Gordon Fellow 2016


Defense Innovation Unit Experimental


Program Manager

A 2016 Northeastern University Gordon Fellow who recalls folding paper airplanes as a young boy has been making or flying airplanes of all sizes his entire life. Aviation lead him down the exciting and patriotic career path of a commissioned military officer, wherein he flew some of the most advanced jets on the planet. These days he is a bit more grounded but he is still serving, working on projects for the Department of Defense. Read about Andew’s story below.

When I began my professional life, a strong personal affinity for flight combined with a desire to serve the people of United States, lead me to accept a commission as an officer in the Marines under a flight contract. Following graduation from my undergraduate education in 2008 I was sent to officer candidate’s school and subsequently found myself in the aviation training pipeline. I wound up flying the AV-8B Harrier for the Marines out of Cherry Point, North Carolina; it was an incredible experience which further ingrained in me a love of all things aviation. Additionally, my experience flying jets put me in awe of the incredible feats of engineering which are possible when high functioning teams come together.

I transitioned from active duty to the reserves in 2013, at which point my wife and I moved back to the Boston area so that she could pursue a career in teaching while I followed up on an interest in technology that had burgeoned during my time flying in some truly amazing machinery. Among the many opportunities for outstanding education in the Boston area, Northeastern University stood out due to their highly nationally ranked academic programs coupled with a veteran’s program that is second to none. A combination of the GI bill and an extremely generous contribution by Northeastern to the Yellow Ribbon Program ensured that I would have the opportunity to come out of my new degree program without incurring additional debt, something I was very sensitive to as service member transitioning to the relative uncertainties of the civilian job market.

Working with and leading high functioning teams to tackle really challenging problems was the goal that lead me to pursue an advanced degree in engineering. The Gordon Institute of Engineering Leadership at Northeastern University offered me a platform from which to accelerate that career track. Although most of the leadership lessons covered by The Gordon Institute were not new to a newly transitioned military officer, the program offered me the opportunity to look at leadership from the perspective of a civilian and an engineer, which was hugely helpful as I changed career paths. Simultaneously, the Gordon Program helped prepare me for life in the engineering community by broadening & strengthening my scientific foundations significantly.

It was through the Gordon program that I was introduced to the team at Aurora Flight Sciences, and thereby wound up in my first civilian job. Working as a software engineer and Program Manager at Aurora gave me the opportunity to work on some incredible programs for DARPA, the Office of Naval Research, and the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School – all while giving me the opportunity to work alongside and eventually lead some truly outstanding engineers.

Currently, I work as a Program Manager at the Defense Innovation Unit (experimental) or DIUx. I manage multiple programs critical to national defense from inception to completion, with the goal being to accelerate commercial innovation’s cutting edge technology into the hands of men and women in uniform. My job is an activated reservist position, so I’m back in uniform for the time being. However, it was a combination of the experiences that I acquired in the military with the career experience fostered at The Gordon Institute and realized at Aurora Flight Sciences that lead me here.

For transitioning military personnel who are looking to accelerate their careers through an engineering centric leadership program, I don’t have enough great things to say about Northeastern and the incredible teams both at the veteran’s services department and The Gordon Institute.

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The Gordon Institute of Engineering Leadership
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