Colleagues and car guys

Alumni find professional challenges, success at Ford

Feature Image
From left are Mikhail Minevich, Vladimir V. Bogachuk and Shawn Morgans, Watson alumni and Ford engineers. They’re pictured with Morgans’ Ford F-150; he also owns a Ford Fusion. Bogachuk drives a Ford Explorer, while Minevich’s choice is the Lincoln MKZ.

As a boy, Shawn Morgans ’92, MS ’94, helped his father restore an old Willys truck and a 1968 Mustang. Today, he helps design and bring Mustangs (and other Fords and Lincolns) to market for new generations in America, China, Europe and beyond.

At Binghamton, Morgans earned bachelor’s degrees in physics and mechanical engineering through the University’s five-year, 3-2 physics and engineering program before getting a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. Within a week of receiving final approval for his master’s thesis, he joined Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Mich. Twenty-one years later he’s still with Ford.

As body-structures technical leader, Morgans works with the body-structures engineering team to resolve technical issues — generating and approving new specifications, test requirements and rules that guide design of future projects. He also monitors design changes to ensure compliance with federal safety requirements, primarily roof-strength regulations.

Morgans is also the North American applications manager for front-end and underbody. He leads approximately 60 engineers who work on the sheet-metal parts comprising the front end and underbody of all vehicles designed in Dearborn. Morgans has worked on vehicles including the Ford F-150, Explorer, Escape, Mustang, Fusion and Edge as well as the Lincoln MKC, MKX and MKZ.

“It has always been my goal to make people’s lives better with technology and products that I help design and create.” —Mikhail Minevich ’13, MS ’14

“I have always needed to know how things work, and that was what got me going down this path,” Morgans says. And after 21 years, he understands that what he does impacts many people every day. “From time to time we get letters from customers who have been in — or have known someone who has been in — a serious accident in one of the vehicles I have helped design and walked away with only minor injuries. Knowing that I had a part in keeping them safe makes me realize I made the right choice.”

Morgans isn’t the only Bearcat at Ford. Vladimir V. Bogachuk ’10, MS ’12, and Mikhail Minevich ’13, MS ’14, work in the same product-development center. In fact, Morgans was on the hiring committees for both Binghamton alumni./

As a core body-structures, front-end and underbody engineer, Bogachuk is responsible for developing technologies that improve performance (including product safety and comfort) of existing and future Ford and Lincoln vehicles. He also works closely with suppliers to guarantee federal safety regulations are followed. As a result of his effort on projects he can’t discuss, Bogachuk has won Ford’s Engineer of Month award twice, once in 2013 and again last year.

“I’m very fortunate because I go to work at Ford and have fun, although some people would call it hard work,” he says.

Hard work is nothing new for Bogachuk, who carried an enormous workload in the undergraduate and graduate mechanical engineering programs at Watson. He often took 24 credits rather than the typical 16 or 18 and wrestled for the University as a freshman and sophomore. In his junior year, Bogachuk joined the research labs of Professor Frank Cardullo and Chair and Distinguished Professor Ron Miles. He continued that work as a graduate student and served as a teaching assistant for Associate Professor Roy McGrann.

Minevich was one of Bogachuk’s students in McGrann’s machine-design course. He joined Ford in 2014 as part of the Ford College Graduate Program, a 32-month initiative that provides recent graduates with experience in a number of fields through six-month, rotating assignments before settling them in a fixed role.

A product safety engineer, Minevich spent time on Ford’s side-impact crash team observing live crashes to learn about vehicle safety before moving to his second and current assignment as part of the restraints team. Working in Ontario, Canada, Minevich analyzes and addresses any design-related, manufacturing or quality issues that relate to restraints (such as airbags and seat belts) during the launch phase of the 2016 Lincoln MKX.

“Ford really stands out to me because they’re continuously making progress and innovating in fields like safety, quality, smart technology and automation,” Minevich says. “It has always been my goal to make people’s lives better with technology and products that I help design and create.”

Morgans, Bogachuk and Minevich all agree that Watson provided them with a foundation for success at Ford.

“The ability to think on my feet and to reason through difficult problems are the skills that have helped me the most here,” Morgans says. “I came out of Binghamton with an understanding of how to approach an issue or a problem logically, which has greatly aided me in being able to assess a situation quickly and develop a plan to address the issues at hand.”

“Watson also allowed me to take part in several engineering projects that brought theory into practice, and that gave me the understanding of what it takes to help produce a safe and intelligent vehicle,” Minevich says.

Bogachuk says teamwork, work ethics and project management are a few of the skills he took away from Watson. Most important, however, “I learned to be a good engineer at Binghamton,” he says. “I learned that engineering is thinking out of the box and coming up with the best solution for the problem. I learned that if there’s a problem, there has to be a solution.” ■