Skip to content
2022 ESD Awards 1 Hero
News |

Ghafari Celebrates Project + Outstanding Young Engineer Award Wins at ESD Annual Dinner

Ghafari Celebrates Project + Outstanding Young Engineer Award Wins at ESD Annual Dinner

On June 23, Ghafari team members joined the Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD) at Ford Field for the organization’s annual dinner, which celebrates the projects and people advancing the field of engineering. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s dinner recognized project and individual award winners for 2020, 2021, and 2022.

Ghafari Structural Engineer Gautham Prasad, PE, SE was named the 2021 Outstanding Young Engineer. Each year, ESD recognizes a young professional under the age of 35 who has best distinguished him / herself in the engineering and scientific communities. Criteria include education, work experience, and professional and community activities.

Through a decade-long career in structural engineering, Gautham has honed his passions for bridge and building design, earthquake analysis, finite element modeling, and structural inspections and investigations. Gautham has been a member of the Ghafari structural team since 2012, supporting projects in the automotive, industrial, education, and aviation sectors. A licensed engineer in four states, he holds a Master of Science in civil engineering from The Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelor of Technology in civil engineering from the National Institute of Technology in Bhopal, India.

Ghafari’s project, the Ford Motor Company’s Vehicle Performance and Electrification Center (VPEC), was the recipient of a 2021 ESD Construction + Design Award. Working in partnership with Ford, Stenco Construction, and Jacobs, Ghafari served as the designer of the VPEC, a revolutionary research and testing facility situated on a 14-acre campus in Allen Park, Michigan where the automaker tests vehicles to achieve even greater fuel efficiency and performance.

The $200 million, 210,000 SF facility includes three attached buildings featuring the most technologically advanced wind tunnel of its kind in the world capable of speeds of up to 200 mph. It also incorporates a state-of-the-art rolling road system, a traversing measurement system, a cutting edge frontal area measurement system, and a variety of battery cyclers and environmental chambers, as well as multiple offices and work areas.

2022 ESD Awards 2 Body

The advanced rolling road wind tunnel and battery testing labs at the new VPEC facility were an investment by Ford to continue their work developing technologies to reduce vehicle energy consumption. The ability to test vehicles in the upgraded labs will provide a more accurate picture of what to expect when vehicles hit the road for testing and production so that they don’t need to make as many changes later in the process. This facility will have a lasting impact on the surrounding community not only through the creation of more jobs, but also because it was designed to allow for future flexibility.

2022 ESD Awards 3 Body