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Meet: Steve Ord

Facility Engineer

Who I am
I am the wind tunnel Facility Engineering Group Leader. Our engineering group makes changes to the tunnels to improve performance and keep them running. I make sure that the engineers are doing the right jobs and have everything they need to do their jobs well.

My Career Path
My career path here at NASA Ames Research Center began when I was a Student at San Jose State University. I was a student engineer in Flight Simulations and made designs and drawings for the other engineers. From there, I moved to the wind tunnels to become a Facility Engineer. I worked on many projects such as replacing 20-foot-long bolts on a large rotating compressor that weighs 900,000 pounds. I eventually became the Facility Engineering Group Leader. I enjoy this job very much. I have a lot of responsibility and the projects are very intense.

I decided upon this career field when I was about 12 years old. Around that time I wanted to be a pilot. I started flying lessons when I was 15. I got my pilot's license at 17 and was right on track for a career as a pilot. But, during my college years when I was getting an aeronautics degree, it became clear that with my glasses I would not be able to be a commercial or military pilot. So, I changed plans. I studied engineering, and, now, instead of flying planes, I work with testing them.

I prepared for my career when I was young by building model airplanes and rockets with my dad and my brother. We built custom designed rockets and control-line airplanes; we also built remote control aircraft. Working to get a pilot's license was a lot of fun and has helped me better understand my job. An engineering degree has proved to be very useful as well. I believe that I'm still preparing for my career because I still take courses and still try to learn more and more about engineering.

Why I like my job
One of the best aspects about this job is working with great people on large projects and installing new equipment. I enjoy big projects the most. For example, on one of our group's recent projects, we repaired a 22,500 Horsepower motor. We had to figure out why it had a problem, how much damage had been done, design a new fix for the problem, install new equipment, and checkout the system.

My advice to you is that school is very, very important. It is more important than any part-time job you can have. Not to say that you shouldn't have a summer job, but you should never stop going to school. So many people think that money makes people happy. They are wrong! Doing the best you can, achieving what you want to achieve, and making the world a better place will make you happy. The sacrifice pays off much more in the long run. Work hard and play hard. You should look for something that you really like doing and then pursue it no matter what.

My Future
My future plans are to continue my career in engineering management and to have lots of fun with my career.


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