College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Visions Across America: Matt Dunker

Written by Carole Gieseke – Chief Communications Officer, Iowa State University Alumni Association

Photography by Jim Heemstra

173f0551Matt Dunker scraped together enough money to buy his first car when he was still too young to drive it. It was a red 1966 Ford Mustang. He was 15 years old.

“It was a great-looking car,” he recalls wistfully. “It was like dating a supermodel.”

Cars have always been Matt’s passion.

“I was one of those kids whose bedroom was filled with car magazines,” he says. “I’ve lived and breathed cars since I was 14 or 15.”

So it’s no surprise that Matt (’00 mechanical engineering) went to work for Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Mich.

He likens his job as a vehicle designer to an architect or contractor of a house. “From a mechanical standpoint, I make sure parts fit in the vehicle and that anything mechanical meets its functional requirements.”

Matt works on select new car models, specifically focusing on turbo-charged engines for fuel economy and performance. Vehicle safety is also a big part of the design process, so he interfaces regularly with Ford’s safety team.

His passion for cars has never diminished. His best-loved car was a 1988 Ford Thunderbird turbo coup (“the car that got me into turbo chargers”). He now drives a sporty little Mazda RX8.

“I have a great job,” he says. “I design cars.”

The story was written as part of the ISU Alumni Association’s 3-year VISIONS Across America project and first appeared here.