Our Industry Person of the Week is Matthew Walker, an Aerospace Engineer.
Q: How did you get started working in your field?
Matthew: I was very interested in “how things worked” as a kid, so by high school engineering felt like a natural fit. I choose to attend a military academy, and, upon graduation and commissioning, started as a ship’s engineer. I always wanted to be a pilot, so when the opportunity arose to attend flights school, and later to train as an aerospace engineer, I jumped at it. I moved up in my career until I was the technical airworthiness authority for my branch of service and, upon retiring from the military, began working with the federal government as an aerospace engineer investigating aviation accidents.
Q: What do you love the most about your job? What are you most proud of?
Matthew: I love the fact that I can apply what I’ve learned, both education and experience, to a field I am extremely passionate about – aviation – with the goal of keeping people safe.
Q: What advice would you give to someone considering this line of work or new to the field?
Matthew: Keep your options broad, take advantage of every opportunity you have to learn, and don’t get discouraged. There’s always something more or new, and no one knows it all. Even when you may be done with formal schooling, don’t stop being the “sponge” – look for new areas to expand your understanding. You never know where different fields can learn from each other.
Q: Can you talk about a project you recently worked on?
Matthew: My current work involves on-going aviation accident investigations. My previous work included a lot evaluating new technologies and how to safely incorporate them into current and older aircraft, also how best to safely employ them across a broad range of mission sets, and how to employ cybersecurity regulations in airworthiness. I also worked a lot on improving training and education on airworthiness engineering, such as collaborating on the NAS 9945-3 Airworthiness Engineering Training and Education – defense and military
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
Matthew: Always make time to help the next generation of engineers and STEM professionals. No one gets there on their own, so make sure pass it on.
Connect with Matthew Walker on LinkedIn.