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2023 MEMBER SPOTLIGHTS

Quarter 4
Rohit Goyal
Boeing
“Aviation, being the pinnacle of technological achievement accessible to people worldwide, naturally drew me in.”

BIOGRAPHY

I am Rohit Goyal, a Strategy Leader at Boeing with a deep focus on Advanced Air Mobility and Alternative Fuels. I bring expertise in various sustainable propulsion techniques, including electric, hybrid-electric, and hydrogen technologies. Before Boeing, I've had the privilege of working at innovative companies like Joby, Uber, and Booz Allen. Beyond my professional pursuits, I am deeply passionate about teaching and currently serve as an Adjunct at Florida Tech. Outside of the work realm, I find solace in travel and sports.

YOUR STORY – HOW DID YOU GET INSPIRED TO WORK IN AVIATION?

My fascination with aviation is rooted in a deep love for physics and technology. Watching engineering marvels has always been a favorite pastime of mine. Aviation, being the pinnacle of technological achievement accessible to people worldwide, naturally drew me in. This admiration for technology and innovation led me to embark on a career in aviation, driven by the boundless possibilities for transformative impact on the world.

WHAT WERE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES AND SUCCESSES YOU ENCOUNTERED ALONG THE WAY?

The aviation industry, especially within a manufacturing context, can feel like an exclusive club for technologists and engineers. For those who may not be fluent in technical language, breaking into this circle can be challenging. On a positive note, I take pride in the entire journey rather than singling out one success. Looking back, I find joy in the professional decisions I made that, in retrospect, turned out to be truly remarkable.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE FUTURE OF THE INDUSTRY?

The future of aviation is incredibly exciting. I see the industry becoming increasingly sustainable and technologically advanced. With a growing focus on alternative fuels, electric and hybrid technologies, and Advanced Air Mobility, aviation is on the cusp of a transformative era that will enhance connectivity and reduce its environmental footprint.

DO YOU HAVE A MENTOR? HOW HAS MENTORSHIP BENEFITTED YOUR PATH IN AVIATION?

I've been fortunate to have a network of support throughout my journey, although I haven't had a formal mentor. The collective guidance I've received has been invaluable, helping me overcome the myriad of challenges I've faced in both my professional and academic endeavors. Mentorship is something I highly value; I believe in learning from those who've traversed the path ahead of you. It can help you avoid common pitfalls and open doors to new and exciting challenges.

HOW HAS DIVERSITY, EQUITY, and INCLUSION (DE&I) BEEN PART OF YOUR AVIATION JOURNEY? HOW DOES DE&I BENEFIT YOUR ROLE AND ORGANIZATION?

DE&I is not just a principle but a core tool for fostering creativity. I believe that the diverse teams are not only the most innovative but also the happiest. In the aerospace industry, where complex problems are the daily norm, diverse teams bring a multitude of perspectives and skills that are essential to tackling these challenges.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FOR OTHER YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN AVIATION?

My biggest takeaway for young professionals in aviation is to embrace innovation, persistence, and resilience. While I might not have decades of experience, I have witnessed the aviation industry's rapid transformation in the past five years, and it's incredibly exciting. It will reward those who are adaptable, passionate, and committed to innovation and sustainable practices. I would suggest that you seek out mentorship and stay curious.

Quarter 3

Tanay Gupta
WSP

“The same people who ask you why you’re doing it, will ask you how you did it.” - Mike Stud

BIOGRAPHY

As a Technical Project Manager with the Emerging Technology Division at WSP, I sit alongside seven awesome colleagues, supporting national clients in aviation decarbonization and transit automation.

My first flight was at six months old, from Mumbai to New York. With family abroad, I loved traveling through Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and was mesmerized by the Continental tails. My happy place is at 40 thousand feet or whenever flaps are extended. During annual visits to Delhi in the early 2000s, I was especially fascinated to watch infrastructure modernize - especially the Delhi Metro, India’s largest subway system.

Through good fortune and persistence, I had opportunities to work with United Airlines and the Delhi Metro. 600,000 nautical miles later, after a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in computer science, I aspire to better integrate mass transit and emerging aviation.

YOUR STORY – HOW DID YOU GET INSPIRED TO WORK IN AVIATION?

Fail fast and early is cliché, but so accurate. Rejections from 80 percent of colleges, 95percent of full-time jobs, and twice from United were early experiences at pivoting from failures. But I am grateful for how perfect each alternate experience was. Attending the University of Illinois introduced me to the nation’s largest business consulting program, alongside eclectic engineering minds. By organizing an airside tour of Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) through the Institute of Transportation Engineers, I landed a dream job with United’s Airport Ops team. Here, I worked across EWR, ORD, and San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to improve the quick turn process for the Polaris first-class cabin. 

After graduating from WSP’s rotational consulting program in 2020, I became the Chief of Staff with Maryland Transit’s passenger technology team. Though initially unexpected, I found it highly gratifying to help launch Real-Time Passenger Information for light rail and metro services. Prior to our efforts, Baltimore-area residents had no idea when to expect their next train. Now, our team at WSP pushes for industry-first accomplishments  on the ground and in the air.

Persistence, optimism, and patience have become my mantras to tackle failure. A challenge today is just an opportunity to reorient for success in another dimension tomorrow.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE FUTURE OF THE INDUSTRY?

Urban Air Mobility proposes quiet, electric-VTOL flights. Whether UAM becomes Ford’s Model T for the skies or repeats the hyped Very Light Jet failure from 2008 is unclear. However, for UAM to be sustainable, equitable, and reach a net reduction in congestion, the transport industry needs to improve the first and last mile.

What if we could coordinate a reliable transit journey from near your home to a vertiport, offering an express service that also benefits the general public? Can we align incentives across OEMs, politicians, transit systems, and the public to make it so? Leveraging Real-Time Passenger Information’s awareness of transit vehicle locations can make this vision possible.

UAM network planners should ask: Is demand on this route better served by a four-seat eVTOL or a Bus Rapid Transit system carrying 100+ passengers? Along select corridors, the answer perhaps favors eVTOLs when right of way is constrained and capital costs for infrastructure are exorbitant. Often though, it may not be worth fighting gravity; instead, partner with city planning efforts underway. Coordination between emerging aviation and existing transport modes is crucial for sustainable mobility experiences of the future.

DO YOU HAVE A MENTOR? HOW HAS MENTORSHIP BENEFITTED YOUR PATH IN AVIATION?

Mentors are so important; yet, I initially found the concept stifling and formal. The best mentors are those YOU seek out based on personality, interests, or commonalities like education. My closest mentors today are a former aviation manager, colleagues I’ve met through cold networking, and peers! Mentors can become trusted advisors if you keep in touch, follow their advice, and invest equally in mentoring others.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FOR OTHER YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN AVIATION?

(1) Start by doing all the little things immaculately: crisp meeting notes, high quality CAD drawings, or robust models. When management notices that attention to detail, or thoughtfully managing up, you get invited for more responsibility.

(2) Early on, when asked to do something extra (non-billable work in consulting), say yes. Those experiences exploring new domains with new people can pay off. Over time, strategically delegate (say NO and connect others to opportunities) to maintain work-life balance.

(3) Network to explore your passion, practice your pitch, and land new opportunities. Reach out to interesting folks, ask thoughtful questions, and get feedback. Leverage networking to proactively find people you WANT to work with!

As emerging aviation experts, we have a lot to solve before our kids are at bat, so let’s get to it!

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Quarter 2

Mike Butler
C&S Companies 
 

Energy and Passion for a Career in Aviation

BIOGRAPHY

Mike Butler is a Senior Consultant for C&S’s aviation group, focusing on terminal and flight facility planning. He has five years of aviation planning experience working with airports of various sizes and types, including federal and military flight facilities. He has eight years of project coordination experience as a Contracting Officer Representative (COR) for the Office of Construction and Facilities Management (CFMO) in the United States Army. Mike graduated from Wentworth Institute of Technology in 2016 with a B.S. in Architecture and is currently enrolled in the M.S. Aviation Management program at Purdue University.

 

YOUR STORY – HOW DID YOU GET INSPIRED TO WORK IN AVIATION?

Growing up in rural New Hampshire, my grandfather had a major influence on my life. He always wanted to be a pilot, specifically a P-51 pilot. However, due to his small size, he was assigned as a B-17 ball turret gunner during World War II. After the war, he saved enough money to earn his private pilot license on his own. My fondest childhood memories are of flying with my grandfather in his friend’s plane or going to airshows where great stories were never in short supply. Even on less eventful days, I would spend all day reading and re-reading his library of military aircraft books. Back then, I always viewed my love of aviation as a hobby as many of my early jobs were working in construction. After I completed architecture school, I was excited to discover the field of aviation planning. This presents me with the ability to combine my technical talents and my love for all things aviation energizes me in ways I don’t think any other field could.    

DO YOU HAVE A MENTOR? HOW HAS MENTORSHIP BENEFITTED YOUR PATH IN AVIATION?

I have excellent coaches and mentors both within C&S and outside of the organization. Finding mentors with knowledge of various career paths is critical to understanding how decisions can be made to help cultivate the skills needed to move forward. With that said, I find that mentor-mentee relationships outside of professional organizations are often overlooked. Members of local pilot organizations and other community organizations have been a rich source of knowledge. Despite being outside of the typical corporate structure, these relationships and the knowledge gained from them continue to surprise me with their value.

 

HOW HAS DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION (DE&I) BEEN A PART OF YOUR AVIATION JOURNEY? HOW DOES DE&I BENEFIT YOUR ROLE AND YOUR ORGANIZATION?

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) have impacted my career as my veteran status has provided me with a unique perspective and valuable skills that I use regularly. Working with others from various backgrounds under extreme pressure builds social muscles that are necessary to empathize with opposing viewpoints and backgrounds. These experiences also present needed conflict allowing to reveal others’ authentic selves, which I view as foundational for inclusion. These skills and experiences have helped progress my career but have also provided value to organizations of which I have been a part.  

 

CHALLENGES AND SUCCESSES YOU ENCOUNTERED ALONG THE WAY?

Education was the largest challenge I encountered. I grew up in rural New Hampshire in a very large family of six kids. So, being able to afford higher education was a challenge which I overcame by joining the United States Army and deploying to Iraq in 2010. This was a difficult time due to the challenge that military deployments present. However, it enabled me to become the first person in my family to attend and graduate from college.

 

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FOR OTHER YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN AVIATION?

Follow your energy and seek out passionate mentors. I am passionate about aviation and would love everyone to pursue a career in aviation. But the truth is, it might not be for everyone. So, what I would say is, say yes to every opportunity until you find something that you are great at and that you can do without looking at the clock. If you can get lost in a task, it is a good indication that you will have the energy and passion to excel in that task or field. For me, that is how I feel about terminal planning. Lastly, when seeking out mentorship, diversify. You may find knowledge, along with deep and rich relationships, in places you never expected.

Energy and Passion for a Career in Aviation

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Quarter 1

Alex Schroeder
City of Albuquerque – Aviation Department
 

Passion for the environment and sustainability is the throughline for an exciting and varied career thus far.

BIOGRAPHY

After earning my bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Winona State University, I began working for the United States Geological Survey (USGS) assisting with a nutrient flow study on aquatic vegetation in the Upper Mississippi River region. Shortly after, I joined the United States Peace Corps as a volunteer, stationed on the north coast of Jamaica. My position there afforded me the opportunity to work at the Discovery Bay Marine Lab, assisting staff scientists with field work as well as educating the local community on the importance of marine environments. After leaving the Peace Corps, I attended graduate school in southeast Florida majoring in Marine Biology and Coastal Zone Management. During this time, I worked for the USGS Seagrass Lab as well as an environmental consulting company conducting field work along the Florida Atlantic reef system. My family and I moved to New Mexico in 2015, and in 2018 I joined the City of Albuquerque as the Diving Safety Officer for the Albuquerque BioPark.

 

In 2022, I decided to switch things up and accepted a position in the City’s Aviation Department as the Aviation Environmental and Sustainability Specialist. After a year with the Department, I was promoted to Environmental Program Manager for the Albuquerque International Sunport.

 

YOUR STORY – HOW DID YOU GET INSPIRED TO WORK IN AVIATION?

To be completely honest, I never intended to work in the aviation industry. I was looking for a bit of a change in my career path and was intrigued by the possibility of working at the Sunport. I have loved every minute here! There are so many exciting, new projects to be a part of and I am really looking forward to what the future holds as it relates to sustainability in the aviation industry.

 

DO YOU HAVE A MENTOR? HOW HAS MENTORSHIP BENEFITTED YOUR PATH IN AVIATION?

I would consider my predecessor my mentor. He took me under his wing (pun intended!) where I learned a great deal from him concerning environmental regulations, permitting, and sustainability initiatives within the aviation industry. I feel fortunate to have been able to absorb so much information; however, I do wish I was able to learn so much more from him.

 

CHALLENGES AND SUCCESSES YOU ENCOUNTERED ALONG THE WAY?

It was a challenge for me to stay on top of all the sustainability projects and initiatives that were in place at the Sunport as I took on a solo role within the Environmental and Sustainability division. I feel my greatest success, however, has been in keeping the vision for sustainability alive and learning to manage the various projects underway without hesitation.

 

FUTURE OF THE INDUSTRY – WHERE DO YOU SEE IT?

I see the future of the aviation industry gearing towards a more sustainability-minded path. With all the exciting innovations of electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel cells, microgrids, and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), the aviation industry can be a leader in utilizing these technologies to help reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

 

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FOR OTHER YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN AVIATION?

As with anything in life, do what makes you happy and brings you joy! I feel fortunate to have stumbled across this new chapter in my career and I am going to enjoy it for as long as I can.

 

 

About YMC-A

The group’s mission is “to encourage and support the involvement, education and growth of students and young professionals within the TRB, its related activities including the Annual Meeting and the aviation industry as a whole.” Its goals are to: 1) Provide positive experiences to undergraduate and graduate students interested in aviation; 2) Promote aviation related careers to students and young professionals; 3) Support a positive experience at the annual meeting by providing new attendees interested in aviation guidance and mentoring; 4) Identify avenues for young members to become involved in aviation related committees and activities within TRB; 5) Assist committee chairs by identifying young members interested in filling vacant slots; 6) Provide an educational component to young members; and 7) Have fun as a group and provide a means to promote networking!

 

If you have an interest in joining, please email ymcatrb@gmail.com.

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