HETHER FEDULLO: ADVENTURE-LOVING TEST DRIVER TROUBLESHOOTS, FINE-TUNES RAPTOR

HETHER FEDULLO: ADVENTURE-LOVING TEST DRIVER TROUBLESHOOTS, FINE-TUNES RAPTOR

  • Hether Fedullo is a noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) engineer on Ford’s performance Special Vehicle Team
  • It is Fedullo’s job to silence sounds and eliminate vibrations that don’t belong in a vehicle and emphasize the ones that do – whether it’s tire noise, vibration through the steering wheel or exhaust sound quality
  • Fedullo is an Ohio native

Hether Fedullo, a noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) engineer on Ford’s performance Special Vehicle Team, spends her days behind the wheel perfecting SVT’s latest products for the customer.

That’s not terribly surprising. For Fedullo, all roads seemed to point to a career in engineering from early on. Growing up with two engineers as parents, she loved “Dukes of Hazzard,” had a reputation for having a lead foot (even in high school) and spent Sunday mornings watching Formula One races with her dad.

Following graduation from Virginia Tech with degrees in German and mechanical engineering, the Ohio native came to work at Ford full-time, after interning there while in college. Starting in powertrain, her roles eventually led to her current position as an NVH engineer with SVT.

Fedullo likes to be close to the customer and the product – her role in NVH gives her that opportunity. It also helps in developing the vehicle, because she has a better understanding of what the customer expects.

“For instance, when developing Raptor the team worked to gain an intimate understanding of the customer and what they wanted. We made sure to assign attributes to meet those needs,” she explained. “We tuned the truck for great off-road performance without comprising the on-road experience.”

Fedullo essentially is assigned to silencing sounds and eliminating vibrations that don’t belong, and emphasizing the ones that do, whether it’s tire noise, vibration through the steering wheel or exhaust sound quality.

“NVH orchestrates the vehicle,” Fedullo said. “You could compare us to the conductors of the symphony. Like the conductor orchestrating the symphony, we figure out what the customer should and shouldn’t hear, and help the engineering team implement that plan.”

Fedullo also is a test driver for Raptor, which is a whole new realm of driving for her. It’s a much different driving style than on-road, and she essentially had to learn everything from the beginning.

She admits that off-road driving is a bit intimidating and comes with a steep learning curve.

“My first desert ride in an early prototype was on a recon lap. I didn’t realize that was much slower than we would be running,” she said. “On the second full-speed lap, I was grabbing onto everything I could find in the truck to hold on to.”

When Fedullo isn’t problem solving at work, she finds time to enjoy the outdoors. Besides being an avid flower gardener, she kayaks and mountain bikes. She also finds time for some automotive fun outside of work – she was part of a team of Ford employees at the 24 Hours of LeMons, a race where teams acquire old cars with a $500 purchase limit, modify and track-prep them and then try to make them last 24 hours.

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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents.  With about 201,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the companys automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo.  The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company.  For more information regarding Fords products, please visit www.ford.com.

Oct. 28, 2009

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