Test Engineering Manager, Garrett Mexicali Test Laboratory
For Test Engineering Manager Fred Padilla, interacting with breakthrough technology may be part of his daily routine…but he never tires of the exhilaration associated with world-leading innovation.
Fred is based at Garrett Motion’s Mexicali test laboratory facility, and over the last 10 years he’s had a front-row seat for some of the company’s amazing advances in auto engineering. From internal combustion engine turbos to the industry-first electric turbo (E-Turbo) and fuel cell solutions, it has been a remarkable journey shared with some great people…and there’s more to come.
My Garrett Experience: A Dynamic Learning Journey
It was certainly an unusual way to embark on a new career, but when Fred’s first day at Garrett fell on his birthday, he was offered a holiday. “In Mexicali, everyone has the option to take a day off on their birthday,” says Fred. “But I wanted to get started as soon as possible, so I kindly declined my manager’s offer and celebrated instead by getting to know my new team.”
So, what attracted him to Garrett? “As any engineer will tell you, getting the chance to work with fantastic colleagues in a state-of-the-art technology center is the dream job. This was also the first such laboratory facility in Mexicali, so there was a sense of being part of something new in an area of research and development that was very exciting.”
Garrett’s test laboratory in Mexicali was inaugurated more than 10 years ago, completing Garrett’s Mexico footprint which also includes two manufacturing sites and an aftermarket distribution center.
“Not only that, even joining the team meant passing a challenging selection process for a Test Controls Engineer role, but from those first moments I knew that this was the right company and the right career path for me.”
“I´m a hands-on engineer and so the interaction with breakthrough technologies inspires me and drives me as a Test Lab Leader. This is what motivates me every day.”
Fred brought a degree in electronics engineering with him, plus experience working in the automotive sector with a company making sensors and actuators. In fact, he got to know about Garrett from the supply side as an end-of-line product tester. Then he noticed that co-workers were moving to Garrett and talking very positively about the work environment.
“These guys were role models for me, so that got me interested. And when the opportunity arose for a career change with Garrett, I didn’t hesitate to put myself forward…and the rest is history.”
Fred’s enthusiasm for engineering and his passion for Garrett technology stayed with him from the moment he walked through the doors of the company. This mindset fuels his energy – and makes him a great site and team leader.
“I just love the Garrett way of working – it’s multicultural, offers equality of opportunity, is respectful of everyone…and insane fun!”
Teamwork: Part of a Family
Soon after joining Garrett in Mexicali, Fred was named Technical Supervisor. “My first six months in this position meant working from Torrance, California, which was a truly enriching experience. Then I took on a Test Engineer Leader role for four years, before becoming Test Lab Manager in 2014. Although these were different roles, change and innovation were a constant thread.”
He is also inspired by the people around him. “Over the years, I’ve worked alongside people who have contributed in many different ways to my professional growth. Now, I lead a great team and I’m still learning every day from my hugely talented colleagues. Being part of this family gives me real energy. I’m just as excited now for the future as I was when I started.”
Life at Garrett: Thriving in a collaborative culture
“I feel proud to be part of this organization because we operate in a collaborative environment, meeting challenges together and sharing successes. My primary focus today is managing the tactical direction of one group of professionals to facilitate the success of Garrett programs. Among the most significant projects for me was being part of the team building an engineering test lab from planning through to test cell fit out. I’ve also been heavily involved in field test resolution for E-Turbo and Fuel Cell test readiness.”
“The auto market is constantly changing, and we all need to adapt, so I strongly recommend developing a learning mindset ready to solve tomorrow’s challenges”
“I just love the Garrett way of working – it’s multicultural, offers equality of opportunity, is respectful of everyone…and insane fun. It’s a company that recognizes talent and offers a sustainable career path for every employee, from beginners to seniors. Garrett has helped me to build a better version of myself.”
Wise thoughts: Advice for the next generation
“The auto market is constantly changing, and we all need to adapt, so I strongly recommend developing a learning mindset ready to solve tomorrow’s challenges. This approach will help you create your own strategy for the future because you will be better prepared to anticipate change. It may not be the perfect strategy, but it will provide a starting point to help you adapt to any new challenges. Also, make sure you learn from people around you – experience teaches us to adapt more quickly to circumstances, so take time to see how people manage their thought processes. And then get started on helping to develop the automotive industry of the future.”
Visit Garrett’s Careers page to see how you can join the growing global team and to discover our career opportunities.