top of page

Sue R.

Aerospace Composites Engineer

Cooking up an Airplane

Growing up the Western United States, my exposure to a broad spectrum of cuisines and foods was rather limited.  My first summer after high school I worked at an Italian deli slicing meats and cheeses and stocking shelves.  My mind, and palate, was blown!  Before this, I was only aware of 3, maybe 4 types of vinegar.  At the deli, there we 20 types of balsamic vinegar alone!  It was unfathomable to me at the time that a simple ingredient could have such nuance and complexity – so much so, that this sole ingredient would stand as the center point of a dish.  This deli job was literally my first taste of the exciting culinary arts and got me hooked on exploring the great world of food.  I focused my inspiration towards a dream of becoming a pastry chef.  With intentions to attend culinary school, I landed my first job in a wholesale bakery, and after a few months, bought the bakery and ran the business.  Over the years I moved on and worked various roles in restaurants and hotels.  While I was living my dream, I came to realize that the cooking profession wouldn’t lead to a comfortable life.  So I decided to go to university and become an engineer. I chose engineering because the work had the same elements I had come to love about kitchen work: always striving for improvement, teaming with others, and executing complex events. I love in cooking that a firm knowledge of the fundamental recipes and techniques leads to successful innovation. With strong skills, a cook can confidently create a new dish, knowing that it will be delightful. Likewise, in engineering, a strong foundation and knowledge of material properties and manufacturing is required to develop new technologies. I now work in aerospace developing structural aircraft components made from carbon fiber composites. The formal name of my engineering discipline is Advanced Materials and Process Engineering. I work with high-performance materials, bringing them together and processing them such that the end result has improved properties than the individual constituents alone.  Just like in cooking, the best ingredients are brought together with refined techniques which result in a dish whose flavors exceed those of the ingredients alone.  So really, I am still a cook but with new ingredients and a different style kitchen. The best part is I can now afford to enjoy fine dining restaurants, travel the world to explore cuisines, and I have the skills to cook anything I want at home.

Let's Get

  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
bottom of page