Fulfilling a dream and shaping the automotive industry's future


Richard Mortensen

Richard Mortensen.

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Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2018 commencement. Read about more graduates

Richard Mortensen is proud to be accomplishing his goal of earning a degree in engineering, but returning to college and managing his time with a family of four children was challenging.

After working in the industry as an automotive technician, Mortensen wanted to attend his hometown university to earn an engineering degree.

“To me, engineering is about making things better for those around us in our community, our nation, our world,” he said. “By being an engineer, I get to be a part of a team that makes these goals a reality.”

Outside the classroom, Mortensen joined the Arizona State University EcoCAR3 team. The international EcoCAR3 competition tasked university student teams with developing high-tech, environmentally friendly cars. Mortensen applied his automotive industry knowledge as part of ASU’s EcoCAR3 mechanical team, working on the design and layout of high-voltage cabling fixtures on their hybrid Chevy Camaro.

Team projects also taught him to keep an open mind while working with a group.

“There are many ways to accomplish a task or goal, and you might find one that works better than the option you chose,” he said.

Senior Lecturer James Contes was instrumental in Mortensen’s educational journey. Contes showed him there’s always something new to learn even if you know the profession well.

That advice will be important as Mortensen moves into the next phase of his career. He has noticed the automotive and energy industries are rapidly changing and wants to be part of new developments as he moves to search for his next job.

“I want to have the opportunity to be a source of the change we are seeing and be able to provide for my family,” Mortensen said.

Despite the past four years of busy school and family schedules, Mortensen enjoyed getting the chance to spend time with his kids at ASU football games. After graduation, he’s looking forward to having more time and resources to give his children experiences that will help them grow.

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