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Volume 23 No. 17
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Alba Colon, Hendrick Motorsports

Photo: Hendrick Motorsports
Photo: Hendrick Motorsports
Photo: Hendrick Motorsports

Alba Colon 

Director of Competition Systems, Hendrick Motorsports
Born: Salamanca, Spain (raised in Puerto Rico)
Education: B.S., mechanical engineering, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez

Alba Colon chose a challenging time to make the leap from General Motors to Hendrick Motorsports. But she made the decision by following her own advice.

Colon left a longtime role at GM in January to join the storied NASCAR team. But she did so at the start of a year where the team had a new car model in the Camaro and two new drivers. The transition contributed to a winless streak that ended when Chase Elliott won at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 5.

“I really knew that there would be some growing pains, so I was completely ready for that,” said Colon, who grew up in Puerto Rico. “It was hard not to win [at first] but that win that we just got a couple weeks ago, it made everything sweeter.”

Colon’s role involves using digital simulation and analytics to improve the performance of HMS’ cars and finding areas where the team can slightly improve its speed. 

She has traveled to Puerto Rico in the past year to help rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Maria. Colon also has mentored kids there, and she realized that some of the advice she gives them was something she needed to heed when she first got the call from HMS.

“I have always told younger people when I talk to them that, ‘Hey, you can never close doors; you always have to keep your mind open.’ … I just said to myself, ‘This is your time to take on a new challenge like that.’ It’s one of those things you cannot say no to in your life, you need to try it, and I’m very happy with being here.”

— Adam Stern

Getting to know...

Attribute I look for when hiring: Cultural fit. A person who may have the best credentials but does not fit with the team cannot succeed.
Proudest professional achievement: Being part of the team that helped deliver Hendrick Motorsports’ milestone 250th win.
Woman in sports business I’d like to meet: Serena Williams. She has achieved so much as an athlete and businesswoman while overcoming obstacles and continuously reinventing herself.
I wish I’d known at my career’s start: Understanding more about the psychology of people. Real-world problems are solved through networking and teamwork, which are not things learned from a textbook.
Role of sports in social issues: Sports figures can have a significant impact on social issues as a result of their exposure and the way they are viewed by society. They are influencers who can effect change. The challenge becomes how they do that in the most positive and productive manner.