Heritage Month Spotlight: Lourdes C. Palacio, Rolls-Royce

Lourdes C. Palacio, Technical Program Manager, Capability Acquisition & Design Services, External Research, Materials Engineering – Defense

How did you get your start in the aerospace industry?

After I graduated from college in Texas with a degree in Materials and Metallurgy Engineering, I moved to Indiana as a technical staff member for a consumer electronics company. I worked for this company for 10 years before joining Rolls-Royce as a Materials and Processing Engineering Specialist.

Describe your roles and responsibilities at Rolls Royce:

As a Technical Program Manager, I support the local and global Chiefs of Technology to develop multi-year plans and strategy for materials in coordination with global counterparts. I also manage progress input for materials capability, repair services, and manufacturing technology projects to then present to our Aerospace Research & Technology global leadership.

My responsibilities also include developing strategies to align work processes and practices within Rolls-Royce plc, Rolls-Royce Deutschland, and Rolls-Royce Corporation in order to streamline and standardize business practices across all sites. These reviews improve our communication and decrease duplication of tasks.

I also interface with suppliers, purchasing, and engineering finance to ensure statements of work, requests for quotes, and invoices are released and approved in a timely manner, and goods and services are delivered on time to meet the projects’ schedule.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

The most rewarding aspect of my job is being involved in cutting edge technology development. Most of the projects I manage help research and develop technology that is either new or in the early stages of development. I get to work with subject matter experts from Rolls-Royce, other OEMs, universities, and consortiums so I am surrounded by some brilliant people.

Most of these projects are very fluid and require flexibility in order to meet all technical and financial goals.

Where do you find inspiration?

I am very grateful for my job. I get to work with some amazing people and am surrounded by subject matter experts in various fields with many years of experience, so finding inspiration is not difficult. I also realize the enormous responsibility we have with our customers and delivering excellence serves as inspiration as well.

What does diversity and inclusion mean to you?

Being diverse and inclusive as a company means that everyone is encouraged and supported to share their experiences and views on various issues, and everyone’s voice is respected and valued. A diverse and inclusive working environment can be a very powerful resource of knowledge, passion, and drive. I am very proud of my cultural heritage, my growth, personal and professional, and I have a strong belief in giving back, and having the support of my employer empowers me to do just that. Together more things can be accomplished and our reach in the community can be stronger.

What advice do you have for students considering a career in aerospace and defense?

The aerospace industry is challenging, but extremely rewarding. Working on cutting edge technology, materials, and manufacturing processes, as well as knowing your customers depend on you to accomplish their missions, is an enormous – and exciting – responsibility.