Overview of your current role and when you started at Cobham
My current role at Cobham is Principal Mechanical Engineer. I am the lead mechanical engineer for most of our antenna products. I am currently serving as the lead engineer on a Dual Band Interferometer Array program. The US Army is the end customer.
I have been working at the Lansdale site since 2002, which became a part of Cobham in 2008
Why did you choose a career in engineering?
I always enjoyed math and science in school. There are 7 mechanical engineers in my family but I was the first female to become one. Also, I have always been interested in aviation and did a minor in Aerodynamics in college.
Looking back, what are the highlights in your career so far?
One of my biggest highlights was when I was asked to help on a Mine Resistant Vehicle. They were having issues in the field with the alternator not charging the battery because it travelled at 5 MPH or less looking for IEDs. We had to come up with a fix, design it, test it on an exemplar engine and create a kit that could be sent to the field to retrofit. We only had 3 months to accomplish the task. It was challenging because I was used to designing small parts with small tolerances not large vehicles and I had never designed a pulley system for a vehicle. We ended up being successful and received an engineering award. It was more rewarding to know that I was helping our Military Soldiers stay out of harm’s way.
Another fun but challenging project was working on the JSF Test Bed Aircraft. For 4 months my desk was in a hanger right under the wing of the 737. It was being retrofitted with all the JSF electronics and a mock cockpit. We worked long hours but when the plane finally flew it was a very proud moment.
I have also been a mentor to a few junior engineers and interns. I enjoy teaching them the ropes and always enjoy their enthusiasm.
What are the major challenges of your job today?
As a mechanical engineer we are challenged with having to fit lots of electronics into small packages and along with that come thermal mitigation issues. In today’s market we are constantly facing compressed schedules which means we don’t necessarily have time to build actual prototypes. Fortunately, with 3D printing, we can at least solve difficult to assemble problems and do fit checks before we actually build parts.
What’s next for your career?
I am enjoying the challenges of my first lead engineer role. I want to continue to sharpen my skills not only as an engineer but as a team leader.
Why should people consider a career at Cobham?
The people that work here at Cobham Lansdale are great. I have enjoyed my job because there is a variety of work so you are never bored. I have done everything from bids and proposals to design and analysis. I appreciate the opportunity to work on IRAD projects. As engineers this is where we get to expand our knowledge and take on challenging tasks and it shows that the company is willing to invest.
Last but not least, having every other Friday off is a very nice benefit!