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Global Columbus: Feng Tao


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Feng Tao
Feng Tao


Feng Tao

Date of birth: March 9, 1964

Grew up in: Ezhou, Hubei Province, China

First language: Mandarin Chinese

Came to Columbus in: February 2008

Title: Technical specialist at Cummins Inc.

Duties: Using computers to work on combustion analysis including computational fluid dynamics. I work in the Cummins Tech Center, primarily on next-generation products.

Education: Master’s degree from University of Science and Technology in Beijing, doctorate in diesel combustion from Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Family: Wife, Lu Li, who lives in Gothenburg and works at Gothenburg University; son Lipei, who attends London School of Economics and Political Science.

Hobbies: I like to run and play badminton. I also read newspapers, magazines, and I help publish a Chinese newspaper in Indianapolis. I serve as the regional editor for Columbus and am responsible for editing the page about Columbus. We are all volunteers. I also am a member of Columbus Area Multi-Ethnic Organization and a former vice president of the Columbus Chinese Association.

How did you come to study in Sweden?

My wife had gotten an opportunity to work in Sweden, and I had just finished my master’s and decided to follow her and get my doctorate in Sweden.

When did you first live in the U.S.?

From 2003 to 2006 I did post-doctoral work in Madison, Wis., at the Engine Research Center. Cummins was one of the center’s industrial partners.

How did you end up with Cummins?

After my time in Wisconsin, I took a faculty position in Sweden, but a short time later, I was offered a job from Cummins.

I came to Detroit for a conference and stopped by Columbus for the interview. I joined the company in 2008.

When you moved to Columbus, what was your first impression?

That the city was very small, even compared to Gothenburg, which is Sweden’s second-

largest city with about 500,000 people.

How are you dealing with living so far away from your wife and son?

It’s very tough. I don’t have a lot of vacation, at least by European standards, and so I travel to Sweden about two or three times a year. We communicate primarily via the Internet. When I first came to Columbus, I thought I would stay for two or three years, but now I’ve lived here almost five. The more I get involved in the community, the more Columbus is starting to feel like home.

Culturally, how have you adjusted to living in the U.S.?

I participate in Chinese holiday celebrations, and I recently attended the Chinese New Year celebration at the Commons, but I also try to participate in American holidays. For July 4, I traveled to Washington, D.C., once, which I enjoyed very much. And for Halloween I typically prepare candy, although I don’t get a lot of kids asking for candy.

I used to live in an apartment on the city’s west side and even though I had candy, not very many kids stopped by. Now I have a house on the city’s northeast side, but still no one stopped by. As for food, I eat all kinds of food, including American, Italian and Mexican, but when I cook, I prepare Chinese food. My parents came from the eastern part of China, and I prefer that style of cuisine, which is not very spicy, unlike Szechuan. One of the dishes I might fix at home is Chinese dumplings.

Where have you traveled and what is your favorite city to visit?

I’ve traveled to Japan, all around the Mediterranean, including Barcelona and Tunis, Paris and Washington, D.C., which is my favorite because it is a very nice city with incredible museums that you can visit for free. I also really like Paris, which also has lots of great museums. You really need a lot of time there, because you can spend a whole day just sitting in a cafe and watching people.

Global Columbus is a twice monthly Q&A with members of Columbus’ international workforce. If you know someone we should talk to, contact Boris Ladwig at 379-5712 or bladwig@therepublic.com.

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