TAD OHTAKE: FAMILY AND FORD KEEP SVT ENGINEER IN BALANCE

TAD OHTAKE: FAMILY AND FORD KEEP SVT ENGINEER IN BALANCE

  • Tad Ohtake is SVT Chassis Engineering Supervisor for the Ford F-150 Raptor
  • Ohtake earned a master’s degree from Stanford University
  • Ohtake is a rally racer

Tad Ohtake is a family man – a devoted husband and the father of three sons who keep him on his toes.

But Ohtake, SVT Chassis Engineering Supervisor for Raptor, also is a born tinkerer, a rally racer and a true car aficionado who appreciates the sound, speed and power of a finely tuned engine.

"My first car was a Datsun pickup with a custom paint job and a gutless engine," he recalls. "My next car was more memorable – a 1978 Ford Fiesta Sport. It got great mileage and facilitated my first speeding ticket – within a half-hour after I bought it – and, in the same event, facilitated my first out-of-town court appearance, for speeding. You get the picture."

After attending Whitman College in Washington State, then the University of Alaska and finally Stanford University for his master’s degree, Ohtake embarked on his career path. That he landed on the blue oval wasn’t particularly unexpected, he said.

"I think it’s every tinkerer’s dream to work on cars," said the Alaskan transplant. "I knew when I was in the fourth grade that I was going to be an engineer at Ford."

As a rally racer, Ohtake appreciates the work environment he is in.

"The best thing about being located in Michigan is that there’s so much access to automotive knowledge," he says. "I love the engineering side of things, but I also love getting my hands dirty – it’s a characteristic here at SVT. It’s a great way to learn. Learning is fun and keeps your mind fresh and active. If you’re not learning something every day, you might as well pack it up, because it means you’ve stopped growing. I guess I haven’t grown up yet."

With dad duties taking priority for the moment, Ohtake still has hopes of getting back to his racing roots and spending more of his off time developing a few carefully chosen vehicles of his own.

"I’d love to have more real estate in my garage," he says. "I have two cars earmarked for racing, but I can’t work on either, let alone walk through the garage without tripping over a training wheel or a Slip ‘n’ Slide. Maybe I need to take up baby stroller racing!"

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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 company’s automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com.

Oct. 5, 2009

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