Tesla engineering director Joseph Mardall leaves for drone start-up Zipline

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Low-angle view of the facade of Tesla Motors dealership with logo and sign in Pleasanton, California, July 23, 2018. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

Smith Collection/Gado

An influential engineering director at Tesla, Joe Mardall, has resigned his position at the automaker to become head of engineering at Zipline, according to his own LinkedIn profile.

Zipline is a drone maker and aerial delivery service focused on distribution of blood and other medical supplies.

Among his achievements during a decade at Tesla, Mardall led the development of a Model Y Heat Pump system, which was praised by CEO Elon Musk on Twitter, and led Tesla’s efforts to engineer a ventilator for Covid sufferers that could be produced using car parts. (It never produced the ventilators.)

Before he was involved in engineering Tesla’s latest crossover SUV, the Model Y, Mardall also developed thermal and HVAC technologies which became defining features in the company’s earlier Model X and Model 3 vehicles. His name is on multiple Tesla patents.

According to Forge, a secondary marketplace, Zipline in currently raising a Series E round of funding with shares priced around $32.63, indicating a valuation north of $2 billion.

Mardall wrote in a public post on LinkedIn:

After 10 wonderful years at Tesla, I’m super excited to start my next chapter as Head of Engineering at Zipline, working with a team of talented and committed engineers to provide every human on Earth with instant access to vital medical supplies. The next 5 years are going to change everything and I can’t wait! We are hiring for all roles across engineering and I would love to hear from you – come fly with me!”

Mardall did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC.

Nominations are open for the 2021 CNBC Disruptor 50, a list of private start-ups using breakthrough technology to become the next generation of great public companies. Submit by Friday, Feb. 12, at 3 pm EST.

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