Where Are They Now: Rose-Hulman’s Zack Pieri

Zack Pieri was always fascinated with cars. Some of his earliest childhood memories consist of playing with Tonka trucks in the backyard with his brother.  Even before he was old enough to drive, Pieri talked his dad into letting him rebuild the engine in his well-worn Jeep. Although it took slightly longer than expected, he finished the rebuild the summer before he left for his freshman year at Rose-Hulman.

During his sophomore year in Terre Haute, Pieri got involved in a few extracurricular activities, including meetings to write proposals for the ChallengeX competition. “I thought to myself, ‘Hey, I can work on cars and I’ve got more writing skills than the average bear,’ so I showed up and stuck around to see how things would turn out,” he said. Rose-Hulman was accepted into ChallengeX and Pieri was able to apply the leadership skills he learned playing football at RHIT and earned a position as a team leader by the end of his senior year.

With the help of RHIT’s former ChallengeX mentor, Art McGrew, Pieiri was able to turn the countless hours of work in the shop alongside the rest of RHIT’s ChallengeX team into a full-time position at General Motors as a hybrid powertrain development engineer. “It took some time, but I came to greatly value the technical lessons I learned from ChallengeX. I appreciated the things I learned about working as part of a team of technically skilled and highly motivated people on complex projects to a greater degree.”

Today, Pieri is a hybrid propulsion system diagnostic calibration engineer at GM’s Milford Proving Ground and is the GM mentor to RHIT’s EcoCAR 2 team.  “When I was approached about being RHIT’s mentor for EcoCAR 2, I didn’t even hesitate to accept. I remembered how much I had gained from my time in ChallengeX and the only thing it left me wanting was a way to be a part of the same kind of rewarding experience for a new generation of students,” Pieri said. In addition to his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Rose-Hulman, Pieri received his Master of Science in Energy Systems Engineering from the University of Michigan in December of 2012.

Learn more about what Pieri is doing today at General Motors and his experience as RHIT’s General Motors mentor by watching the video below!