Manager, Data Sciences

Sergio Mendoza

Sergio Mendoza Spotlight

Exponent is the place that clients call with a great variety of fascinating projects. My areas of expertise include lithium-ion batteries, algorithms for battery estimation and diagnostics, and protocol design for data collection efforts for machine learning algorithms training for different industries.

Sergio Mendoza Ph.D.


Making a Contribution

My background is in controls engineering. I've done a lot of work on improving the quality, accuracy, and precision for the state of health and state of charge for batteries.  

As a manager consultant at Exponent, I work on two main fronts. One of those is battery consulting from a systems level. A client at an electric car company may call me up and say, "I want to have a charging strategy that minimizes the time it takes for an electric vehicle to charge, but I don't want to damage the battery in that process." We can then construct tests in our large Natick battery lab to answer, how will the battery age? How can you estimate that it's getting old? How can we improve the quality, accuracy, and precision for the state of health and state of charge for batteries?  

We get the interesting calls. 

I also work on machine learning studies. We have significant experience at Exponent in this area, with study sites around the country and the world. Battery model-based estimation, diagnostics, machine learning, and AI are all part of our toolbox. 

Our Global Impact 

It's very satisfying to know that you worked on the improvement or solution of a product, and to see that greater impact on making the world safer and more sustainable.  

If you consider your phone when you have 50% battery left — that percentage is tied to an estimation algorithm. When your phone ages, how accurate is the battery then? Will the battery drop to 20% in ten minutes? Now think about that scenario, but with an electric vehicle. The car estimates you have about 100 miles left on the battery charge, and you're about to drive on the highway. You want that estimation to be accurate for safety and convenience. Now consider a hospital setting, where a person's life is dependent upon a medical device with a charged battery pack. You need to have certainty that the health of a battery is there when you need it. 

We contribute to the future of electrification. 

Humanity has made great progress on identifying materials that have higher capacity, that store more energy. And as industries continue to adopt lithium-ion batteries, it's important for companies to keep in mind that battery energy and thermal management is very important to mitigate any risk of battery failure and optimize battery performance.  

The demand and need for electrification innovations are here, and we are working towards a better use of resources. There's more work to be done.  

Client Relationships Matter 

As a scientific and engineering consultant, you're always building relationships. Over time, your expertise and reputation provide greater visibility in the firm, and in the field. You earn trust. And when clients have problems that need a solution, you eventually become their go-to person. Through client relationships, you can identify more of the problems that you want to solve, and really drive your career where you want it to go. 

My clients know that I will get answers for them. 

I am always conscience about the resources my client has, the timelines they must meet, and the budget for a project. We provide data-driven life cycle management. Integrity and trust are key. As a consultant, our expertise is our service.   

Success at Exponent 

When people join the firm, I recommend they get involved in as many different things as possible. The more exposure you get, the more people you know, the more things you'll learn. As you network and get involved in more projects, you are increasing the likelihood of your colleagues to refer more projects to you. If you want to publish papers and attend conferences, you can continue to do those things. Get involved. Learn as much as you can. Listen and contribute. Those initiatives will contribute to your success here.

You will find quality relationships here.

Don't be afraid to connect — my colleagues are my friends as well. I was just in Italy for vacation, and three of us who were there work for Exponent.  

There are also very diverse cultural backgrounds here. Recently, eight of us went out to an internal thank you lunch. Eight countries were represented at that table. Having that diversity of backgrounds and opinions is so great, professionally in the workplace and how we excel in our jobs with diverse viewpoints and how we creatively approach and solve problems, but also personally, having the opportunity to get to know so many interesting and talented people.  

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