TOM CULLEN: TRANSFORMING THE FORD IN-VEHICLE EXPERIENCE THROUGH MYFORD
Tom Cullen, project manager, MyFord
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- Tom Cullen is project manager of the team bringing MyFord – Ford’s new interior environment – into vehicles across the globe
- Cullen has worked on a number of Ford’s multimedia and electronics initiatives, including advanced networking, power liftgate systems, wireless technology, smart junction boxes, front camera systems and MP3/digital radio systems
- A Florida native and graduate of Notre Dame, Cullen enjoys carpentry and home improvement in his spare time
MyFord, Ford’s new interior environment, is a critical component of the company’s global One Ford strategy. Tom Cullen, MyFord project manager, is the person tasked with pulling the disparate components together from across the car, across the country and across the globe.
“As the project manager, my key role is to make sure that all the pieces come together and deliver the desired customer experience,” said Cullen. “MyFord is not a single part or technology, but rather a strategy that leverages many parts and technologies to deliver a brand-new and highly advanced customer interface.”
Cullen didn’t start out as a car enthusiast. Rather, he was an electronics aficionado. But while attending the University of Notre Dame, a particular course piqued his interest.
“I had the opportunity to take a class on electric vehicle design and this made me realize how instrumental electronics have become in the automotive industry,” said Cullen. “I also learned how they can be used to both enhance the customer’s experience with the vehicle and help make the vehicle more efficient. This led me to place Ford at the top of my list when I started looking for jobs. My affinity for cars has grown ever since.”
Summer vacations lead to appreciation for the open road
Cullen grew up in Boca Raton, Fla. Though he wasn’t necessarily a car guy, many of his early memories revolve around trips in the family car.
“When my brother and I were young, my dad would save up all of his vacation time and we would take long family road trips across the country during the summer,” said Cullen. “By the time I was a teenager, we had visited just about every state east of the Mississippi River and a good sampling of the ones west of it. To this day, I still enjoy getting out on the road and traveling to see friends and family. I am usually out traveling in the car somewhere a couple weekends a month.”
Cullen graduated from Notre Dame with a BSEE in 2000, obtaining his master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Dearborn in 2002 while working for Ford. Cullen’s first position was with Ford’s advanced multimedia group.
“At the time, we were studying a lot of technologies that eventually played a role in SYNC, and now in MyFord,” said Cullen. “Throughout my career at Ford, I have been lucky enough to work with folks who are both talented professionals and all-around great people. This is more true than ever with the fantastic team we have that is making MyFord a reality.”
Improving the house when he’s not improving the car
Outside of work, Cullen’s main passions stem from childhood experiences with his father.
“My two major hobbies are carpentry and home improvement,” said Cullen. “My dad excels in both of these areas, and as a kid I learned so much by following him around from project to project. These days, I always have a project of my own going at the house, and I am always trying to teach myself a new skill in one of these two areas.”
Troubleshooting and learning new skills around the house are a natural progression from the hands-on, new-approaches attitude a project like MyFord requires. And Cullen’s previous experiences at Ford provided him with the perfect background for such a complex task.
“I’ve had a lot of assignments since I joined the company,” said Cullen. “Advanced networking technologies, power liftgate systems, smart junction boxes and front camera systems – to name a few. But to me, infotainment electronics has always been one of the most exciting fields at Ford, and I’m proud to be on a team that’s doing something truly groundbreaking.”
Personal Insights and Fun Facts
- Tom Cullen’s all-time favorite Ford vehicle is the Ford GT, though his favorite showbiz car is “Eleanor” (a 1967 Shelby GT500) from the 2000 remake of “Gone in Sixty Seconds”
- Cullen enjoys frequent fall weekend road trips to his alma mater, Notre Dame, for football games and tailgating
- Cullen tries to always have a unique home improvement project in progress, striving to constantly improve his carpentry and construction skills
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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 200,000 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.
Jan. 7, 2010