Chassis Controls Supervisor
Brandon Cameron came to Ford five years ago through the Ford College Graduate Program. Today, at the age of 26, he’s working as an off-road engineer for the 2019 Ford Ranger.
It’s been quite a ride for Brandon, who has been traveling around the world conducting vehicle testing, doing media interviews – and even starring in a YouTube shopper video – for the company’s new midsize truck.
In his role at Ford, Brandon led the development of Trail Control™, a new feature for Ranger that takes over the operation of the brake and gas pedals in challenging off-road environments – like rocky hills – allowing the driver to simply set the speed and concentrate on steering.
“An expert off-road driver may know how to two-foot drive. They’ll cover the brake with their left foot and the gas with their right foot,” Cameron explained. “This feature replaces the need to do that so that someone who may not be as skilled can still navigate through rough terrain and get to where they need to go.”
Brandon and his team developed the Trail Control feature from the ground up.
“We started from scratch with this idea of off-road cruise control. We defined all of the requirements, did all of the engineering analysis and then worked with our marketing organization to come up with a name for it,” he explained. “Then we developed all the software, tested it in the vehicle and ultimately validated it. It was something that I really wanted to do because it is a cross-functional feature, so it enabled me to work with a lot of different organizations within Ford.”
Brandon said he was prepared for the engineering aspects of the job, but he never expected to be the “face of Ranger” as a subject matter expert. When he was flown out on location to shoot the Ranger walk-around shopper video, he said it felt a bit surreal.
“I was thinking to myself my job is taking me on a three-day video shoot where I’m the only one who is going to be filmed,” he recalled. “It was a little shocking at first when I got there. It was a full film production set with a crew of 60 or 70 people and multiple trailers for wardrobe, hair and makeup. It overwhelmed me a bit, but I had a lot of fun doing it.”
Brandon is a graduate of Michigan State University, and he recently earned a master’s degree in engineering from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Though he grew up dreaming of becoming a professional soccer player, he says he always had an interest in the automotive industry because of his family roots.
“My grandfather worked as a press operator at the Ford Rouge factory for almost 30 years. My mom worked at Ford Credit for seven years, and my dad just retired last year after 40 years with General Motors,” he said.
Brandon says one of the best aspects of working as an engineer at Ford is that you never know where the job will take you.
“There is a vast number of different career opportunities within a single company. You can be hands-on doing vehicle testing and tuning or validating software or hardware. You can be on the plant floor launching a vehicle in one of our assembly plants. Or you can be working at a supplier site ensuring the quality of parts,” he said. “I find that pretty astonishing.”