In the ever-evolving modern industry, almost every company and organization requires a transformative vision to strive toward gaining exponential progress in the business arena.
A transformative vision provides an edge to enhance organizational operations along with administration, resulting in the continual of pushing the organization towards scaling its success. Hence, the vision needs to be in sync with the integrated knowledge of not only industry norms but also virtues gained through extensive first-hand problem-solving opportunities.
Evelyn Miralles, Business Associate for Aegis Aerospace Inc, is the perfect embodiment of a staunch transformative leader whose vision notably apprehends the insights for technology foresight, bifurcating her association from the rest.
With over 30 years of extensive experience in roles, as an executive leader and a pioneer in computer technologies, Evelyn has a successful record of creating partnerships and generating initiatives that lead to innovative solutions and services, benefiting the growing diverse and digitally connected world.
In her current position as a consultant, she is providing her expertise in building internal teams, competitive products and services, considering new market trends and requirements, and including technology foresight and coaching.
We at CIO Look got an opportunity to interview Evelyn in which she shared insights into her journey in the Aerospace Industry as well as her transition into a business leader.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position. What challenges have you had to overcome to reach where you are today?
My professional journey began in 1992, when I was selected to be part of a small team of engineers at NASA Jonson Space Centre in Houston, Texas, with the mission to develop a new immersive system to help train astronauts to perform space operations in microgravity. Those years were very challenging, with critical deadlines and setbacks, working long hours all while raising a family.
After retiring from NASA as Chief Engineer in 2019 and leaving 27 years of incredible work successes, I accepted a position working in higher education as the Associate Vice President for Strategic Information Initiatives at the University of Houston Clear Lake. Working in academia was a great opportunity to expand my leadership and strategic knowledge launching my next position in 2022 as a senior business consultant, serving for Aegis Aerospace and performing private consultations in the areas of technology, innovation, and workforce development.
During my journey, one of the biggest challenges was to advance professionally in an all-male-dominated environment. But having focus, granting time, expanding my education and personal determination, allowed me to reach most of the goals.
Tell us something more about your company and its mission and vision.
I am working as a consultant with the vision and mission to provide business strategic development for industries, not exclusive to aerospace, in the areas of technology, innovation, modeling, simulation analysis and training. I am also currently a business consultant for Aegis Aerospace, whose mission is to provide commercial, turn-key space services, spaceflight product development, and engineering services for the civil and commercial space and defense industries.
Enlighten us on how you have impacted the aerospace industry through your expertise in the market.
The biggest impact on the aerospace industry has been to work developing immersive solutions, products and services, with the goal to improve training efficiency. By doing so, I was able to help develop the first ever state-of-the-art ‘virtual reality VR ready system’ for space flight training – use to the date – which provides the capability of preparing astronauts for microgravity activities.
This was a significant improvement in simulation and training generated by NASA under multiple commercial contracts, advancing productivity, lowering costs, training time, and consistency within the organization, all in support of human space flight operations and maintenance.
That opportunity led me to help pioneer VR immersive technologies utilized for spatial awareness, spacewalks and robotics activities, which have been critical to supporting the Space Shuttle program and the construction of the International Space Station (ISS), as well as the development of the Commercial and Artemis programs.
Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drives your organization.
I will speak on my consultation, where the biggest driver will be implementing efficient processes, innovation, transparency, collaboration, and finding solutions that make sense to the clients, all while aiming to generate cost-efficient outcomes. Knowing and understanding how to prototype and built things for testing and applying agile engineering. All these are cultural drives that I utilize in my business practice.
Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful?
Unthoughtfully, new technology tools and digitalization of processes are helping to generate better solutions and improving manufacturing, particularly in the aerospace sector, reducing time and costs, and enhancing participation with local and remote team members. These new applications are redefining how we collaborate, impacting the final products and services we generate.
What change would you like to bring to the aerospace industry if given a chance?
Since aerospace is a risky business that takes time and money, we need to be better prepared for what is coming next, understanding the need of tomorrow to build the workforce necessary for the future, while supporting the exponential increase of digitalization in the industry, reason why bringing a knowledgeable foresight outlook on what is coming next is so relevant and important, technically speaking.
I decided to endeavour in academia precisely because I wanted to understand what was happening in that arena and help to articulate what the future will be like. We need more opportunities for younger engineers with the support of solid mentors that can help nurture the next generation. Without that, we won’t have a solid ground to build from.
What, according to you, could be the next significant change in the aerospace sector? How is your organization preparing to be a part of that change?
I think one of the biggest and most exciting changes is the inclusion of new digital innovations pushing the industry to utilize more automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics for manufacturing and operations purposes.
Also, with the expansion of the Internet of Things, a lot of new tools and applications are beginning to be available for the sector. We will prepare best by having access to early versions or prototypes of the tools, software or hardware, and become part of the early testing teams, as we built successful solutions.
Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run, and what are your future goals for your business?
I always envisioned being at a place where I can look back and say ‘mission accomplished’ and where I can communicate what is happening. It is an extremely rewarding feeling to see that the ‘seed of knowledge’ I planted is growing, producing fruits – metaphorically speaking. I have many goals for my business, the most important is to continue to spread my expertise and educate, helping many others to be better adapted for a productive and fast digital future.
What would be your advice to individuals who aspire to venture into the aerospace sector?
To study, work hard and define what area in aerospace they feel most comfortable and academically capable of performing. As much as we can read about something, we should be able ‘to do’ and build. So, I will recommend getting your hands on assembling ‘something’ and going through the process to see a result or outcome.
This will strengthen and expand your analytical skills. Also, very equally important, will be to discuss opportunities with other people in the space and learn what they do, how and why. This will give you a realistic understanding about the struggles and complexity of the available jobs, and the needs that others may have.