Where Are They Now: University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Kevin Stutenberg

University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) alumnus Kevin Stutenberg began his journey with the Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTCs) in 2005 as a member of UW-Madison’s Challenge X team while he was working on his mechanical engineering degree.

A self-proclaimed gearhead, Kevin said his passion for mechanical engineering was sparked from an early age from wrenching on dirt bikes.  The need for bike parts naturally led him to working at a motorcycle salvage yard. “I spent a lot of time at the junkyard working on the different bikes and fixing them up, and that led me into hands-on experience in working on cars,” he said.

Kevin says that the late nights in the garage with the people on his team were his favorite aspect of the AVTCs. “It’s the people who are around you. You have a common goal and you learn to enjoy other people’s quirks and experiences and come together as a team,” he said.

After college, Kevin began working at a non-profit organization as a design engineer in research and development. “Since I had designed components in Challenge X, I was able to directly transfer the knowledge I had into my job from the day that I started,” he said.

Kevin is currently a vehicle test engineer at Argonne National Laboratory in the Advanced Powertrain Research Facility. A “normal” day for him is very diverse, but Kevin said that he spends time in both the office going through data and in a test cell, where he evaluates vehicles on a dynamometer – a device that accurately measures how much energy a vehicle consumes.

Today, Kevin is involved with EcoCAR 2 as a mechanical safety inspector. He wanted to get re-involved with the AVTCs because he wanted to be able to give back some of the experiences that he had as a student. All of the teams do a great job improving their vehicles. “I’m amazed by how much progress can be made in just a short period of time,” he said.

Kevin recommends AVTCs to anyone looking to gain hands-on experience in the engineering world. “It’s a great learning experience,” Kevin explained. “When it comes to an engineer really figuring out how things work in the real world, there’s not much that beats the hands-on experience that AVTCs offer.”

Learn more about how Kevin’s career was boosted by the AVTC program: