engineering.

After graduate school, Stephen landed a job as a technical coordinator and safety engineer for the AVTC program at Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago. Stephen served as both a member and lead technical coordinator for the Argonne team for the finale of FutureTruck and majority of the Challenge X program. In 2007, he transitioned jobs internally at Argonne, becoming a vehicle dynamometer test cell and emissions engineer, which allowed him to evaluate the state of advanced vehicle technology in passenger and medium duty vehicles. Furthermore, Stephen contributed in researching the new EPA window sticker fuel economy labeling standards needed for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

Stephen concluded his employment at Argonne in the summer of 2008, where he transitioned into his current position at GM.

“Had I not chosen to participate in AVTCs as a student, I would not have finished either of my engineering degrees,” he said. “As a result, I’ve helped hundreds of students become world class automotive engineers, and now I’m redefining the future of personal transportation.”