“The future of our world is not in the hands of those who lead it now, but the hands of those who will. Athena Racing helps to build these future leaders, specifically in the field of STEM where technological innovations are born. I hold paramount that the STEM field must welcome and support a diverse perspective and continuously challenge what is possible, and I believe Athena Racing has the potential to do those.”
A mechanical engineer by profession, and a volunteer enthusiast in his free time, Zach Sharpell’s journey took a turning point in 10th grade. He had an interest in clean energy and wanted to do something more than just read about it – he wanted to be part of the innovation. The idea of a startup company did not come to mind until he began studying Mechanical Engineering at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and toward the end of his third year he took the plunge.
The first startup company was born; the direction – to design high performance battery packs for various applications – eBikes, aviation, mobility, etc. Along this path, Zach went through all the trials and tribulations you hear about in startups – above all it was a vital learning experience which developed key skills he uses to this day.
While he was growing his startup, Zach began mentoring other students at Cal Poly, sponsoring senior projects, and advising groups of students during “startup marathons” (54 hours of near non-stop work to create a startup company).
Today, Zach leads the mechanical design team for automotive projects at Qualcomm, fueling the progress toward automated vehicles. However, he continues his passion of volunteering and mentorship by helping others work toward making their ideas – no matter how crazy – a reality.
HOW TO BECOME ATHENIAN
While in college, I created a startup company focusing on Hydrogen Fuel Cell research, pivoted to battery pack development for ebikes, LEVs, and aviation. Currently lead mechanical design for automotive development platforms and showcase designs. I am most proud of our team’s successful platform design for validating the latest Qualcomm automotive chipset (a culmination of ever-evolving requirements, demanding timelines, and necessary innovation to exceed previous specifications).
LeadershipI truly enjoy helping and teaching others. My passion is to not only help from an organizational perspective, but also engage hands on (as with most engineers) to make progress toward goals. I tend not to shy away from asking questions which challenge the status quo, and this is necessary to keep up with the pace of innovation. I lead with a strong skill set in startup mentoring, mechanical engineering, and project management
Career PathAs a business industry innovator, I have spent the past decade leading start-up companies through R&D, branding, company organization, marketing development, PR campaigns, investor presentations and product launch. I thrive on leading team members to align efforts with marketing, public relations, brand management, product development and business strategies.
2021 Volunteer of the Year at Qualcomm for exceptional time and effort given to promoting STEM non-profits and initiatives
CES Eureka Park Climate Change Innovator Award (2018)
SMMT 2018 Automated Driving Delegation Invitee