Wake Tech News

College Leadership

New Dean of Transportation Programs

RALEIGH, N.C. (March 13, 2024) – Wake Tech is excited to welcome Rick Sapienza as the new dean of its Transportation Technologies Division.

In this role, Sapienza will provide leadership and oversight for the college's academic transportation programs, including the high-demand Automotive Systems Technology and Collision Repair & Refinishing Technologies degrees. He will also manage the operations and serve as director of the Hendrick Center for Automotive Excellence on the Scott Northern Wake Campus, where the programs are based.

The Hendrick Center is also home to several manufacturer master tech programs, as well as short-term, non-degree automotive training. The 100,000-square-foot training facility serves as an employment pipeline for the Triangle region's automotive dealerships. Its programs generate a skilled workforce capable of servicing the latest vehicle technologies, including hybrid and all-electric vehicles.

Sapienza has more than 35 years of experience, serving in various leadership and teaching roles in the automotive industry. For the past 12 years, he has worked at the NC Clean Energy Technology Center at North Carolina State University, serving as Clean Transportation Program director and most recently as industry partnership director. In these roles, he collaborated with industry, government and academia to expand alternative fuels and infrastructure throughout North Carolina, the Southeast and North America. He is the originator and host of the Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference and webinar series. Earlier in his career, he worked for a decade at General Motors in vehicle testing, advanced vehicle development and program management.

Sapienza has a passion for education and driving development, commercialization and adoption of new technologies.

"Transportation in the movement of people and goods is paramount to the function of our society and economy. We need properly functioning vehicles and equipment to keep things moving. I am excited to be joining the Wake Tech community and to help develop the next generation to keep us up and running,” he said.

Sapienza holds an MBA from Michigan State University, as well as an MS in Ocean Engineering and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Learn more about the college's transportation education programs at transportation.waketech.edu.

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March 2024

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