L3Harris Engineer Stories

by L3Harris Airline Solutions on 09/09/2019

At L3Harris we would like to highlight the importance of engineers across the company and their integral role in the ongoing success experienced by the business. Engineers are a fundamental part of our organization, and we wanted to share their unique stories.

Jay Crossman, Senior Mechanical Engineer, based in Phoenix, Arizona is a part of the ACSS team. Jay shares insight into his role and provides advice to others looking to join the engineering field. Read more about his story:

"In high school I wanted to be an architect due to my spatial awareness and interest in design. However, once I took my first physics course, I discovered my interest for the physics of flight, aerospace design, and the appeal of how engineers use science to solve real-world problems. I started working at L3Harris in May of 2015, having previously worked in the space and airborne system industry. On a day-to-day basis I have a variety of responsibilities, ranging from supporting production of TCAS/Transponder units and antennas in our factory to working on technology projects to evaluate new radio applications or sensor technologies. I also support development of the technical packages associated with new business pursuits. Much of my work falls within the Systems and Advanced Development areas of our current projects, or Project Lead responsibilities; though my job title is Mechanical Engineer, tasks of a truly mechanical design nature are only about 20% of my role.

I thrive on the opportunity to continuously grow my perspective and knowledge of engineering design in the aerospace field. My most satisfying efforts involve reviewing new problem statements with customers (internal and external), brainstorming potential solution paths, and collaboratively developing a capability to address customer desires. I love prototyping new designs through utilization of our 3D printer, and optimizing existing concepts to best meet requirements. An important thing I have learnt is that the people we work with, such as co-workers, customers and suppliers, are just as important, if not more-so, than the technology we work on. The advice I would give to those who would like to join the engineering profession is to get hands-on experience, such as an internship, as soon as possible when evaluating joining the engineering field. A successful engineer will have curiosity to understand why things work, or don’t work, and a desire to continuously make things better. Practice thorough communication early and often. Most importantly don’t forget to have fun."

James Karon is a Senior Principal Engineer for the SDS division of L3Harris. Based in Tewksbury, MA, James has been with the company since 2000 where he has been working largely with ClearScan products. Here is what he has to say about his role in the engineering industry so far:

“I was first introduced to the world of engineering as a child, when I would disassemble radios and TVs with electrical schematics hidden on the inside of the product, and try to figure out how they worked! My father was also highly skilled in technical areas, but less involved in the electronic side, therefore I wanted to explore something different from him.  I first joined L3Harris in November 2000, and am now working as a Senior Principal Engineer in Tewksbury, MA. Lately, I’ve been concentrating on ClearScan product improvements, hardware cost reductions and working with vendors to help produce more reliable components. Some of that work entails spending time with the customer for several weeks gathering data and feedback to bring back to headquarters and apply to the daily outputs in making the product successful. I also help train our 3rd party production facility on how we can minimize costs and output a quality product. What I most enjoy about my job is designing new hardware, debugging old hardware and developing new troubleshooting techniques. This essentially allows me to apply the full range of my experiences to enhance the L3Harris product line. In my opinion teamwork is a key component to my daily function. Without a determined and focused team, the business would not succeed. In this line of work it is important to keep a good attitude, work hard and maintain balance. For anyone interested in joining the engineering profession I would say that it’s a great industry to get involved in. You get to leave your mark on the world by building and designing products that can impact society in a positive way.”

Cristina Reynel has been working as a hardware engineer at the London Training Center for just under a year. This is her journey at L3Harris so far:

“I decided I wanted to be an engineer because I love challenges! And with every new challenge, there is a different solution, it is this variety and new knowledge which I value within my career. On a day-to-day basis I design new parts for the simulators, assembling them and figuring out how to build them. I work on bits of everything. In this role I really enjoy the freedom we have to create different designs to advance the simulators. Since working at L3Harris I have developed the skills to do more things than I would have ever thought possible and gain lots of experience with complex engineering. If I had to give others advice in regards to joining the engineering profession, I would say if you like doing different things every day and just love being able to be creative, then challenge yourself and get involved!”

Phil Balcomb has been working as a software engineer at L3Harris for the past 12 years. Read what he has to say about his journey in the industry:

“In secondary school my maths teacher peaked my interest and inspired me to explore the engineering industry. I have now been working with L3Harris for 12 years. At the moment I primarily work as a software engineer in the simulation division. Recently I moved to work on the visual displays for the Full Flight Simulators, working closely with our suppliers. This move to visual updates has been a new and exciting project for me and I am enjoying learning more about the systems and extending my knowledge. The most important thing I have learnt in my job is listening to customers and making sure we deliver exactly what they need in their products. My advice for others wanting to join the engineering profession is to dive in and get straight into it!”

Andrew Woods is based at the London Training Center in Crawley where he is currently working as an Undergraduate Placement Software Engineer. In this role he forms part of the Performance Simulation Group working on the company’s RealitySeven full flight simulators. Here’s what Andrew has to say about his role so far:

“I’ve been interested in aviation since I was very young, as I’ve grown older I have become increasingly interested in aircraft work, which led me into looking into a career in aerospace engineering. I have only been with L3Harris for two months, although I did work with the company last year for a different three month engineer placement. On a day to day basis I have been writing a new web based application which runs QTG tests for qualification of the simulators based on what the technician wants, and can also display the results to help identify any problems. Much of my time is spent adding features and running through the necessary debugging. I have also begun to get involved in UPRT updates which are taking place across a large number of our in-service simulators. The aspect of the role which I enjoy the most is app development, as I get a lot of freedom with how I write the program, and I can see tangible results. The most important skill I have developed since starting is the new programming languages, including C, C# and Fortran, all of which will be useful in my future.”

Chuck Manberg has been working in the aviation industry for the past 36 years, where he has helped develop surveillance, navigation and communication avionic systems. He has been with ACSS for 18 years supporting new business development and engineering in the deployment of surveillance and ADS-B systems for commercial aviation. Have a read about his journey so far:

“When I was young, I enjoyed studying math and science classes, and I had a particular fascination with the Apollo space program and the engineering feat to put a man on the moon. I ended up at ACSS, an L3Harris and Thales company, in 2001 and have been working as a Senior Staff Engineer and Technical Fellow. My primary focus is on surveillance products, including TCAS, TAWS, Transponder, and ADS-B. My role is exciting and inspiring because I have the opportunity to work directly with pilots and flight operations, developing new concepts and addressing airline and industry problems. This allows us to bring new technologies to the market providing safety and efficiency improvements to the aviation industry. I would say that I possess a passion for seeking knowledge of the aviation industry and applying technology to improve or solve customer’s operations/issues. My advice to others wanting to join the engineering profession is never stop learning or gaining knowledge. The more you learn, the more you realize there is much more to learn.”

Raymond Daniels joined L3Harris six years ago as part of his university placement year and is now working as a hardware engineer at the London Training Center. Here is what he has to say about his journey as an engineer:

“My interest in engineering has stemmed from a long fascination with Lego, theme parks and motorsport. Studying Aerospace Engineering at university grew my interest in aviation and aircraft, so I was then keen to join and contribute to the aviation industry. That is what led me on the path to becoming a hardware engineer at L3Harris. Since joining with the company I have been on the professional development scheme where I developed a large range of skills from many different areas of the company. Currently, on a day-to-day basis I look to create new designs for the simulators, whether that be some mechanical bracketry, installation drawings or complex control assemblies. One of my roles is looking after the motion systems on the full flight simulators to make sure there is no obsolescence issues or problems preventing key contract milestones. If there is, it’s my job to find a cost effective solution in a timely manner. The work here is definitely varied and I enjoy the fact that there is a different challenge every day. Each day is unique and a little bit different. Since working I have learnt that even the best plans can change and being prepared for change is essential. It’s important to be flexible and adapt in order to ensure you can deliver your solution and wildly exceed the customers’ expectations.”