Thursday, September 17, 2009

Raptor engineer has a taste for chassis tuning, microbrews

Ford engineer Hether Fedullo fine-tuned the Raptor's chassis, knows karts and enjoys a well-done microbrew.

Hether Fedullo is a Ford noise, vibration and harshness engineer, a shifter-kart driver and a beer snob.

"I do appreciate a good beer,” she says, “like people appreciate wine.” She loves a good wheat or a nice dark brew. She's partial to Bell's, be it Amber Ale, Oberon or Expedition Stout. Her favorite bartenders know better than to serve her “grass-cutting beer.”


Fedullo, 34, can't remember exactly when she knew she would become an engineer, but she does remember that as a child, she loved to watch car chases on TV, especially The Dukes of Hazzard. And she loved watching Formula One races. Both of her parents were engineers, which influenced her career choice, as did falling in love with driving.

She graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in German and mechanical engineering and got a master's in engineering from Purdue. She also graduated from Bob Bondurant's driving school; from there, it was on to shifter karts.

As an NVH engineer with Ford's Special Vehicle Team, Fedullo recently worked on the Mustang GT500 and the F-150 Raptor. She aims not only to get rid of unwanted sounds and vibrations but also to emphasize the good ones. Her goal in tuning the Raptor chassis was good off-road performance without compromising the on-road experience.

“NVH orchestrates the vehicle,” she says. “You could compare us to a symphony conductor. We figure out what the customer should and shouldn't hear.”

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