Four engineers have joined Volkswagen in Chattanooga as part of the company's global Future Electronic Engineer Program and eventually support the startup phase of a new generation of full-electric vehicles.
The first four team members hired in Chattanooga for FEEP are Howard Aleshire, Phillip Brackett, Ramon Sandoval Plascencia and Bradley Romero.
The four will participate in on-the-job training with Volkswagen experts in Wolfsburg, Germany, for six months to one year. Nearly 100 engineers from around the world will participate in this three-year program. Two additional engineers are currently being sought to join the team.
"These team members will help to create the high-tech vehicles of tomorrow," said Nicole Koesling, Volkswagen Chattanooga senior vice president human resources.
FEEP is a new training program, initiated by the Volkswagen brand pilot hall in Wolfsburg. Plants in China, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and the U.S. are participating.
Aleshire, who graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a bachelor's degree in computer science, said electric and self-driving vehicles are the future of the automotive industry.
"That is very interesting to me," he said.
Brackett is a native of Cleveland, Tennessee. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in engineering technology from Tennessee Tech University and is a graduate of the 2+2 program, which is a workforce development partnership between Tennessee Tech, VW and Chattanooga State Community College.
"I really enjoy working with electrical systems," said Brackett.
Plascencia graduated from Tennessee Tech with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering.
"I had seen an article about Volkswagen's vision for the future, and that's what got me interested in the company," he said.
Romero is a graduate of Southern Adventist University and holds a bachelor's degree in computer science embedded systems.
"I grew up around cars with a family of mechanics," said Romero.
Jan van Gerpen, senior manager in Volkswagen Chattanooga's pilot hall in the electric/electronic area, said the team members will become light houses.
"They will be certified top experts with Volkswagen, and will help us to be at the top of electric cars and new products," he said.
Those interested in applying may apply online: www.vwjobschattanooga.com. Candidates considered will have an advanced degree in electrical and/or computer engineering or computer science from December 2016 or later. Applicants should be flexible to travel internationally for an extended period.