Juan Diaz

How Grit and Ambition Can Propel Success: Juan Diaz' Story

By DeVry University

A year ago, Juan Diaz Orellana landed his first job out of college – powertrain engineer technician. AtTesla Motors. Launching a career at one of the most innovative car companies in the world would be adream come true for many. But Diaz Orellana didn’t dream it. He made it happen through sheer grit,perseverance and ambition. Rewind 15+ years and you’ll see how he drove his success straight towardTesla.  

Diaz Orellana didn’t have the easiest start in life. In 1999, his family immigrated to America from ElSalvador; his parents wanted to give Juan and his two sisters a better life. Age 10 at the time, he didn’tknow a word of English. But he worked hard, and through his schoolwork and involvement in footballand track, he caught up quickly. Diaz Orellana learned something else that would shape his future: howto play the bass guitar, from musicians at his church.  

After high school, Diaz Orellana got a job as a bank teller and took college classes part-time, first at acommunity college, then at DeVry University near his home in Arizona. He credits one of his early DeVrycourses, Critical Thinking, with teaching him problem-solving, time management and personal financialmanagement skills needed to succeed in both school and the real world. Building on his prior collegecredits, Diaz Orellana completed his DeVry bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering technology injust three years. At his graduation, his parents cried.

“I always viewed education as a means to success. Seeing those who didn’t go to school struggle was allthe motivation I needed,” said Diaz Orellana. “I originally planned to pursue civil engineering, but thatdidn’t turn out to be my passion. Curiosity to figure out how things work led me to electronicsengineering technology and eventually to DeVry. DVU’s student-focused, career-focused approach toeducation sealed the deal.”

Toward the end of his degree program, Diaz Orellana built two things. Marrying his love of music withhis love of technology, he built a laser guitar for his senior project. A class assignment also found himbuilding a LinkedIn® profile – complete with reference to that senior project. Turns out, the profile puthim in the fast lane to Tesla. “I love cars just as much as I’m psyched by technology, and I wasdetermined to put my education to work taking both of these into account,” explained Diaz Orellana.“So I contacted recruiters via LinkedIn with these things in mind. One replied, asking about DeVry, thelaser guitar and the senior project in general, and wanting to discuss the opportunity at Tesla.”

Just 15 years after leaving his native El Salvador, Diaz Orellana is situated squarely in the driver’s seat ofhis career. His favorite part of his powertrain engineer technician job? Durability testing Tesla motorsuntil they break, then analyzing how to make them better. “I’ve always been motivated to improvepersonally. Now that motivation extends to the Tesla motors I work on,” he said. “I plan to grow mycareer at Tesla and eventually move into management. I like the soft skills side of business too, and oneday I’d love to build and motivate my own Tesla team.”

Juan Diaz Orellana is going places. If you’ve got grit, perseverance and ambition like he does and wantinformation on degree programs offered by DeVry University, visit