Where Are They Now: UC-Davis’ Tom Bradley

Tom Bradley has had a long history with Advance Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTCs). It all started back in 1999, when he was the mechanical group leader on the University of California-Davis team during FutureCar, and continued through 2000-2001 during FutureTruck. After years off from AVTCs, Tom, as a faculty member at Colorado State University (CSU), decided to get a team together and apply for EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future. After getting accepted into the program, he became lead faculty advisor for the CSU EcoCAR 2 team.

During the EcoCAR 2 Year Two Competition this past May, Tom was awarded the National Science Foundation Outstanding Incoming Faculty Advisor Award for his dedication to the program and his enthusiasm for teaching.

“I have to make sure that we give a lot of credit to the students. The award and whatever success we have in this AVTC program is due to the work of the students,” he said. “They’ve been working really hard and all the things that you see are student ideas that are implemented in these cars. This is really their award, and I’m honored to receive it, but the product that you see is due to the students’ labor. I’m very proud of that.” Earlier this year, Tom also received the Ralph R. Teetor educational award from the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) for excellence in engineering education, an award given out to young professors every year.

Tom said that CSU’s involvement with AVTCs has been highly beneficial for students. He said that the team wasn’t necessarily focused on raking in all the points, but instead was concentrating on effectively demonstrating the vehicle. “I think it’s been really successful for us that we are now training students that are going out into the industry. It’s been really a great experience to be able to understand what’s going on in a modern, industrial setting. We’re able to take that, bring it to the classroom, bring it to the students and they go out into the workforce with these great new skills,” he said.

Above all else, it’s obvious that Tom is proud of the work his students accomplish. “What you see in the vehicle is the realization of their hard work. As they go off into their careers, they should feel empowered off the base of the work that they’ve done to innovate and do great things,” he said.

Tom also notes that the AVTCs were a great experience for him, and he urges students to join. “I think it’s a really great way for students to be able to launch their careers in engineering and technology and in management.”

Watch Tom’s AVTC journey over the years – from student to advisor!