Penn College engineering design alum ‘racing’ for success

Published 10.31.2022

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Pennsylvania College of Technology alumnus Dylan C. Godinez is on the fast track for career success – literally.

Just a few months after his May graduation, Godinez, of Reading, designed front and rear suspension brackets for a Ford Roadster that topped 200 mph in a sanctioned land speed race.

“It was a surreal experience for sure,” Godinez said about watching the successful run on a 1.25-mile flat track in Blytheville, Arkansas. “It was an unmatched feeling. It was really cool.”

Dylan C. Godinez, a May 2022 graduate of Pennsylvania College of Technology, is a design engineer at The Garage Shop, a motorsports performance fabrication company, in Denver, N.C. Godinez, who earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering design technology, designed front and rear suspension brackets for a Ford Roadster that eclipsed 200 mph in a recent land speed race. Godinez is a design engineer for The Garage Shop, which he describes as a “custom shop for cool toys.” Based in Denver, North Carolina, The Garage Shop is a motorsports performance fabrication company, specializing in the fabrication and restoration of vintage race cars. Many of its cars – built from scratch like the Ford Roadster – compete in land speed events throughout the country, including at the storied Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, site of numerous speed records.

The company recently recreated two legendary NASCAR cars for land speed racing: the No. 71 Bobby Isaac Dodge Daytona and the No. 27 Donnie Allison Ford Talladega. MAVTV, the motorsports network, chronicled that effort in a documentary series, “Legacy of Speed.”

“I definitely like coming to work every day. I’m always learning,” said Godinez, who designs car parts for both short- and long-term projects. “Drawings that I make are right out the door the next day. And a part will arrive after that. There’s no sense of wasted time here. I always wanted to be around race cars, so this job is great for me.”

An early introduction to NASCAR by his father hooked Godinez on motorsports. “It burned gas and went fast. I thought it was cool,” he laughed.

Interest evolved into action. Godinez learned about automotive detailing and servicing from his father, who works in collision repair. By high school, he was modifying cars for friends and family. He continued that practice in college, adding work as an automotive technician, sales associate at an auto parts store and a porter at a car dealership. His varied experiences complemented the engineering acumen he displayed at a young age with Legos and the video game Minecraft.

“My parents saw what I was able to do with my mind to create structures,” he said. “I was really good with geometry and mathematics. My parents were like, ‘Engineering, you got to go for it!’ “I knew about race cars and road cars, so I wanted to do some kind of engineering with them.”

That dream led Godinez to Penn College and its engineering design program, which requires in-depth experience with a range of parametric CAD and digital prototyping applications.

“I wanted to go to a hands-on school, so simple research put Penn College right at the top. It was an easy decision for me,” he said. “What I learned at Penn College got me my job.”

Specifically, Godinez points to his senior project, a requirement for the bachelor’s degree in engineering design technology. Employing SolidWorks, he designed the full chassis of a NASCAR stock car. The impressive result still resonates with the project’s adviser, Katherine A. Walker, assistant professor of engineering design technology.

“The senior project experience can go way beyond fulfilling an academic requirement,” she said. “As a motorsports enthusiast, Dylan was able to target a market niche with his design for the NASCAR Gen 5 chassis. When you pair a senior project like that with a prospective employer such as The Garage Shop, you have a winning combination!”

An Instagram post by The Garage Shop highlighting designs completed in SolidWorks prompted Godinez – a follower of countless automotive-related social media accounts – to contact the company.

“I was like, ‘I got SolidWorks certification at Penn College. Maybe they need help?’ I was on a plane headed for an interview later that week,” he recalled.

“We were looking for an entry-level engineer, and after reviewing Dylan’s resume, it looked great,” explained Spencer Brown, lead engineer at The Garage Shop. “What impressed me was the capstone project he showcased on his website. It was very well done.”

Godinez (far right) celebrates with the rest of the crew from The Garage Shop after a Ford Roadster the company fabricated topped 200 mph during a sanctioned land speed race in Blytheville, Ark.During Godinez’s three-day interview, he detailed for Brown and others the process behind his senior project and designed test components, such as a reluctor wheel for a race car.

“I just put my skills that I learned at Penn College to work, and they were more than satisfied,” Godinez said.

A few weeks later, Godinez moved to North Carolina to begin his career.

“Dylan has been working out great, and his SolidWorks skills are unquestionable,” Brown said. “I hope to incorporate him into our 3D scanning program and other aspects of engineering.”

“I’m very proud of Dylan,” Walker added. “It takes a lot of confidence to approach an employer and basically say, ‘This is who I am. This is what I know. And I think you should hire me because I can be an asset to your team.’”

Godinez’s current main project is designing a trailer to haul a streamliner race car that The Garage Shop is building to eclipse 400 mph next summer in Utah. The trailer will transport the streamliner to and from the pits since its 30-foot length makes turns next to impossible.

In the near future, Godinez hopes to be in the driver’s seat of a race car, an aspiration crystalized in childhood watching his favorite NASCAR driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., take the checkered flag.

“I really admire with motorsports the will to win and ordinary people doing extraordinary things,” said Godinez, who has volunteered with pit crews throughout the race-crazed region. “I will probably start out competing at a local track series, like late models or even sprint cars, and see where it takes me.”

But that destination won’t be far from The Garage Shop.

“I’ll work here as long as they’ll have me, that’s for sure,” Godinez smiled.

In addition to the bachelor’s degree in engineering design technology, Penn College offers a bachelor’s in industrial design and an associate degree in engineering CAD technology. For information on those and other majors offered by the School of Engineering Technologies, call 570-327-4520.

Penn College is a national leader in applied technology education. Email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

Photos provided by The Garage Shop