Doug Duchardt: Life in the fast lane

Doug Duchardt, ME’87, pictured above, right, is living life in the fast lane and there doesn’t seem to be any slowing him down.


“The fastest I’ve ever gone was at the GM Proving Grounds, and it was more than 150 mph,” he admits. “That is about as fast as I need to go.”

“The fastest I’ve ever gone was at the GM Proving Grounds, and it was more than 150 mph. That is about as fast as I need to go.”

Duchardt, who has had a passion for racing since his youth, “didn’t have any interest in business, law or medicine,” though he did well in math and science during high school.
“My father worked for Caterpillar and he explained to me what an engineer was and what an engineer would do. … It intrigued me.”
The Morton, Ill., native began working with General Motors in 1983 after his freshman year of college at Missouri S&T.
“They had interviews for co-op jobs at various places. I got an offer from General Motors to join Buick in Flint, Mich., and that’s what I did.”
Duchardt worked his way up the ranks after graduation. In 1986, he began working with GM’s racing group as a co-op student. In 1996, he returned as the NASCAR engine manager, eventually being promoted to the executive responsible for all racing programs at GM in 2003. The program included NASCAR, IndyCar and the Corvette Le Mans program.
“That was an awesome job and I enjoyed it a lot,” Duchardt says. “It was the position I wanted at GM.”
However, he would not stay in that job long.
In 2004, a devastating plane accident near Martinsville, Va., claimed the lives of 10 people in the racing world. Those lost included members of Rick Hendrick’s family. After the accident, Hendrick, chair and CEO of Hendrick Motorsports, called Duchardt and asked if he would join his company to help him out.
“I was very honored by that,” says Duchardt. “Rick and I had worked together and had a good rapport.”
Duchardt and his family moved to Charlotte, N.C., in 2005 and he began working for Hendrick Motorsports. Currently, he is vice president of development, a position that oversees race-car evolution through design, engineering and production of the chassis, body and engine areas.
Although it may seem Duchardt has a dream job because he works with famous racecar drivers, he offers a different perspective.
“If you have passion for your job, if it’s something you love to do and there is a little bit of you on Friday afternoon that can’t wait for Monday morning, then that’s your dream job.”

Around the Puck

“Forged in Gold: Missouri S&T’s First 150 Years”

In the 1870s, Rolla seemed an unlikely location for a new college. There were only about 1,400 residents in a community with more saloons than houses of worship. There were no paved streets, sewers or water mains. To visitors, there seemed to be as many dogs, hogs, horses, ducks and geese as humans walking the dusty streets.

[Read More...]

By the numbers: Fall/Winter 2019

[Read More...]

Bringing clean water to South America

Assessing water quality, surveying mountaintop locations and building systems to catch rainwater — that’s how members of S&T’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders spent their summer break.

[Read More...]

Geothermal goals exceeded

After five years of operation, Missouri S&T’s geothermal energy system continues to outperform expectations. S&T facilities operations staff originally predicted the geothermal system would reduce campus water usage by over 10% — roughly 10 million gallons per year. The system, which went online in May 2014, cut actual water usage by 18 million to 20 […]

[Read More...]

What happens in Vegas…may appear in print

In his latest volume of Las Vegas lore, historian Larry Gragg says it was deliberate publicity strategies that changed the perception of Sin City from a regional tourist destination where one could legally gamble and access legalized prostitution just outside the city limits, to a family vacation spot filled with entertainment options and surrounded by […]

[Read More...]