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Employee Spotlight – Julie Briffa


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Meet Julie Briffa, Test Engineer on our Kapuskasing Cold Weather Testing team! (Brrr...we know!)

1. How long have you been at GM and what is your current role?

I worked at GM on a 16 month co-op term from May 2015 through to August 2016. I came back to GM full-time in Sept 2017, in the Engineering Development Opportunity (EDO) rotational program. My current role is a cold weather durability test engineer in Kapuskasing.

2. What brought you to GM for your coop and career?

I’ve always been interested in cars and the automotive industry, and I think there is a lot of growth and potential with the emergence of new technologies. I find the race for autonomous vehicles really exciting from both an engineering and a societal standpoint. I liked that GM has an engineering division in the Greater Toronto Area, so I could stay close to my family and friends. I also really enjoy the work we are doing here. The people are great, and the company’s goals and values seem to really be pushing us in the right direction.

3. What do you enjoy best about GM’s rotational program?

I love being able to get a taste of so many different facets of engineering, meet new people and work at other sites.

4. What is the best part about your job?

Definitely the people I work with! In all of my positions, both as a student and full-time, everyone that I work with wants to succeed and comes to work with a positive attitude. The work itself is really interesting and there’s always something new to learn. There’s also so many activities going on after work, like trampoline dodgeball, hockey and the annual controls camping trip.

5. What’s your favourite GM vehicle?

I love the Cadillac CTS-V, it’s so refined yet super powerful. I had the opportunity to drive one both on public roads and at Mosport Raceway, and it’s a blast wherever you take it.

6. Are you a night owl or early bird?

Definitely an early bird – I’m usually in the office between 6:30 and 7:30am. I find I can get so much work done in the morning when the office is still quiet, and it gives me time to get organized and prepared for everything going on that day.

7. If you could have one superpower what would it be?

I’d love to be able to teleport! It would make travelling around the world a breeze, and no more sitting in traffic!

8. What’s your favourite 90’s jam?

This one is tough; there are so many great 90’s songs! Currently “You Get What You Give – New Radicals” has re-appeared at the top my playlist. But there are a ton of great artists I still listen to… Backstreet Boys, No Doubt, TLC, Smashmouth, Counting Crows, Alanis Morissette, etc. You can’t go wrong with a 90’s playlist!

9. What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you recently?

There are a ton of funny experiences that I’ve had since moving up to Kapuskasing and experiencing temperatures in the -30’s, sometimes close to -50 °C with the wind chill. When looking for an apartment, they all advertised “vehicle plug-ins” – which surprised me since I didn’t think there would be many electric cars up here. I soon realized they are for plugging in your vehicle so it will start in the cold. I also found out that pens stop working in the -20’s and -30’s, so notes outside have to be done in pencil. For the first time in my life, I’ve referred to -15 °C as warm. I’m sure I will have many more stories by the time the winter is over!