We sat down with Rachel Sullivan, our Senior Systems Engineer, to chat more about her background and how she got into the engineering field.
Tell me a little bit about you and how you landed in the engineering world?
I grew up on the far south side of Chicago, in a neighborhood called Hegewisch. Since high school, I’ve been interested in aviation and outer space. My dream job would have been astronaut or professional pilot, but neither of those seemed like a very likely career path. When the Apollo 13 movie came out in 1995 I realized what a big part the engineers played in the story, and decide to go to school for engineering instead. When I was looking at colleges, I received a brochure from St. Louis University (SLU), in St. Louis Missouri. As it turned out, Gene Kranz, who was one of the NASA Test Directors during the Apollo missions, was a SLU alum. That was one of the reasons I chose SLU for my undergraduate degree. From SLU I was able to get a job at Boeing as an avionics integration engineer. I transitioned into some laboratory test roles, and then eventually landed that engineering dream job of a flight test conductor on the F-22 program at Edwards Air Force Base.
Since I had been wanting to be a pilot since high school, I decided that it was finally time to learn to fly once I settled in California. My husband and I purchased an orange and white Cessna 170 and named her Poppy Grazer. She’s been a great training aircraft for me, and I hope to earn my license soon. Other than flying, my family loves visiting the state and national parks, hiking, fishing, and astronomy. I am also a knitter and quilter.
How long have you been with GMRE and in what roles?
I’ve only been at GMRE for 6 months. I am currently a Senior Systems Engineer.
What led you to GMRE?
My son was born about 18 months ago, and my husband and I decided that Utah was where we wanted to raise our family. My husband had an opportunity to relocate to Hill AFB, which we gladly accepted! One of his former co-workers worked for GMRE at Edwards AFB and told him about the open systems engineering position. I quickly applied and was hired!
How did you get involved with the Ninety-Nines?
I started flying at the Edwards Aero Club. The Aero Club manager is a Ninety-Nine and told me about scholarship opportunities offered by the chapter. I decided to join, both for the flight training opportunities as well as for the chance to socialize with other women pilots. When we moved to Utah, I contacted the local Ninety-Nines chapter, the Air Hearts, to get involved in the local aviation community and meet new friends.
GMRE is a Veteran-Owned Small Business that provides high quality engineering, technical services, integration & sustainment, and production to help our customers grow and succeed. With over 17 years’ experience, we are a trusted defense business partner that provides guaranteed results for mission success. Guided by our core values: commitment, results & trust; we offer innovative, cost-effective solutions that provide value where it’s needed the most.
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