For Joe Burtch, creativity and analytics collide at Continental

 

I’ve been to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas with Continental three times now, and it’s really exciting to present new products to people from all around the world. I love to show my creations to other people and get them excited about it.

This year, we showcased a new smart garage parking feature. It’s a system mainly targeted toward someone who has a single-family home with a driveway and a garage, detached or otherwise. When you pull in, the car’s radar maps out your home parking environment and shows your preferred parking spots. You can tell the car to park in a particular spot, get out, then watch the car finish the maneuver.

In the morning, you can tell it to come back out to a certain spot and be ready for you. You can also tell it to park backwards, so you can jump right into the car and pull straight out. You never have to park in reverse at home again.

Analytical and Creative 

I’m a musician. I love to perform and when I play guitar or play drums, there are a ton of analytical and creative elements to it. The fact I can get those features here at work, too, is just incredibly satisfying. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) is an area that I think will grow – there’s no end in sight, at this point. There will continue to be advancements, so there’s a lot of room to generate new ideas. For example, I’ve submitted nine invention disclosures in this past year. There’s a lot of opportunity to innovate, and to not only be analytical but to be creative, too.

Second Stint at Continental

I worked here from 2005-2010 and enjoyed it quite a bit. It was my first job out of school, and I was finally able to make a living. I loved the travel – I went to Germany, Mexico, the Philippines, San Francisco, and numerous Chrysler plants throughout the U.S.

After five years, I wanted to work in something that was cutting edge. At the time, Continental was just getting into advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), so I decided to look at opportunities outside the company. I found a job at GM in powertrain advanced engineering, because I could do more research and be close to the products.

But in 2014, I saw that Continental was starting an advanced engineering team. I got the interview and was excited about getting back into proof-of-concept technology. I was the first person hired on the team and I’m still here after five years. I really love developing a new product idea from scratch or continuing development based on what other teams have created at an early stage.

Continental Team

Returning to Continental was a homecoming, a great feeling. I really appreciate the culture and the diversity. I’m the only American citizen on our team. The demographics have shifted younger, too, so I’m actually on the older end of the spectrum at 37.

Our team really embodies Continental’s core values – “For One Another” and “Passion to Win.” We have very strong camaraderie. We have a good time while also getting a lot done. We spend a lot of time outside of work, too, at non-company sponsored get togethers.

It feels more like a work family. I look forward to coming to work every day, not only because of what I work on, but the people involved. I think the people here make a huge difference. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s just a feeling.

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