Oakland alumnus takes on silicon valley

Tesla Inc., a high profile automotive company in Silicon Valley, is currently being influenced by a recent Oakland University alumnus.

Tesla is an automotive company that manufactures fully electric vehicles and most recently Elon Musk, the creator helped send a car into space titled Space X. One of the business models is to create more affordable and accessible clean transportation.

Rob Meyer graduated from Oakland in 2008 with a degree in business management. Meyer is from the Lake Orion community, and during his time at OU, he was the student body president.

Lizabeth Barclay, Meyer’s former professor for Intro to Organizational Behavior (ORG 3300), a course required of all undergraduate SBA majors, remembers his work ethic.

“He actively participated and asked questions. He engaged the material and saw applications to his work and life,” Lizabeth Barclay said.

Meyer became involved in the automotive world when he took an internship at Continental, a tier 1 automotive supplier. He worked there until 2012 and, after a job offer, moved to Ford Motor Company which involved traveling to China and hopes to travel abroad again soon. This led to Tesla recruiting him in 2015 where he has been working ever since.

The position Meyer has at Tesla is global supply manager, specifically for all the vehicle’s safety systems. This includes airbags and seatbelts, steering wheels and also sensors inside cars. Meyer negotiates contracts with suppliers while working cross functionally with the engineering, finance and manufacturing departments and maintaining relationships with Tesla’s innovative suppliers.

Along with the other skills, Meyer stated that staying in “ludicrous mode” is key. Ludicrous mode is a new setting within new vehicles Tesla is producing. It allows the car to speed from 0 to 60 mph in under three seconds.

“Having the ability to solve problems, adapt quickly and keep an open mind definitely helped me secure a job at Tesla,” Meyer said.

Critical thinking is key component for those working in the automotive field. It is often a course goal for various professors who teach at OU.

According to Meyer, stresses that working for a company that a person believes in and actually wants to work in is the key for future careers. Networking in any industry is necessary as well as being proactive and being readily available for future employer opportunities.

Currently Meyer resides in San Francisco, Cali., which is about a 45 minute commute from Palo Alto or Silicon Valley. For reference, San Francisco is about  2,400 miles away from Meyer’s Alma Mater of OU.

“I am a huge advocate for Detroit. However, I always believed that there is also an entire world out there to explore,” Meyer said.

Fear is often an accompaniment of change regardless of how far a job might require a future employee to go. Fear is temporary and there will always be another opportunity waiting. There will always be a period of adjustment.

Meyer stresses that there are a significant number of opportunities often more than students realize. OU has a lot of resources at student’s fingerprints along with internships and workshops.

“Don’t scare yourself into thinking you can’t do more or reach for the high cherries,” Meyer said. “Get yourself involved and continue thriving.”