What do you do for work? Give us a few reasons why you love it.
I am an aerospace engineer and my job is to design guidance, navigation and control software for unmanned aerial systems used by the US military. I love it because it’s challenging. Each day I have to solve many complex problems. I love creating working systems from scratch. It’s also rewarding. Knowing the work I am doing is directly helping to defend our country and save lives (I’ve had the opportunity to hear firsthand accounts) is good motivation to work hard. Finally, it can be exciting. Sometimes things don’t go well with aircraft. We call those mishaps. While these are to be avoided, if/when they do happen it is exciting to analyze the data and recreate the issue and then implement a fix. Also, part of my job is to travel to different military sites and monitor our aircraft in flight and see my product controlling a very expensive vehicle.
Your current company aside, name another company that you admire and explain why.
Tesla/SpaceX. I am lumping these into one because they are both run by Elon Musk, and he is really the driver of their innovation. Both companies are breaking the mold in serious ways in terms of technological advances and thinking outside the box. They are not afraid to undertake risky ventures. Nothing seems to be impossible for their visionaries. The hyperloop is going to be the next big product and I’m excited to see where Elon takes it.
Which is more important: talent or work ethic? Why?
This is a great question and I think it really depends on the task. But I think if I were hiring someone I’d prefer work ethic since most talents can be learned with time. And I think it’s hard to teach work ethic.
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in your life?
Striving for humility is a key to contentment. If I’m humble, or at least strive to be humble, I realize that I already have far more than I deserve. So each blessing in life comes with more appreciation, and hardships can be seen as a necessary part of life. If you are humble you can be content in any circumstance.
Who are your role models or influences? Explain what makes them special.
My most influential role model is Jesus Christ. I strive to be like him daily. My dad has also had an impact on my life. He taught me the importance of education, and in doing what you love to do. Another role model is the nameless engineer who toils diligently and quietly, creating awesomely complex things and not taking much credit. Engineers are the foundations of an advancing society and I am happy to be able to participate in that.
What is your best or worst moment of this week?
The best moment of this week so far was playing with my son just last night. He was grabbing my hair and belting out a belly laugh that was just contagious. It’s a joy to be a dad.