Where Are They Now: Wisconsin’s Matt Simonini

Matt Simonini, a former Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition (AVTC) student, recalls that his experiences on the University of Wisconsin’s ChallengeX and FutureTruck teams were beneficial for his current career path.

Serving as the drivetrain group leader for his team, Matt said that his experiences helped put him in touch with the industry and gave him an understanding of how things work in the real world. “They also taught me how to work well with a group of people and come up with a good solution and work together to complete solution,” he said.

After he graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison, Matt got a job working as a controls engineer with General Motors. Then he moved into his current role at EcoCAR 2 sponsor Proterra as a Powertrain Controls Engineer. He writes and validates software that controls the traction motor and transmission to drive all-electric busses. “What I like about my current job is that I get to see the fruits of my labor and the end result and it’s good to have that in my job,” he said.

Matt said that AVTCs taught him things that he would not have learned inside the classroom. “I learned so much more by getting my hands dirty and failing a bunch of times,” he said. “From those failures, I was able to say, ‘Yes, I made a product and it worked really well in the end.’”

Matt has noticed that the AVTC program has come a long way since his involvement. “It was a great competition when I was a part of it but over the past couple of years its gotten even better and it’s amazing how big it’s gotten and how much more involved it is in the business side of things. They’re really stepping up their game.”