: 8 min

National Engineers Week: U.S.-based Safran engineers provide their career perspectives

February 24, 2021

The goal of National Engineers Week – being observed this year from February 21 through February 27 – is to increase the understanding of engineering and technology careers, while also ensuring a diverse future engineering workforce.

At Safran businesses across the United States, the daily contributions of engineers are key to the company's success, with these employees providing a workforce of highly motivated women and men.

In recognition of National Engineers Week 2021, a cross-section of U.S.-based Safran engineers provide perspectives on their engineering careers through a series of questions and answers:

Vincent Beaudoin

Name: Vincent Beaudoin
Job function: Control Systems Engineer
Safran business: Safran Helicopter Engines
Degree(s): BS Mechanical Engineering
Question: What advice would you give to someone who is considering a career in engineering?
Answer: Like many life goals, you have to be willing to study hard and persevere to get an engineering degree. Doing extracurricular activities and an internship before graduating will substantially increase the chances of being selected by an employer for a first job. Most solutions to challenges are not going to come straight from textbooks, but rather from your own capability in resolving problems. Teamwork and good communication skills will be key throughout your entire career. 

 

Ondine Beaufils

Name: Ondine Beaufils
Job function: A220 Engineering Integrated Product Lead 
Safran business: Safran Cabin
Degree(s): MSc Aerospace Engineering; MSc Electrical Engineering
Question: Why did you choose to pursue a career in engineering?
Answer: I always liked STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math], and engineering was the logical path I wanted to follow for my education. Once I graduated, while looking through the different types of roles an engineer can work in, I was most attracted to the engineering department as I felt that it was where I would use my knowledge and skillset the most. There are other interesting disciplines, but engineering is still where my heart is.

 

Andrea Birdsall

Name: Andrea Birdsall
Job function: Senior Manager, Engineering
Safran business: Safran Electronics & Defense Avionics
Degree(s): Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering
Question: Safran is a group driven by innovation. How does this apply to you?
Answer: For me, innovation is looking for ways to change in a positive direction.  Sometimes people think innovation has to be a huge, life changing invention – but that's not true.  It can be something small like using an old tool in a new way, or seeing a process inefficiency and taking steps to improve on it.  As a leader, my role is not only to innovate, but to encourage innovation in my team.  For instance, a team member may be discussing a roadblock they encountered during their day.  This leads us to discuss ways it could have gone differently and what we could change so it doesn't happen again.  Innovation is a mindset that we must embrace to move forward.  

 

Samantha Fishwick

Name: Samantha Fishwick
Job function: Special Processes Engineer
Safran business: Safran Landing Systems
Degree(s): Masters of Engineering in Aerospace Engineering; International Diploma in Aircraft Structural Maintenance
Question: What is your advice for young women considering a career in engineering?
Answer: My advice is to develop your network. As a young engineer going into a new job, I did not know much. Many of my coworkers have been working for the company for more than five years. Being right out of college, I did not have the experience or expertise they did. Developing a network of go-to individuals was helpful in developing my confidence and expertise. In addition, as a woman in engineering, it is important to find a mentor you can rely on and reach out to for advice. This mentor does not necessarily have to be female, but finding someone who you can relate to and confide in is very important.

 

Tad Forsythe

Name: Tad Forsythe
Job function: Manufacturing Engineering Specialist
Safran business: Safran Ventilation Systems
Degree(s): BS Engineering Technology - CAD Focus
Question: Why did you choose to pursue a career in engineering?
Answer: I became fascinated with 3D modeling at a young age and wanted to learn more about the various software capabilities. I discovered through my career at Safran that the interaction of technology and humans is critical to the success of the team. I enjoy the blending of the different departments in a manufacturing setting, and the opportunity to balance cost, quality and delivery.

 

Lindsay Garces

Name: Lindsay Garces
Job function: Senior Systems Engineer 
Safran business: Safran Electronics & Defense Avionics
Degree(s): BS Mechanical Engineering
Question: What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?
Answer: I joined a program in progress, and pretty quickly had to travel internationally to present in front of the customer.  Being able to fit in with the team and help the customer see the value of working with us on that program was a big challenge, and one of the things I am proudest of.  This year with the pandemic, learning how to work from home and dealing with new variables in the work/life balance equation, has been tough as well.

 

Daniel Handojo

Name: Daniel Handojo
Job function: Product Developer 1
Safran business: Safran Passenger Innovations
Degree(s): MS Computer Science
Question: Why did you choose to pursue a career in engineering?
Answer: As a child, my reason for pursuing an engineering career was simply because I thought technology was the only way to apply my interest in mathematics for a paying career! Now that I'm older and wiser, I realize my real reason for choosing this career path is simply because I love problem-solving and tackling new challenges with both creativity and logic. I feel I'm rather good at it too, and doing something I'm both good at and which I find enjoyable everyday has been very satisfying.

 

Andres Hernandez

Name: Andres Hernandez
Job function: Engineering Manager
Safran business: Safran Ventilation Systems
Degree(s): MS Mechanical Engineering
Question: What do you enjoy the most about being an engineer?
Answer: I liked taking things apart and figuring out how they work. Designing new products and solving problems are what I enjoy the most.

 

 

Dalton Kelley

Name: Dalton Kelley
Job function: Senior Mechanical Engineer
Safran business: Safran Ventilation Systems
Degree(s): Mechanical Engineering Technology
Question: Why did you choose to pursue a career in engineering?
Answer: I have wanted to be an engineer for as long as I can remember. As a child, I was always curious about how things worked and I spent most of my free time either building things or taking things apart. As I got a little older, I learned about the various types of engineers and the wide range of industries they work in. The availability of so many interesting and diverse career opportunities was extremely appealing to me. Fast-forward to my graduating from college and beginning a career in aerospace…and now, 8 1/2 years later, I could not imagine doing anything else!

 

Neri Lemus

Name: Neri Lemus
Job function: Software Engineer III
Safran business: Safran Passenger Innovations
Degree(s): Computer Engineering
Question: What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your role?
Answer: One of my biggest, but most rewarding, challenges has been learning how to effectively collaborate with colleagues across different disciplines. While difficult, it's been rewarding to see how this has led to improvements in communication across departments, the overall product, and each other.

 

Ben Letourneau

Name: Ben Letourneau
Job function: Electrical Engineer
Safran business: Optics 1
Degree(s): BS Electrical Engineering
Question: What is the favorite part about your engineering job?
Answer: At Optics 1, the best part about engineering is the range of tasks that I am able to do. I'm not pigeonholed into just testing or just designing; I get to do something new and different all the time. I have several family members who are engineers, so I was always aware of engineering as a career while growing up.

 

Kimberly Orlando

Name: Kimberly Orlando
Job function: Flammability Engineer
Safran business: Safran Cabin
Degree(s): BS Manufacturing Engineering
Question: Why did you choose to pursue a career in engineering?
Answer: I've always been curious as to the "how" and "why" things work and how it can be done better. A career in engineering allowed me to pursue this interest in a dynamic field with a life-time opportunity for learning.

 

Luis A. Posada

Name: Luis A. Posada
Job function: Service Engineer
Safran business: Safran Helicopter Engines
Degree(s): B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering
Question: What advice would you give to someone who is considering a career in engineering?
Answer: Engineering is everywhere in our lives, and it is rewarding to know you are part of how something works. At the beginning of the engineering curriculum, courses can be difficult and intimidating; however, do not let this keep you from becoming an engineer!

 

James Smith SAO

Name: James Smith
Job function: Repair Industrialization Engineer
Safran business: Safran Aerosystems Services
Degree(s): BS Aerospace Engineering
Question: How has your job evolved while working at Safran?
Answer: The focus at my facility traditionally has been on seating and evacuation systems, with the ability to handle other miscellaneous cabin interior components. We are now focusing more on aircraft and helicopter safety and evacuation systems. I initially started on seat refurbishment and retrofits due to prior experience in custom VIP interiors. This allowed us to expand our capabilities to support our customers with competitive services.

 

Grayson Steding

Name: Grayson Steding
Job function: Senior Design Engineer
Safran business: Greenpoint Technologies
Degree(s): BS Aeronautical Engineering Technology; AS Electrical Engineering Technology
Question: What do you enjoy the most about being an engineer?
Answer: The diversity of projects and topics I deal with every day are among the most enjoyable aspects of being an engineer. I have wanted to know how everything works from the age of two, and I've always enjoyed "getting my hands dirty."

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