Egbert Bakker

Technical leader for vehicle dynamics at Volvo

In a relatively short time, the job requirements for an engineer have changed significantly. Like so many other professions, being computer literate is now a standard skill that no longer distinguishes or sets apart but is just expected.

Individuals, like Egbert Bakker, have witnessed at first hand the dramatic transformation that has taken place. In Bakker's case, he has done so all at one company. A loyal Volvo employee, he has been with the OEM for 31 years. “There has been an enormous change in the way we work,” he says. “When I first started, we had drawing boards in all of the offices and now there is not a single one left.”

Currently technical leader for vehicle dynamics at Volvo, Bakker has stayed in the vehicle dynamics field his entire career. When he started out, computer-aided engineering was infrequently used. The technology was in its early development stages and could only offer limited benefits. Since that time, the understanding of its advantages have grown along with the sophistication of the technology.

“In the early days,” he says, “perhaps we built vehicles earlier on in the project and developed in the car, but now we are working more and more in CAE. So now we are much more efficient as we do a lot of the calculation work before the first prototype vehicle is even built. It means that the first car built now has a much higher status than previously, which makes development much faster and less costly.”

Beginning a vehicle dynamics career when he did could have caused him some difficulties but he was able to adjust well to the changing world he was entering as he had been exposed to CAE while at university in the Netherlands. Not only did his mechanical engineering degree at Delft University of Technology prepare him for his career, but Bakker has his professor to thank for the opportunity to work at Volvo.

“Volvo was involved in a project with the university and they asked my professor if he could think of somebody that could be interested to start working for them,” says Bakker. “I had always talked about Volvo when I was a boy so the professor said he knew someone, and it was me.”

tags: December 2015 Volvo