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Alumnus receives GE Aviation’s Young Engineer Award

Alvaro Hernandez, 2010 graduate of the department’s aeronautical and astronautical engineering program, was recently awarded GE Aviation’s Young Engineer Award.

The award was given March 21 during GE Aviation’s annual Engineering Recognition Day, which is celebrated globally at each of the corporation’s sites and highlights the outstanding achievements in technology, innovation and customer service.

Alvaro HernandezAlvaro HernandezAccording to GE Aviation, Hernandez was recognized for his role as Advanced Turboprop Installation Leader, for which he relocated to work on-site at Textron, one of GE Aviation’s clients. His move took him from Boston, Mass. to Wichita, Kan. in order to coordinate launch of the Advanced Turboprop Program, supporting the most aggressive new product introduction schedule in GE Aviation’s history, the GE Catalyst.

"It takes an army to develop an engine from an idea on paper to metal that creates power: the GE Catalyst gave me the opportunity to be a member of such an army,” said Hernandez. “To be that soldier out in the field working directly at the customer facility to design the best aircraft-engine installation was very challenging: long hours, many lessons learned and numerous negotiations.”

Comments shared from the awards ceremony highlighted Hernandez’s notable work—overseeing the closing of over 170 engine-aircraft installation issues, abating three months of schedule pressure on first-engine-to-test hardware delivery, creating a new interface control model process which reduced model errors by more than 90% and being responsible for a greater than six-pound engine-weight reduction.

“Receiving an award that not only recognizes the success of the program, but also my early career was an immense honor,” Hernandez commented. “That said, it is important to realize that this award wouldn’t be possible without my parents, my professors, coworkers and my mentors that taught me everything needed to receive this recognition."

As a student in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Hernandez was a founding member of The Ohio State University NASA Design Team (read more on page nine here), which formed in response to NASA’s 2007 call to design an environmentally-friendly new aircraft capable of revolutionizing the standards of aviation. Hernandez, then a sophomore, designed the location and functions of some of the flight controls of the aircraft’s wing, as well as contributed to the aerodynamic aspects of the design. Facing intense competition, the new team achieved third place in the global competition, earning the admiration of many in the aerospace industry.

Additionally, Hernandez completed honors research advised by Professor James Gregory. His resulting bachelor's thesis was “Conceptual Design of an Aircraft to Match the Mission Profile of a Mobile Hospital for Humanitarian Service.”

Hernandez shared his thoughts on lessons learned in his career since graduation. “Working on new products introduction in the aerospace field is a long marathon,” he said. “It is very easy to get caught up in the details or overwhelmed by the massive big picture. Instead, try to visualize the project as a series of short sprints. Work as hard as you can to complete the sprint right in front of you and then take some time to regroup and catch your breath, repeat until the project is complete. Sooner than later you will be eight years into your career and your effort will get recognized.”

Hernandez awards ceremonyHernandez, third from right, at the GE Aviation awards ceremony.

by Holly Henley, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Communications,