Where Are They Now Wednesdays: UTK’s Courtney Lindwurm

As a child and teenager Courtney Lindwurm spent many weekends and summers helping her dad fix cars in his mechanics shop.  She loved working with her hands, getting dirty, taking things apart, sometimes putting them back together, learning how to build engines, talking mechanics lingo, being the inquisitive child asking questions about everything and mostly, just spending time with her dad.

When she was not working in the shop or visiting car shows or watching her parents race dune buggies off-road, Lindwurm was tagging along with her sister and friends running a neighborhood Kids for Saving the Earth campaign.  It wasn’t until Courtney was a teenager when she realized her passion for cars and the environment were often at odds.  During her sophomore year at Augsburg College she read an article about hybrid electric vehicles and realized the potential of a career in the automotive industry while staying true to her environmental convictions.

After college Lindwurm earned a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Alabama.  While taking classes she wrote her thesis on the differences in fuel economy during vehicle testing on a dynamometer versus on road.  This project was part of a joint venture between the University of Alabama and Argonne National Laboratory.  Through this partnership Courtney was able to spend a summer at Argonne which helped lead her to the University of Tennessee to continue her graduate studies.

While attending the University of Tennessee, Lindwurm had the opportunity to be co-leader of the Challenge X Team.  She also spent a significant amount of time working on the electrical and controls systems of their Parallel-through-the-Road Hybrid Vehicle. Being part of this team gave her the opportunity to experience the General Motors process of developing vehicles and broaden her knowledge of different hybrid systems and how they operate.

Through Challenge X Lindwurm spent a summer in General Motors’ hybrid group as an intern.  During the summer she performed in-vehicle battery testing for the GM’s mild hybrid system.  Lindwurm also had many conversations with various people at GM in the areas of vehicle development and research.  This helped refine her dreams of working in the automotive industry to working on the validation of vehicles.  With this newfound ambition, Lindwurm applied for and accepted a job as a Hybrid Vehicle Electrical Development and Validation Engineer.

Lindwurm spent the first few years of her career at GM validating the 12V electrical systems of Saturn Vue mild hybrids and Buick LaCrosse E-Assist hybrids.

She has spent the past year in Kansas City as the Electrical Issues and Resolutions engineer for the launch team of new Chevrolet Malibu. In this role she helps ensure electrical systems are correctly designed and built to ensure every customer gets the best vehicle possible.

Her time at the University of Tennessee as part of the Challenge X team gave her a good foundation to understand and embrace hybrids and other alternative vehicles that will continue to inspire her throughout her career in the automotive industry.