Like most larger companies, Tesla tightly controls its employees’ interactions with the press. The celebrity execs hold court with a selected circle of hip media outlets, but the rank-and-file employees are trained to avoid reporters like dangerous sharks. So Business Insider scored quite a coup when it secured permission to speak with four employees who have “some of the coolest jobs at Tesla.”
Staff Manufacturing Engineer Sheena Patterson is quite eloquent about her job creating the robotic equipment that makes Tesla’s vehicles. “The factory is the symphony, and the car is the song,” she says. The conductors of that symphony are key employees at Tesla, which is counting on its ability to improve “the machine that builds the machine.”
Patterson started at Tesla just as it was launching Model X. She designed a robot that’s a part of the Model S/X assembly line — named Gambit, after a member of the X-Men, its job is to apply adhesive to glass panels.
Patterson is now working on the new highly automated Model 3 assembly line. Her daily work routine depends on where the company is at in its production schedule. When cars aren’t being mass-produced, she makes calls to suppliers and conducts design reviews. Once a vehicle is in production, however, the day starts with a walk on the assembly line. “It’s been running all night,” she says. “You might have been getting calls; you might not. Sometimes no news is good news.”