Alumnus accelerates his career through Tesla Motors
A lifelong interest in fast cars and the culture that embraces them has helped Colin Zimmer shift his career into high gear.
The Ivy Tech Community College Northeast graduate is an automotive technician with Tesla Motors, the California-based automaker that designs and builds 100 percent electric cars. These cars have a driving range longer than 270 miles per charge and feature “instant torque, incredible power, and zero emissions,” according to the company’s website.
A Fort Wayne native, Zimmer says his road to employment with Tesla was the result of a detour suggested by an aunt who lives in Las Vegas. She asked him his opinion on the relatively new automaker, based on his automotive knowledge, and whether its cars were legitimately hot or mere hype.
“During the talk, I remember asking her, ‘Do I want to test drive a $130,000 car with your name signed on the release? Of course I do,’” Zimmer says. She concluded the discussion by extending an invitation for her nephew to join her in Las Vegas to visit an area Tesla dealer. On-site, Zimmer learned about the all-electric technology and even toured the facility. He says his experience was transformative.
“I remember walking through that service center and being astounded by how clean it was, how happy everyone was, how simple the cars are, in theory,” he says. “That was that. I asked, ‘When is there going to be an opening, and what do I have to do?’”
Within a few weeks an entry-level service assistant position became available. Zimmer went through three months of interviews to secure the position. Just shy of a year later—and following additional interviews—he was promoted to an automotive technician role. He was initially based in Las Vegas, commuting regularly to Salt Lake City to provide diagnostic services for Tesla owners in the region. In spring 2015, Tesla opened a service center in Salt Lake City. Zimmer relocated to this service center and has seen his growth opportunities expand, from training new hires to ensuring that operations meet Tesla’s protocol to traveling to Europe for special campaigns.
“I can potentially see myself being with Tesla as a lifelong career,” Zimmer says. “Obviously, there are many different positions I could hold within the company, but foremost, I believe in what we’re doing.”