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Spartans at Work: At Tesla, "It's Just a Great Work Environment to Learn and to Challenge Yourself"

By Sarah Kyo, Web Communications Specialist

(This summer, SJSU Today hit the road, visiting students and recent grads on the job across the country and around the world. Our Spartans at Work series continues with former exchange student Marc Gagnon.)

When considering U.S. exchange programs, Canadian Marc Gagnon had one ultimate goal: to eventually work for electric car company Tesla Motors. SJSU’s location made the school an ideal option.

“Tesla has an office in Palo Alto and the manufacturing plant is in Fremont, so, you know, San Jose is right in between the two,” he said, “and it made a lot of sense to come to San Jose State, and it was the right choice and a great experience.”

Gagnon took engineering classes during Spring 2011, while living at SJSU International House, a dormitory for U.S. and international students. While he wished he could have continued on for an additional semester, his brief taste of Silicon Valley solidified that that was where he wanted to be after graduation.

Silicon Valley is where Gagnon is at today, after earning a mechanical engineering degree from ETS (École de technologie supérieure) in Montreal. In May, he started a new job as a mechanical engineer in Tesla’s Closures Design group, which works on doors, hoods and trunks. Whether it’s the front trunk of the recent Model S or the “falcon wing” doors of the upcoming Model X, Gagnon and his diverse team are problem solvers who try to make cool features work as smoothly as possible. After his time at SJSU, he is grateful for the opportunity to follow his dream.

“I think it’s part of Silicon Valley,” he said. “People come from all over the world to work here, and the people who come here are very motivated about being here, and they want to work hard to make it happen.”