Velodyne Lidar, Inc. announced the promotion of Rick Tewell to Chief Operating Officer. Tewell assumes leadership of the company’s vast manufacturing efforts at its Megafactory in San Jose, California.
He joined the company in September 2017 as Senior Vice President of Automated Manufacturing and was promoted to Chief Advanced Manufacturing Officer prior to the promotion to COO. He brings a wealth of expertise to the day-to-day production of Velodyne’s industry-leading lidar sensor product line.
According to Marta Hall, Velodyne’s President and Chief Business Development Officer said, “Velodyne recruited Rick Tewell to manage Robotics and Advanced Technology, and within a year it was clear he could lead Operations as COO. In the last three months Rick upgraded the entire Velodyne Megafactory with robotics and newly designed innovative processes for production. As COO he brings a futuristic vision and fresh energy to the operations of the company.”
Tewell said, “My main responsibility is to take a design that came from the mind of a genius, David Hall (Velodyne’s Founder and CEO), and make it into a product worthy of the Velodyne name. I work with David and Anand Gopalan, (Velodyne’s Chief Technology Officer) to translate these wonderful designs that have the ability to change the world into something that is manufacturable and then ramp production to meet the demand. To take an invention from Dave Hall and turn it into a manufacturable product is a huge responsibility and one that I take very seriously. It’s an incredible opportunity. I get out of bed excited to go to work, and I go to bed thinking about it.”
Before coming to Velodyne, Tewell established a successful career in the automotive semiconductor industry, including stops at Fujitsu and Nvidia. Rick said, “The idea that cars eventually would be robots emerged while Dave Hall was participating in the DARPA Grand Challenge. At Nvidia we were creating the brains that would be used in self-driving cars.”
Tewell’s interest and experience in developing key technologies for autonomous mobility grew over the years. Finally, Tewell decided to join Velodyne with the clear realisation that he would be aligning with a company that will be one of, if not the, principal company in the self-driving industry.
Tewell recognises the essential role Velodyne’s products have in enabling safe mobility at scale. “We are working hard to meet the next wave of demand for sensors to put on autonomous vehicles. Scaling up will drive the cost down to where the price is attractive to all customers. But we will never compromise on quality. It is critical from an operations standpoint that our product will ultimately impact someone’s life. This is not a piece of technology that is going to stay in a box. When you put a sensor on a car the person in that car is trusting that technology to keep them safe,” he added.
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