U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria Herro Mustafa visited Visteon’s leading European technology center in Sofia to learn more about the company’s global leadership in automotive electronics and its work with local technical high schools and universities to develop future talent.
“We are proud of Visteon’s work and the impact you have made in Bulgaria and the industry as a whole,” said Mustafa, who credited the site as an example of strong economic ties between Bulgaria and the United States.
Mustafa had an in-depth look at the employees and programs that make Sofia the backbone and full project management hub for Visteon’s operations in Europe.
A strong team is at the center of the site’s continued growth, Ivan Mihaylov, country manager for Visteon in Bulgaria and Romania, explained to the ambassador. For 20 years, the Bulgaria team has grown in numbers and expertise to develop, deliver and maintain more than 250 programs with global carmakers.
“Our team is a major competitive advantage because we have the best engineers in the business,” Mihaylov said. “Most of our talent is homegrown – they can remain in Bulgaria with their families and friends while working on projects with global impact.”
While discussing the local business environment and workforce potential with plant leaders, the ambassador recognized the site for establishing and nurturing ties with academic facilities to create a large talent pool for the global automotive industry.
Visteon has partnered with The Technical University, Sofia over an educational engineering initiative, to create a four-year Automotive Electronics degree-based program with a curriculum that incorporates modern theories and best practices within auto today. The unique program has no equivalent in Bulgaria’s educational system. It incorporates modern theories and best practices within industry, covering a wide range of topics such as specialized electronics modules, process monitoring and vehicle control systems – from concept design to product testing. Members of Visteon’s team are regular lecturers.
The company offers students opportunities to gain practical experience during internship programs, summer practices and its in-house engineering academy that has graduated more than 90 participants, with half remaining at Visteon as employees.
Visteon also supports a high school in the city of Burgas that teaches computer programming, offering courses on software technologies, artificial intelligence and mechantronics to more than 100 students.
“As an industry leader, we continuously support automotive technology education across the country,” said Alexandra Goujgoulova, Human Resources manager, during discussions with the ambassador. “One does not become an engineer with a short training course – engineering is a mindset requiring years to learn the theories, which is why we work closely with local technical high schools and universities.”