25 May 2012
MESA, Ariz.–When you were a kid (if you're of a certain age), you might have found yourself under a shade tree on summer days, bent into the engine compartment of a muscle car and watching a sage expert wrench down new and improved parts of his engine. That's how you were inspired; that's how you learned.
Jim Contes is that sage guy, transported 50 years into the future into a really, really big garage in a region with almost zero shade trees. Contes is a senior lecturer of Automotive Engineering Technology here at Arizona State's Polytechnic campus.
He's an ASU alum who spent more than 30 years as an engineer with General Motors at its proving grounds nearby, and he's one of the folks tapped by ASU to kick its automotive program into fifth gear.
On a warm, clear spring day, Contes walked us through the garage and talked about the program:
"This is a major area for car testing, automotive testing and because … the college of technology and innovation is a hands-on different kind of university, they wanted this automotive program–knowing there are a lot of automotive people around here."
There's another reason this program is here, and it has to do with the lack of shade trees. Here's our interview with Contes, where he touches on that reason: