1. WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT ROLE AT AVIAN AND HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WITH US?
I am a Senior Systems Engineer and have been with the company for about a year. A typical day for me…well, I’m on the phone a lot. Not just because of COVID telework. I’ve actually been a remote worker for about seven years now.
I help manage a team of about fourteen engineers. We coordinate and collaborate using Agile Systems Development to manage our work. I support our MBSE [Model-Based Systems Engineering] efforts. This is a pretty big buzz term right now. It’s essentially normal systems engineering work but in a model-based environment. We’re moving away from paper and really relying on the model.
2. WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST IMPACTFUL MOMENT IN YOUR CAREER THUS FAR?
When I graduated from college, I was lined up for a job with a company called Western Digital in California. Everything was set so I didn’t look around for anything else. Unfortunately, that job didn’t come through and I found myself scrambling to find something else. A gentleman by the name of Pat Hovatter who was the former CO [Commanding Officer] of the base [Naval Air Station Patuxent River] in the late 90s was manning a recruiting booth for NAVAIR [Naval Air Systems Command]. He was explaining the job to me and trying to recruit me to do Systems Engineering at NAVAIR; and to be honest, I thought he was trying to get me to join the military! It wasn’t the military, but I did end up working for the Core Avionics Engineering department (AIR 4.5) for the Naval Air Warfare Center [Aircraft Division] for about five or so years. That change of plans right out of college was incredibly impactful because it led me to an amazing career supporting NAVAIR/NAWCAD.
3. WHAT MAKES YOU MOST EXCITED TO SUPPORT AURA (AIR 4.1)?
The adventure of MBSE. Although it’s not new, it’s still systems engineering and isn’t changing academically, I am just documenting it in a different manner and formalizing it in specific software tools and modeling language.
It’s exciting to figure things out new from scratch. We are really leading change, ya know, blazing trails. It’s fun to always be improving and figuring out new options that we can apply to the next project.
4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT WORKING FOR AVIAN?
I’m still new, right, but I’d have to say the idea of the employee ownership options with AVIAN. Showed a lot of commitment to the “we’re family” mantra. It’s also obvious how much hard work AVIAN puts into the benefits it offers.
I’m also kind of at a career level in systems engineering, really no more ladder to climb, but it’s exciting to have the opportunity to do business development.
1. NAME ONE PERSON WHO MOTIVATES YOU.
Personally, my wife. She has a Ph.D. in molecular genetics and immunology and she works at St. Jude’s directly trying to help children. With both of us working from home during COVID I see it firsthand. She watches our son, Chase, and manages a 15-person team of scientists. She is an amazing person.
2. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE “PERK” ABOUT WORKING FOR AVIAN?
Professionally, I’m not a junior or young engineer, but some of the people I get a chance to work with at AVIAN have had careers in Systems Engineering longer than I’ve been alive. The ability to talk to our senior folks like Jim Carroll, Wes Brubacher, Rich Gilpin, Curt Meyerhoff, Keith Carter, and of course my supervisor, Jeff Davila. These guys are who I presented work to younger in my career. I’m very much still at the ‘kiddie table’ learning from them on what I can do to be better.
3. WHAT WAS YOUR CHILDHOOD DREAM JOB?
I wanted to be an astronaut. I went to Huntsville [Alabama] and always wanted to go to a space camp. I like to see how things work, fixing them when they go wrong. I also really enjoy space Sci-Fi, like The Expanse. It's on Amazon Prime. They go through real-life risks and politics. It fuels my passion for space.
4. IF YOU COULD HAVE DINNER WITH ANY CELEBRITY, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
As a life-long Tennessean, it’s gotta be Dolly Parton. I mean, everyone knows Dolly. She does a great job of keeping it real and staying grounded regardless of her career. She’s from East Tennessee; I’m from East Tennessee…I’d love to hear her stories and who she’s met along the way. I also love that she gives back. Literacy is something she is very passionate about. My son Chase gets a book every month from Dolly. It’s part of her program for children in Tennessee, and now worldwide called the Imagination Library. Her organization has now given out over 147 million books. Incredible.
🚨🚨Interested in learning more about AVIAN's Systems Engineering and Model-Based Systems Engineering capabilities? Check out our new podcast series dedicated to all things SE 👉 The Model Vision Podcast