It’s My Job: Akash Shettannavar


Industrial and Systems Engineering

Senior Ergnomist, Tesla


Why did you decide to study industrial and systems engineering?

During my senior year in mechanical engineering, I opted for a class, Engineering System Design, which introduced me to the basics of systems engineering and topics such as human factors and ergonomics, which influenced my decision to pursue higher education in that field. Auburn’s industrial and systems engineering program was a great fit for me as it offered the occupational safety and ergonomics (OSE) graduate certificate along with industrial and systems engineering courses.

What is your educational background?

I earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Visvesvaraya Technological University in India in June 2012, an occupational safety and ergonomics graduate certificate from Auburn University in May 2016, and a master’s degree in industrial and systems engineering from Auburn University in May 2017.

Do you feel your degree prepared you well for your career?

Absolutely. All of the industrial and systems engineering teaching staff had great prior experiences from industries, which enabled us to understand and learn what to expect for our careers and how to prepare ourselves for future opportunities. I’d like to give a personal shout-out to our occupational safety and ergonomics professors who create an all-hands on deck environment for OSE students, in terms of research participation and learning, which elevated our graduate school experience to the next level. All involved in the OSE program are like close family and I’m grateful to have been part of it.

How long have you been employed at Tesla?

I began working at Tesla in May 2016. Among many other duties, I lead the environment, health and safety group in design for environment, health and safety integration into product design and factory development. We perform technical analyses to evaluate, verify and validate designs against regulations and internal standards; create processes and improvements to integrate technology and digital modeling into a systems approach to managing risks; and lead engineering reviews utilizing Virtual Digital Human Model (DHM) Simulations to ensure technical solutions are understood and acceptable for implementation.
Was working at Tesla your career goal?

Not exactly, but during my co-op with the ergonomics consulting company Humantech Inc., Tesla was one of the customers who used their product. After learning that, I thought it would be a great opportunity to be part of Tesla.

Exactly one year after, while I was attending an applied ergonomics conference in Orlando as a student volunteer, I happened to meet the Tesla ergonomics team and had a great interaction with them and they asked me right there to come work with them.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

At Tesla, I work on the ergonomics team which aims to eliminate or reduce work-related musculoskeletal injuries in our workforce. I enjoy the fulfillment of seeing improvements in the product design, equipment and process, which makes the job easier and enables healthy, high performance for our workforce.

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