Title: North American engineering director of electronic controls, Delphi Automotive
Big break: In 2000, he was asked to develop sensors for a collision warning system for a German automaker
At Delphi Automotive, Sandeep Punater gets to use the coolest tools in the toolbox.
Collision avoidance? Check. Sensors for autonomous vehicles? Check.
Punater is Delphi's North American engineering director of electronic controls, a job that puts him in charge of 273 engineers in the United States and Mexico.
For Punater, a career at Delphi had a certain inevitability. His father was a mechanical engineer, his brother was an electrical engineer, and his aunts and uncles were engineers.
His parents emigrated from India to pursue graduate studies. They settled in Dayton, Ohio, where General Motors' Delphi division produced brakes and suspension components.
"I've been surrounded by engineering all my life," Punater said. "It's really in my blood."
While he was an undergraduate at the University of Cincinnati, Punater signed up for an internship at Delphi, where he got a full-time job after he received his master's degree in electrical engineering at Stanford University.
In 2000 he was asked to develop sensors for a collision warning system for a German automaker. His solution: a combination of radar and cameras. Safety "is where my passion is," Punater said. "Most of my background has been in safety. We see a tremendous amount of growth in this space."
Punater currently spends much of his time shuttling from his office at Delphi's technical center in Kokomo, Ind., and Delphi's office in Auburn Hills, Mich. He took up distance running after a friend got him hooked, and he sometimes runs half marathons on the weekends.
Punater says he "makes a conscious effort" to set aside time for his family, but he admits he's fascinated by his various technology projects. "I feel quite fortunate," Punater said.