Where Are They Now: University of Waterloo’s Matt Stevens

Matt Stevens first participated in Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTCs) during the Ethanol Vehicle Challenge as a co-op student at the University of Waterloo. He liked it so much that he joined the team for the following competition, Challenge X, as the controls lead and team leader.

“As a chemical engineering student, I really wanted to be involved with the AVTCs because I wanted to work on real world problems with a fantastic team and make a big impact,” he said.

While working on his team’s Challenge X vehicle, Matt and another AVTC alumnus, Chris Mendes, had an idea – is there a way to get paid for this type of work? The answer was simple: they should start their own company – CrossChasm Technologies.

Matt is currently the co-founder and CEO of CrossChasm. He said that the only reason why the company exists is the model-based design skills he learned through AVTCs.

“CrossChasm is trying to take those same model-based design skills and not only help build heavy-duty and off-road vehicles, but also improve the buying and ownership experience for on-road vehicles,” he said.

Three quarters of the CrossChasm team are AVTC alumni. Matt says that the easiest path to joining the CrossChasm family is to be on an AVTC team, because students with AVTC experience tend to walk away with two essential skills: strong teamwork and the ability to execute independently.

Since starting his company, Matt continues to be involved with AVTCs. Not only is CrossChasm a current sponsor of EcoCAR 2, but Matt and other members of the organization are judges at competition.

“I love being able to come back as a judge of the competition and see the products the students have developed and how they’ve grown personally over the first two years of the competition,” he said. He also added that it’s nice to go to the competition and see familiar, friendly faces he’s known for years.

If there’s one thing Matt wants current and prospective AVTC participants to know, it’s to “join the team. AVTCs completely changed my life – I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today without the program and I’m incredibly grateful.”

Learn more about Matt and how his involvement in AVTCs helped him launch his own business: