Shounak Athavale, IT Lead

Shounak Athavale is working toward a future where cars communicate with each other to reduce congestion and create cleaner cities

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“What I find most exciting at work here is I am able to test out a lot of new ideas really, really fast.”

Over the last 20 years, Shounak Athavale has worked at many departments within Ford, including manufacturing systems, manufacturing technology, and even purchasing and marketing. Throughout all of his work, Shounak has been motivated to find solutions that will make a difference for drivers. He believes that if he can keep helping Ford find ways to help improve people’s lives, the commercial applications will follow.

As IT Lead at the Palo Alto Research and Innovation Center, Shounak is leading HP Fleet Insights, a project to collect and analyze data from HP’s corporate fleet of cars. He’s excited about all of the potential applications for the data. If organizations can develop a better understanding of drivers, they can develop better ways of utilizing their fleet and making sure their employees are able to get where they need to be as easily as possible. And with connected cars, the possibilities are even greater. Shounak is able to envision a future in which cars communicate with one another to reduce congestion and create cleaner cities.

Prior to joining Ford’s Silicon Valley team, Shounak led a different kind of team back in Michigan. As a Science Olympiad coach, he loved immersing himself in pure science and helping students learn. In the process, he found that his work at Ford had taught him a lot about how to build a high-performing Science Olympiad team. And every year, whether his team won or not, he knew that the knowledge his students gained would make a difference in their lives.