Where Will Your Interests Lead You? Following Wes Lord

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The year was 1973 and a young Wes Lord, now a fellow in System Architecture Functional Design, found himself graduating from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a master's degree in mechanical engineering. Lord had initially studied chemical engineering, but after taking several courses in chemistry, he determined that his interests lay elsewhere. This resulted in him pursuing mechanical engineering with a focus on fluid thermal science.

Upon graduation, the young engineer initially worried that his decision to study fluid thermal science would not yield much real world application. His apprehension was quelled upon being hired at Pratt & Whitney.

"Dr. Ed Crow, both former senior vice president of Engineering and a mentor of mine, inspired me to pursue subjects that truly interested me," Lord said. "He taught me that in order to succeed, I needed to be true to myself and blaze a career path that captivated me."

Lord's path is unique. He began working in Secondary Flow Systems and Turbine Aero then left the company to pursue a doctoral degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, returning to Pratt & Whitney in 1983. During the ensuing years he explored various areas of component engineering from technical and managerial perspectives. Lord was appointed fellow, System Architecture Functional Design in 2008 and has since focused on aerodynamic system integration.

Becoming a fellow was not Lord's intention at the onset of his career. He was unsure of how he wanted to grow professionally, though now he is quite satisfied with the fruits of his labor.

"As a fellow I not only lead other engineers in technical aspects," said Lord, "but I also get to solve immensely challenging technical problems and see my efforts implemented on products that are brought into service."

When asked to provide advice for those considering a technical career path, Lord chuckled as he reflected upon his experiences.

"The knowledge to which you're exposed can be intimidating. At times it may even feel like you're drinking from a fire hose," Lord reflected. "The force may taper as you progress through the learning curve, though there is always more information to learn."

Outside of Pratt & Whitney, Lord enjoys ski touring during the winter months. The avid skier particularly enjoys his annual ski tour of Mount Washington, N.H. – a tradition that he has upheld for 40 years. During his free time in the warmer months Lord can be found working in his garden.

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