Heritage Month Spotlight: Juan Ricardo Gomez, DXC Technology
September 26, 2019
Juan Ricardo Gomez
How did you get your start in the aerospace industry?
Growing up, I loved going to the airport to look at aircrafts taking off and landing. There was a cafeteria in the airport with an outdoor balcony with a great view of the runway. Rather than wanting to be a pilot, I was more interested in the forces and mechanics at play that made flight possible. As I got older, I found myself disassembling everything from TVs, radios, and bicycles – there was nothing that escaped my curiosity. When I got my first car, I had the opportunity to deepen my curiosity and replaced parts and overhauls of the car engine. When the time came I had no doubt that I wanted to be an aircraft technician. After graduating from Colorado Aerotech, I worked in a Pratt & Whitney approved repair station in my home country Venezuela. Two years later, I decided to go to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to obtain my bachelor’s degree in aviation maintenance management.
My career then took an unexpected turn when I accepted a position with a small blimp company. I started managing the maintenance of an airship fleet, and later became General Manager for the company tasked with opening a new branch in Brazil. From blimps I transitioned to aerostats and later Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) that were utilized with the sole purpose of providing Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) to military and civil authorities.
In 2003, UAVs were still a novelty. Brazil, and specifically Rio de Janeiro, had a very serious problem due to its geography and bad actors in the area. It was the perfect scenario to display all the benefits of an UAV. Upon leaving Brazil, I joined a small subsidiary of The Boeing Company that was having tremendous success manufacturing and operating tactical UAVs. My career went from trying to understand how flight was possible to trying to understand how to use unmanned flights to aid civil and military personnel.
Describe your roles and responsibilities at DXC Technology:
As a Client Executive for DXC and someone who has been on the other side, I partner with Aerospace & Defense companies to identify the critical gaps to facilitate the adequate processes and tools to enable their journey to Digital Transformation and Industry 4.0.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
After 20 years of aiding the warfighter, I had to understand my new purpose as I transitioned from Aerospace & Defense to the Information Technology sector. During this process I realized that in fact my role and purpose had not changed. In the Aerospace & Defense sector my role was to provide tools and processes to collect and provide critical information to the warfighter in a timely manner. In the Information Technology sector, I do the same except that the warfighter in this case are engineers and executives.
Where do you find inspiration?
From many great people from the past such as Santos Dumont, Wright Brothers, and everyone that has used curiosity and ingenuity to put technology to work for the betterment of human life.
What does diversity and inclusion mean to you?
Our universe is both diverse and inclusive. We are all in it together. Different points of view always lead to better outcomes.
What advice do you have for students considering a career in aerospace and defense?
The sky is not the limit! It is very exciting to be a student today. The careers available 30 years ago have evolved and many new ones have emerged due to technology advancement. Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Data Engineering have become a force multiplier that will enable new technologies. My advice is not to let anyone box in your ideas. Imagine and make it happen!