Chad Furey (EE ’12) landed his dream job as an electrical engineer with Tesla Motors in Palo Alto, Calif., after he graduated, and credits his participation on the Solar Vehicle Project team. “I would not be here if it wasn’t for the solar car,” Furey said.

Furey says his grades were “OK but not great” when he was an undergraduate in the University’s electrical engineering program. Nevertheless, due to his experience with the solar vehicle team, his phone interview with Tesla lasted just five minutes.

“Right away, they told me, ‘Yes, we want you. We’ll figure out the rest once you get here,’” he said.

During his time at the University, Furey developed a permanent magnet motor for the solar car, increasing efficiency by 10 percent with minimal cost. Today, he brings that expertise to his motor design projects at Tesla, where he specializes in power density and efficiency.

“The solar car was where I learned how things actually work,” says Furey. He feels his involvement in the project made him a better student, too, because the lectures related to real-world problems he was trying to solve outside of class.

“I believe my success has been driven by my experience with the solar vehicle project and the classes I took in CSE. I received a very nice financial package to help me through college. Now, I feel it’s my responsibility to help my successors,” said Furey. “I spent many hours raising money for the solar vehicle project, and we put our hearts into making those pennies go far.”

“With my gift, I know the SVP team can make my money stretch 10 times further than I can, and I know that the people who come out of that program understand how things work—and how to work with people,” he added.