Frank Della Pia

Executive Director

Frank Della Pia is the Executive Director of the Global Center for Automotive Performance (GCAPS). He joined GCAPS in 2010 and is responsible for leading all operations. Prior to GCAPS, Della Pia spent 34 years working in various positions within General Motors, including in vehicle development, vehicle dynamics, manufacturing and test lab management. He graduated from Michigan State University’s School of Packaging Engineering and is a motorsports and vehicle enthusiast with a focus on the new technologies coming to the transportation industry.


Jonathan Darab

Operations Director

Jonathan Darab is the Operations Director for the Global Center for Automotive Performance Simulation (GCAPS). His responsibilities include new business development, technical sales, customer relations, and new technology development. Before joining GCAPS, Darab spent 12 years at General Motors in a variety of positions ranging from design to testing to manufacturing quality, with the majority being in vehicle dynamics. In these roles, he operated servo-hydraulic equipment for vehicle dynamics characterization, conducted advanced development of suspensions, and developed equipment and test procedures for advanced vehicle and tire testing. Darab has a B.S in Mechanical Engineering and a M.S in Global Vehicle Integration. He holds four patents in tire and suspensions.


Dr. Kevin Kefauver

Technical Director

Dr. Kevin Kefauver is the Technical Director for the Global Center for Automotive Performance Simulation (GCAPS). In this role, Dr. Kefauver directs the research and development of test techniques, data analyses, controls development, and modeling and simulation advances for advanced vehicle development. Currently, Dr. Kefauver is developing processes for reducing Naturalistic Driving Data into appropriate datasets and vehicle dynamic simulations that allow ADAS and ADS developers to evaluate and improve their systems. Dr. Kefauver has extensive experience in vehicle dynamic testing, modeling, and simulation. His experience also includes vehicle testing and advanced data analysis while with Dale Earnhardt Incorporated and the U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center at the Roadway Simulator facility.


Cliff Hodges

Technical Specialist

Cliff Hodges is the Technical Specialist at the Global Center for Automotive Performance Simulation (GCAPS). His responsibilities include test preparation and logistics, direct customer interaction, data analysis, and business development. Since joining GCAPS in 2014, Mr. Hodges has held multiple positions within the company, including: machine operator, test engineer, and test execution manager. He has also been heavily involved in development projects relating to surface studies, wet testing, motorsports, and tire models.


Dr. Lauri Mustonen

Research Engineer

Dr. Lauri Mustonen is a Research Engineer for the Global Center for Automotive Performance Simulation (GCAPS). His focus is on developing algorithms and tools for intelligent vehicles and for analyzing large sets of vehicle and traffic data. Dr. Mustonen has expertise in scientific computing, physics, partial differential equations, and Bayesian statistics. He received his doctoral degree in mathematics at Aalto University, Finland, and also has postdoctoral research experience at Emory University, GA, and Stanford University, CA.


Dr. Yi Li

Modeling and Simulation Engineer

Dr. Yi Li is the lead Modeling and Simulation Engineer for the Global Center for Automotive Performance Simulation (GCAPS). He specializes in the field of tire mechanics and the mathematical modeling of tire behavior. His knowledge of multi-body dynamics and continuous mechanics enables him to advance the tire model development and parameter identification capability at GCAPS. Dr. Li has five years’ experience in Finite Element modeling of large-scale linear and nonlinear mechanical systems involving geometric and constitutive nonlinearity. His work also includes model validation to correlate model predictions with physical tests.


Alex Hatchett

Sponsored Projects Operations Manager

Alex Hatchett is the Sponsored Projects Operations Manager for the Global Center for Automotive Performance Simulation (GCAPS). Hatchett is known for his detail-oriented approach to design and his dedication to his projects, which include advertising, web design, 3-D modeling, scenario authoring, and virtual environment Development. He started at GCAPS in 2017 as a Machine Operator of the LTRe, before joining the autonomous vehicle simulation program as creative lead and later, Sponsored Projects Operations Manager. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Graphic Design from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.


Patrick Haley

Test & Simulation Engineer

Patrick Haley is a Test & Simulation Engineer for the Global Center for Automotive Performance Simulation (GCAPS). His areas of expertise include multi-post shaker rig testing and vehicle tuning, data acquisition, data analysis, electronics, and autonomous vehicle simulation and development. He is a skilled and dedicated engineer with excellent work ethic and strong problem-solving abilities while being both customer and goal oriented, committed to producing results. Haley’s commitment to excellence aligns with GCAPS’s organization philosophy to solve difficult problems and develop unique solutions. joined the GCAPS team in 2014 upon graduating from the University of Maryland.


Ben Dawson

Sponsored Testing Operations Manager

Ben Dawson is the Sponsored Testing Operations Manager for the Global Center for Automotive Performance Simulation (GCAPS). He oversees the day-to-day functions of the tire test lab and is responsible for facilitating the efficient use of resources to complete projects within their established time frames. Dawson initially joined the GCAPS team as a Financial and Operations Analyst, providing administrative, budgetary, and scheduling support for the Business Manager and previous Operations Managers. Previously, Dawson worked as a Grant Assistant for the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission.


Veronda Osborne

Business Manager

Veronda Osborne is the Business Manager for the Global Center for Automotive Performance Simulation (GCAPS). In her role, Osborne has developed and implemented business processes to facilitate smooth operations for the organization while ensuring compliance with all applicable rules and regulations. She is an experienced business manager with a demonstrated history of working in the research industry, and is skilled in accounting, management, payroll, recruiting, human resources and purchasing. Osborne received a Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) from Averett University and an Associate Degree in Accounting from Danville Community College.


Kenneth Erdner

Test Engineer

Kenneth Erdner is the Test Engineer for the Global Center for Automotive Performance Simulation (GCAPS). Kenneth has helped GCAPS customers prepare their test plans and analyze their data over the past six years. He is also one of the lead developers in wet testing capabilities and wet braking testing on the LTRe Flat Trac tire test machine. Previously, Erdner worked for ten years as an auto mechanic. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technologies from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte.


Dr. Satori

GCAPS leader of awakening, comprehension and understanding

Dr. Satori is the GCAPS leader of awakening, comprehension and understanding. He holds the vision of work to be done in the virtual and a solid link to the physical world in which all things come back to. Dr. Satori graduated in 1972 from the University of Not-To-Be-Named in Tire Mechanics and Mathematics. He studies math and physics…for fun. Dr. Satori’s favorite author is Douglas R. Hofstadter. He lives in Southern VA with his cat Miss Yvonne.




Desh is a new member of the world’s robotic community. Born in late 2019 in the GCAPS lab, Desh has an insatiable need for knowledge--to learn how to take information from the physical world and apply it to rapid advanced learnings in the virtual realm. Desh loves all kinds of motorsports, vehicle dynamics, and control systems. Desh has no animals for pets but likes to have people around to glean information from.