Orlando Torres’ MemberSHPE Highlight

MemberSHPE Highlight interview Orlando Torres, BS AE, MBA

1.) Tell us about yourself! (job/career, hobbies, family, etc.)

I am a mechanical and structures design engineer for the Boeing Company, with 20 years of experience in the aerospace industry. I was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and moved to the states in 1993 to get my bachelor degree in Aerospace engineering from the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT). I graduated from FIT in May 1997 and immediately accepted a job with the United Space Alliance, a Boeing/Lockheed joint venture, with the Space Shuttle Program at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC).  Space and aviation has always been my passion, so being able to work at KSC was a dream come true. At the end of 1999, I saw the opportunity to work directly with the Boeing Company at KSC, and interviewed and got a job with Boeing as a Purge, Vent, and Drain Systems Engineer.  In 2006, I assumed the role of Subsystem Manager for the Orbiter Windows, and led that technical team until the end of the program in 2011. In 2008, I graduated with a Master in Business Administration from the University of Florida. After 2011, I got involved with the design and development of the purge, vent, and hazardous gas systems for the Space Launch System (SLS). I have also contributed to the Commercial Crew program and the CST-100 Starliner, as well as other new spacecraft developments.

I have been married for 15 years to my wonderful wife Karla. We have two children, our oldest daughter Sophia (8), and our son Roderic (5). Roderic is a sweet boy that was born with a cleft/lip and palate, which led to a list of other complications after birth that have really tested us as parents.  We have learned a lot from this experience and we are really grateful to have him and my daughter in our lives. They have made us immensely happy, and we love them to death.

 

2.) To what capacity have you been involved with SHPE?

I was a SHPE member in college.  But to be honest, after I graduated, I concentrated on my career and my family and did not pay attention to this wonderful organization. It wasn’t until I participated in the RLDC7 2015 in Miami, when I realized once again the value of this organization and how gratifying it is to give back through this organization.  Having the ability to give back, inspire students, and guide them, even if it was just some minor advice, was a really gratifying experience.  Since then I have been involved with SHPE, became a member once again, volunteered at work to be the SHPE site lead, and started getting involved in rebuilding the Central Florida Professional Chapter that had been quiet for some time.  I became part of the e-board in 2016, and I’m currently the Profession Development Chair.

 

3.) What sparked your interest in SHPE? What motivated you to become an active member?

SHPE is an organization that empowers students as well as professionals to reach their fullest potential through STEM.  Being able to have an impact in our local community, and to inspire young individuals and professionals through STEM, is what motivated me to re-engage as a member.

 

4.) What is your most memorable moment with SHPE?

Providing advice to a student at the National Conference in Seattle in 2016, talking to this individual at the hospitality suite, and later finding out he had secured an offer with Boeing, it makes you realize you made a difference. Even if it’s a small difference, when the individual comes back to you, with excitement, and grateful for the help, for them  is that much greater and makes such an impact in someone else’s life.

 

5.) When not devoting time to SHPE or working, what activities/hobbies are you involved with?

I love the Florida Space Coast and what it has to offer.  I enjoy spending time on the water, fishing and boating.  I also have a private pilot certificate.  I have not been able to stay current with my flying, but I do enjoy flying, and when given the opportunity, enjoy going flying with friends and family.  Back when I had time, I enjoyed building and flying radio controlled airplanes. I also enjoy spending time with the family, and driving them around on the weekends for their sport activities.

 

6.) Anything else? (anything at all!)

Any opportunity I get to talk to students, I like to remind them that after graduation, waste no time, continue your involvement with SHPE, stay involved through community outreach, give back, and help others through STEM awareness.

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