Austin Community College District (ACC) announces Ernest Afuta as the new IMPACT Lab Manager. Afuta has an extensive background in advanced manufacturing, from prototype development to production and operations management.

Afuta holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Lean Six Sigma from Indiana State University. He previously worked at the Tesla Gigafactory as the supervisor for the Body in White Maintenance Department. In this role, he was instrumental in overseeing the equipment installation phase and production scale-up of the Gigafactory. He also built teams, which included hiring and training new members. Additionally, he was responsible for maintenance operations and implementing process improvements on highly automated equipment, ensuring optimal performance and efficiency.

“My initial encounter with ACC occurred when I met coworkers who had completed the Tesla Start Program at ACC, and I was thoroughly impressed. Many of my colleagues, who had already earned bachelor’s degrees from university, were opting to join the Tesla Start program to acquire practical experience. Given my enduring passion for teaching, which has been with me since my own student days, I knew it would be an integral part of my career journey,” says Afuta. “Consequently, I made the decision to join the ACC advanced manufacturing team on a part-time basis, motivated by the profound impact it had on my coworkers. Witnessing the achievements of the Impact Lab and recognizing its potential, I committed to joining it full time as the manager, determined to facilitate its progression to the next level.”

ACC’s IMPACT Lab serves as an incubator for advanced manufacturing and an advanced manufacturing training facility for ACC students. As the new manager for the Lab, Afuta will manage the daily operations and maintenance of the Lab. This includes managing lab equipment, staff, and ACC’s partner companies as well as instructional and training lab activities.  

Learn more about ACC’s IMPACT Lab here.