Where Are They Now: Methanol Marathon’s Tord Dennis

Tord Dennis began his journey with the Advance Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTCs) back in 1988 in the Methanol Marathon.

He joined his first AVTC because it was a special topics project at West Virginia University (WVU). “I was interested in getting out of the classroom and doing a hands-on project. I saw in this project the potential to help drive the technology of the future,” he said. Tord graduated from WVU with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at the end of Methanol Marathon.

West Virginia Univeristy's Methanol Marathon vehicle in 1989

West Virginia Univeristy’s Methanol Marathon vehicle in 1989

Tord designed the cold start mechanism for WVU’s vehicle in Methanol Marathon. “I also did other jobs because we had to replace many standard gasoline components – such as parts of the fuel system, tank, injectors – with special ones that could tolerate the rigors of M85 fuel,” he said.

Tord went on to work at GE as an Application Design Engineer for a few years before realizing he wanted to further his education. He attended Georgia Institute of Technology, where he obtained his Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA. During this time, he also taught CAD and PLM for the Mechanical Engineering department and researched Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) for the Department of Defense (DoD).

After his master’s, Tord went on to work for Siemens PLM, an EcoCAR 2 sponsor, for nearly eight years. Tord was the Product Manager for Siemens PLM Software’s sustainability and environmental compliance solution. “As a subject matter expert, I worked with customers to define and solve their sustainability business initiatives,” he said.

Tord (right) at a vehicle event for Siemens

Tord (right) at a vehicle event for Siemens

Today, Tord works as a Practice Leader and environmental consultant at WSP Environment and Energy.

Tord said that being a part of AVTCs helped him develop the hands-on experience and problem solving skills he needed to show potential employers during job interviews.  He also added that he recommends AVTCs to students looking to get into the automotive industry.

“I think it is a fantastic place from young engineers and others who want to shape the future and give something positive back to future generations.”