Alumni Profile: Don Ufford, Ford’s Global Engineer

Alumni Profile: Don Ufford, Ford’s Global Engineer


I was very interested in something mechanical, in automotive/construction/
agricultural equipment. And as I asked
around, a lot of people said, “why don’t
you check out Purdue?” I’d worked on a lot of engines hands-on. I felt really
comfortable about the mechanical side of
them, but I didn’t know much about
acoustics and vibration. And it sounded
really interesting. So I did that, and
went out to Herrick Laboratories, where I did my graduate work, and just had a
wonderful time. I took that work that I
had done, applied it immediately to
noise and vibration work at Ford Motor
Company. The very first vehicle I worked on
was a Lincoln Town Car. From there I’ve
worked on the Taurus, I’ve worked on the
Focus, Escort, Ford Fusion. I’m probably
the most excited about the F-Series
pickup trucks: the F-150, F-250, F-350, F-450s. Those big trucks, they have a lot of
character to them. We sell products
around the world. We sell them in a lot of
markets. We sell in the Middle East and
Africa. I do spend a lot of my time now
in this role, going to those different
regions. Week before last,
I was in Moscow. Shortly after that I was in
the United Kingdom. This year I’ll be out
to the team in India, and down with
Australia, and a couple places in China
and South America. And in all of those
places, our engineers need not only
the fundamental technical knowledge, but they also need the knowledge about cultural awareness
and relationship awareness of working
together with somebody from a different
country with a different perspective. And
it’s important to be able to develop the
ability to build relationships with
people. It’s great if you can participate
in a Study Abroad. I know at Purdue the GEARE
program is quite strong. And/or if you
can’t leave, when people come here to
Purdue, seek those opportunities
to interact with them. Build those
relationships with them. That’s what I’d
encourage. Purdue has a great program and
develops great engineers that can
understand people and put it into
reality.

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