From the winding country roads of West Virginia, to the major highways of the Motor City, Justin Brumley has pushed his passion for vehicles into full gear. Landing a position at one of the nation’s top automotive franchises reassured Brumley that his childhood dream of working with cars could be a reality. Though the road to a career in the auto industry was not always an easy ride.
Justin earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from West Virginia University in May 2014. When beginning his graduate studies in the fall, Brumley explored research assistant positions and came across the opportunity to be involved in an Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition (AVTC).
“Ever since the time I was a teenager, I would always go out and help my dad work on cars,” said Brumley on why EcoCAR3 was the right fit. “That kind of grew into my own interest and hobby of cars and racing.”
Brumley took on the role of Engineering Manager in Year One of the EcoCAR3 competition. As a leader on the team, Brumley was responsible for organizing and recruiting team members, managing tasks within the garage and preparing deliverables for final competition. Not only did he have to learn the ins and outs of competition as a first-time competitor, Brumley also quickly became a role model for other students on the team.
“Being in a leadership position on the team helped me exceed in many different areas, especially as Engineering Manager,” said Brumley. “The biggest challenge for me was getting a lot of people together and still being able to collaborate. Knowing everything while not knowing anything was kind of difficult because there are times when I wanted to specialize in certain things, but I couldn’t because I needed to know the overall picture for the team.”
Brumley emerged as the driving force behind EcoCAR3, establishing a solid foundation for team members in the final two years of competition. He received his Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from WVU in May 2016 and was eager to put his vehicle experience into action.
Through his AVTC journey, Brumley’s combination of leadership and automotive expertise helped him ultimately establish a career with the specialization he was seeking. Brumley now works as a Drive Quality Specialist at General Motors, concentrating on powertrain and global propulsion systems.
“I knew I wanted to go into something hands on,” said Brumley on choosing a career. “I didn’t want to be behind the desk all day long. With this position, I’m able to get out, get on the road and actually drive the cars.”
During his time with the WVU EcoCAR3 team, Brumley gained experience working with ETAS and AVL systems, programs he now uses everyday in his career. He also spends much of his time taking advantage of General Motors’ numerous training opportunities, allowing him to gain expertise in more than just drive quality. But ultimately, it is the need for speed that drives Brumley’s automotive passion.
“The most rewarding part about going to work everyday is getting to drive cars,” Brumley admits.
Justin resides in Detroit, MI where he continues to contribute to automotive innovation and build a lasting career. Looking towards the future, Brumley hopes to continue working for General Motors and eventually specialize in chassis controls.
As he reflects on the path to his career, Brumley has a few words of advice for those also hoping to enter the industry.
“Always try to be learning and always try to expand yourself,” Brumley suggests. “Ask questions! Always ask questions.”