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For Levasseur Tellis, giving back is a way of life

Story by
Trisha Radulovich

With more than 53 patents to his name, Levasseur Tellis is an example of what is possible with a degree from the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. Walking in the historic shoes of Granville Taylor Woods, the first Black American granted 49 patents, Tellis hopes to inspire students with his personal story. 

Levasseur Tellis

“It’s the responsibility of every graduate from the college to be a role model for current students,” Tellis says. “In line with the FAMU mantra, ‘excellence with caring,’ I hope that students consider their role as a mentor for future engineers.”

Tellis graduated from the college via Florida A&M University in 1998, with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering, and is currently a supervisor for Automated Vehicle (AV) Regulatory Compliance at Ford Motor Company. He has over 21 years in the industry and is responsible for various active safety and driver assistance features and enablers.  

Tellis’s many patents are related to his work in driver assistance technology and self-driving cars and involve technology that improves safety on our roadways. 

“When you consider that people are trusting us with their children—their loved ones—that’s what makes my job really critical,” Tellis points out. “Safety is one of the pillars we stand for at Ford. It’s not just a job. It’s about keeping people safe.” 

Tellis hopes to pay-it-forward as one of the college’s newest industry advisory board members. The board is an interface between the industry and the college that allows a dialogue to help ensure students are developing the engineering skills most desired by employers.

“As a graduate of the college, I am honored to be able to partner with the college to address the STEM gap in our country,” Tellis says. “As a board member, I hope to share my industry experience and focus on thrust areas that are important to companies like Ford.”

More than 53 patents to Levasseur Tellis name.

Tellis currently lives in Michigan with his wife and daughter and has a son who is a pharmacy student at FAMU. Engineering and FAMU are a family affair for the Tellises. “I met my beautiful wife Tracey Payne-Tellis while attending engineering school,” Tellis says. “She also got her electrical engineering degree at the college and went on to get her MBA. Tracey is a successful engineer and currently works at a prominent automotive supplier in our area.”