Joshua Sigmund, 43
Division director/chief engineer, drive system designer, Honda R&D Americas
Big break: In 2004, Sigmund became a project leader for what eventually became the 2006 Honda Ridgeline pickup.
Joshua Sigmund joined Honda R&D Americas months after receiving his mechanical engineering degree from Penn State University. He’s now been along for the ride for more than 20 years.
During the early years, Sigmund worked as a test engineer on the team that developed Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive with torque vectoring for light-duty truck application. The technology marked an important milestone for American Honda and remains a major selling point for Honda’s luxury brand.
A personal milestone for Sigmund came in 2004, when he was chosen as a project leader for the first-generation Honda Ridgeline, a pickup developed for the U.S.
“My role was to be the project leader for our drivetrain development and represent our division on the overall development team,” he said. “That gave me a widened responsibility and really opened my eyes to the entire development process within Honda.”
As he took on new roles, Sigmund gained respect within Honda’s R&D operations, which have grown considerably in the U.S.
“However, even with continuously increasing U.S. staff, the leadership positions in the drivetrain area were historically held by Japanese staff,” he said. “I worked diligently to earn trust through technical capability and dedication. This enabled me to become the first U.S. staff manager, senior manager and now division director.”
Another of his technical achievements was to move the software calibration process for drivetrain systems from test vehicles — which require human power and special facilities — to a simulation model.
“This technique,” he said, “allows calibration activity to be conducted 24/7 without the use of an expensive prototype vehicle. The reduction in required vehicles, man-hours and test fees saves the company millions annually while shortening the development process time.”
— Laurence Iliff