Fastlane

September 23, 2009

Tony: Teaming Up for Game-Changing Solution

Me at age 8. Man I loved that calculator watch!

Me at age 8. Man I loved that calculator watch!

Tony Argote, Jr.: Design Release Engineer
Confessions of a techno-phile: I’m into all techno-gadgets and have owned most of them – palm pilots, portable gaming devices – I even owned a calculator watch as a kid.
Trendsetter: I was part of the first robotics team at Miami Coral Park Senior High School in Miami, Fl. GO Ram Tech 59.
Early innovator: I built a two-story house equipped with an elevator out of Legos with my brother when we were kids.

I’m competitive and I love to win. Growing up, my brother and I would always compete to build the “next coolest thing” out of Legos.  That’s what drew me to engineering. It’s like a competition – ingenuity and hard work mixed with a great game plan lead you to victory. So when it came time to choose a career it was no surprise I chose mechanical engineering.
Tony, his mom Barbara, and brother Christopher at Georgia Tech.

As a student at Georgia Tech I was selected for a co-op position with GM. I made a great connection with my teammates and got to experience firsthand everything from program content decision making, to assembly process, fuel economy, and component testing.  I got to work with some of the best engineers in the business, and earned a great appreciation for all the work that goes into making world-class product.

Today I’m part of a new team; one I believe will definitely be a game changer. I work on the Chevrolet Volt.  This is an amazing time for GM and the automotive industry as a whole. From my perspective, being a part of GM’s reinvention and a chance to work on the electrification of the automobile are two of the greatest opportunities I could imagine. (For more on Tony’s work, please watch the video.)

But there’s a bonus. I, along with some of my fellow GM-ers, am embarking on a journey to create a nonprofit organization to “build a house, inspire a mind, and change the world.”  We created a game plan based on several integrated ideas – affordable housing, sustainable “green” living, and student mentorship.

Green Place Detroit – the name of our organization – is working to create a program that will connect high school and middle school students with engineers, architects, teachers, and volunteers, all focused on building a house out of recycled shipping containers. No… really… ACTUAL recycled shipping containers like the ones you see being loaded onto huge freighters. Sounds crazy, I know, but some developers are already doing it – there’s even a Travelodge built from shipping containers in the U.K.

This is an opportunity for me to give back to the community, to mentor/ coach a new generation.  At times, it’s a stretch and a challenge to keep up with my volunteer commitments, but the sacrifice is worth it all when you see the impact in the lives of others.  Plus teaming up to make the environment and the world we live in a little better makes the reward is even greater.  And that’s quite a victory!

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