I have always been a huge fan of Honda products. In fact, Honda is one of the reason’s I became an engineer. In 1988, Ayrton Senna (F1 Driver) was being interviewed after a race and thanked the Honda engineers for providing such a fantastic engine. From then on, I was determined to become an engineer and eventually work with Honda.
I currently am the Technical Director of Stress and Structural Design at Honda Aircraft Company. I received a Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota in 2002. At school, I was on the Formula SAE team responsible for the chassis design, fabrication and verification testing. After graduation, I went to work at a start up company in Colorado called Adam Aircraft. As one of two stress engineers in the company, my first job was completing the analysis for the composite complete fuselage. The learning curve was incredibly steep, but I was able to learn a wide array of critical skills, including analysis, testing, fabrication and certification. When I left in 2008, I had received a DER delegation in structures from the FAA.
I joined Honda Aircraft Company as a stress engineer before our headquarters building was constructed. My first job was the analysis of the flap actuation system and main entry door. After a few months, I was asked to be the design lead for the fuselage structure. During this time, I spent significant time in Alabama working with our supplier to build the F1 fuselage. The first fuselage was delivered from GKN on September 13, 2009 and my son was delivered on September 15.
At Honda Aircraft, hard work is recognized and rewarded, which is why over the past 10 years my responsibilities have continuously grown and I now serve as technical director. As technical director, I spend much of my time planning and reviewing longer term initiatives. This includes new product development and working with the team to develop top talent. We have been conducting more training and providing clear expectations for skills progression.
At Honda Aircraft Company, we have the skills and resources available to ask difficult questions and get the answers. This has provided us with great opportunities to learn about our aircraft and ways to make future developments more efficient.
My position allows me to be involved in a wide variety of conversations and decisions. From interior aesthetic improvements/color schemes to advanced stress analysis methods and testing. Being flexible and able to quickly move from subject to subject is a necessity.
As a new company, Honda Aircraft Company is a melting pot of experiences, cultures and approaches. The variety of ideas and view points makes for a dynamic work environment where we can define the “Honda Way.” We do this by taking the best of what we have developed at Honda and combining that with each of our individual experiences.
Outside of the office, I enjoy spending time and traveling with family and friends. My “mental health” time is spent working on my cars from simple maintenance to performance upgrades.
My advice to other professionals is to continually challenge yourself and get involved in things outside your comfort zone. In my opinion, we learn and grow most when the tasks are difficult or when the answer isn’t known.