Alumni

Dylan Godinez

  • Engineering & Industrial Design Technology

He's on the fast track for career success–literally. Just a few months after graduating from Penn College, Dylan landed his dream job as a design engineer at The Garage Shop in Denver, North Carolina where he designed front and rear suspension brackets for a Ford Roadster that topped 200 mph in a sanctioned land speed race.

 

Dylan Godinez
TAKING THE LEAD

Q&A with Dylan

HOW DID YOU BECOME INTERESTED IN MOTORSPORTS?

That came from my dad. He was all kinds of crazy about NASCAR back in the early 2000’s. I remember watching races on TV with him and I thought it was cool. It burned gas and went fast. I always wanted to be a part of it. He took me to my first race. He reached an age where, financially, he wasn't able to give himself a career in racing, but he wanted to try to set me up the best he could. So he and my mom did everything that they could to help me get through school and put me in front of the right people. And they both helped me out a great deal with working toward what I wanted to do.

YOU WENT TO A LOT OF NASCAR RACES GROWING UP?

Yes, I've been to a lot. I still go to a lot, even more now that I'm living down in North Carolina, which is race central. But it's not just NASCAR. What I really admire with motorsports is the will to win and the amount of sacrifice that the average individual can put in. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things is something that I really admire.

IN HIGH SCHOOL, DID YOU CONSIDER BEING A MECHANIC OR GOING INTO COLLISION REPAIR?

It was always a possibility. I knew I wanted to end up working with cars. I was very good at engineering from a young age. My parents noticed my skills playing with Legos as a kid. And they would see these structures that I would build with Minecraft and how I understood how things went together. It was geometry to me. I was really good with geometry and simple mathematics. They saw what I was able to do with my mind and create these structures. I just wanted to get into something with automotive. Even though there are so many different kinds of engineering, I knew about race cars and road cars, so I wanted to do some kind of engineering with them.

CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE GARAGE SHOP WHERE YOU WORK?

We're basically performance fabrication. We don't really do just one thing, but we do specialize in land speed racing. We've converted anything from NASCAR Cup cars to straight-up rat rods. We take a car off the street and modify it to do a high-speed pass. We just made the Roadsters, which were a ground-up build, starting with just the body.

WHAT'S A TYPICAL DAY LIKE FOR YOU?

We’re working on a Streamliner project right now that's going to attempt 400 miles per hour at Bonneville. That project isn't expected to be done until this coming summer. Usually, I'll come in and get right to work using SolidWorks. So, I'll do some drawings or some modeling. Half the time it'll be little projects. We have all kinds of stuff going on. Sometimes the fab shop will be doing something on the car, and we'll need a new bracket. So, I'll design it and we'll either get it laser cut down the street, or we'll cut it here and put it on the car on the same day. Our turnaround is really, really quick.

DOES THE GARAGE SHOP FOCUS ON NASCAR RACE CARS?

We do have NASCAR race cars in our inventory. We have a few across the street and two in our shop right now. Both are private owners. It's kind of a custom shop for cool toys. We have customers just like every other business does. But ours have race cars instead of road cars. We've done work for NASCAR, Formula One, and the Miami Grand Prix. We built all the fire trucks for the Miami Grand Prix. NASCAR is having us do something along the lines of fire trucks again. I guess we are really good at fabricating fire trucks.

CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT THE STREAMLINER?

I’m working on a Streamliner trailer. It can't turn and maneuver like a regular car because it's over 30 feet long. So when you make a pass with these, they're not able to get back to their pits on their own power, because they can't maneuver unless you do a 6,000-point turn. So, I have to make a trailer that can go and pick up the streamliner and bring it back to the pits. That's what I'm working on right now—something to help get the streamliner from A to B when we're out at the racetrack. The goal for that will be to go over 400.

WHAT ARE YOU ENJOYING MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?

I'm getting to do what I went to school for. I was worried when I chose something with design, I thought I was going to have to take what I could get with my first job. I thought it could be just sweeping the floors and maybe I’d get to approve a drawing here or there. But I'm right into it. Drawings that I make are right out the door the next day. And a part comes in after that. There's no sense of wasted time. There's no feeling that what I did at Penn College was wasted. It all went toward something. And it was very quick from graduating in May to having a job two months later. It was an unmatched feeling. It was really cool.

HOW MUCH ARE YOU RELYING ON YOUR PENN COLLEGE EDUCATION ON A DAILY BASIS?

Almost every day. It’s not just what I did with the program itself. Everything else helped me, like taking machining classes and Mastercam classes. I was really glad that when I was at Penn College, I didn't  just take whatever electives sounded fun. I made sure to take electives that involved my major. Like when you make a design, it doesn't just go out into nothingness. You need to be able to understand machine processes, manufacturability, how a factory works, how stuff gets done outside your company's walls. It helps me day-to-day knowing all that stuff.

HOW DID YOU LAND THIS JOB?

Ever since I was a little kid, I always wanted to be a race car driver. As I got older, I thought that probability was small, but not impossible. I decided to focus on something realistic. I thought, what about an engineer for a race team? And I was following all of these companies that were doing stuff in the automotive world. The Garage Shop has broken a lot of records and broken a lot of molds for what has seemed to be, you know, a regular in the industry. I came across a post on Instagram they made, and it had SolidWorks in it. I got a SolidWorks certification at Penn College and figured maybe they needed help. I reached out and was on a plane later that week. It was all pretty quick. And it started with following their account on social media.

THEY HIRED YOU ON THE SPOT?

Yep. I stayed three days down here. It wasn't like most interviews. I didn’t show up in a suit and tie and look nice. I showed up in a t-shirt and khaki shorts. They said, “We need to do some work on this race car.” As part of my interview, I helped with a reluctor wheel for the race car. They brought me into the shop and gave me a pair of dial calipers and SolidWorks. And they're like, “Let's see what you can do.” I just put my skills that I learned at Penn College through the test, and they were more than satisfied. So within those two days of me being here, there was a handshake, and they said, “We'll see you on this date.”

THINK YOU'RE GOING TO STAY AT THE GARAGE SHOP FOR AWHILE?

I’ll stay as long as they'll have me. That's for sure. I definitely like coming to work every day. When you find something that you like to do, you don't dread coming into work because even on a slow day, you're going to learn something.

Guaranteed Momentum

"I'm getting to do what I went to school for. I was worried when I chose something with design, I was going to have to take what I could get with my first job. But I'm right into it. Drawings that I make are right out the door the next day. There's no sense of wasted time. There's no feeling that what I did at Penn College was wasted. It all went toward something. And it was very quick from graduating in May to having a job two months later. It was an unmatched feeling."

Dylan Godinez

Read Dylan's Story

Featured Video

Multifaceted alumnus shares ‘How it’s made’

Dylan Godinez, a graduate in engineering design technology, shares this five-minute video that he recently taped and edited. It features one of his current projects involving 3D scanning and SolidWorks weldments for a Land Speed Corvette. Dylan is a design engineer at The Garage Shop, a North Carolina-based enterprise.

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