Ian Magor with a car engine

Recent graduate is in the groove

Aug. 24, 2017 - Susan T. Burtch

In NASCAR parlance – and the life of Ian Magor -- “the groove” refers to the best route around the racetrack. Magor discovered his sweet spot at ECR Engines thanks to a VCU BS in Business degree with a concentration in Supply Chain Management and Analytics.

Three months out of college, “I’m now an engineer for NASCAR,” says Magor with awe. “I never saw myself ending up here. I didn’t realize I could work as an engineer without an engineering degree. The people I work with have an engineering background, but I have a business degree.”

The right place at the right time

There’s a bit of serendipity in every story. VCU didn’t even have a Supply Chain Management and Analytics Department when Magor entered college in 2009. But he left VCU in 2011, earned a Motor Sports Technology degree at a community college, and took a job at Performance Automotive. 

“Yet through this experience in automotive manufacturing, I realized I still wanted a bachelor’s degree. I wanted to further my career, so I came back to VCU. And now, they had this supply chain management program. I didn’t realize that was even a thing until I started working in manufacturing.”

Simulated business success

Magor particularly remembers one Supply Chain class exercise in which four team members ran a simulated business. They had to manage all aspects of their hypothetical microchip company, from design and production to financials and marketing. “And at the end of the day, our company made the most money and had the highest stock price in the class.”

Today Magor designs parts to improve the performance and reliability of NASCAR’s racing engines. “I draw on my manufacturing background,” he says. “I have a good understanding of tolerances and fit. But I also use my supply chain knowledge to understand all the steps in that process. It’s not just about design or manufacture. It’s more about how that part is implemented and used for the environment it lives in. Forward-thinking is the mindset. You’ve got to see the big picture.”

Magor does. “My dream is to eventually get back to the business side of things,” he says. “One day I want to own or help run a race car team.”