Staff Spotlight: Vanessa Hansen

Staff Spotlight: Vanessa Hansen

Vanessa Hansen

Operations/Program Manager

Automotive Crash Test Laboratory, Calspan Headquarters

B.S. Mechanical Engineering — University at Buffalo

Brief Work History: Vanessa is celebrating seven years at Calspan.
Vanessa began her Calspan career as a Test Engineer and was promoted after four and a half years to Senior Test Engineer. In 2018 she was promoted to Operations Manager. Prior to starting at Calspan, she spent five years at Gerster Trane as an Engineer/Project Manager overseeing HVAC and Energy efficiency and two years at Robson Woese as a Mechanical Engineer producing CAD drawings for new buildings and renovations.

Favorite part of ‘Be Calspan’ culture: The collaborative environment.
Specifically, the way the automotive crash test team is always willing to help each other in order to stay on schedule and keep customers happy. “I love all of the people I work with and consider them more like family than co-workers.”

Favorite hobby: Traveling and enjoying different cultures and cuisine.
Vanessa enjoys every aspect of travel, from researching and planning trips to taking time out to learn about local cultures.

Memorable trips include:

  • Eating at Maido in Lima Peru, currently ranked the No. 8 best restaurant in the world
  • Hiking the Lares trail to Machu Picchu, Peru
  • Mountain biking & white water rafting in Ecuador

Proudest moment at Calspan: The opening of the new crash laboratory.
The opening of the crash lab was a result of many hours of hard work by the crash test operations staff. Vanessa helped to guide her team through the time leading up to, during, and after the transition to the new testing facility. She is looking forward to the exciting challenge of maintaining operations and continuing on the cutting edge of crash research, ensuring that the crash team’s new home is ready to continually help improve vehicle safety.

Next Big personal or Professional goal: Cultivate the next generation of crash test engineers.
Vanessa’s next goal at Calspan is to be able to grow her team to meet the growing demand for automotive crash research in a sustainable way. “A job in crash [testing] isn’t for the light-hearted, engineers have to be committed to the ultimate goal and believe that what they are doing is making a difference.” Helping to develop the next generation of test engineers with specialized skills will help Calspan maintain its position as a leader in automotive safety research.

At Calspan, we promote an environment that empowers employees and encourages innovation. Our management team enables a strong sense of teamwork with each endeavor, where successes are shared and lessons learned. The company’s talent brand, “Be Calspan”, incorporates our company values to be Inclusive, Accountable and Innovative. Our culture promotes a positive atmosphere and competitive can-do method of action. There is a pride and a sense of ownership ingrained in each of our employees with every task set before them. Learn more about what it means to Be Calspan by visiting:



When Vanessa isn’t crashing cars or traveling the world, she can be found cheering on the Buffalo Bills, playing with her two dogs, snowboarding, or trying to start a fire using a bow drill. This fall Vanessa will become a mother to a future crash test engineer. Thanks, Vanessa for all you do for Calspan.

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