As recognized experts in their fields, Rockwell Collins engineers are tasked with providing solutions to some of our most complex problems. Their dedication and technical ingenuity help keep people safe, connected and informed, moving us closer to our Vision to be the most trusted source of aviation and high-integrity solutions in the world.
The annual Engineer of the Year program celebrates the technical creativity and thinking of Rockwell Collins’ top engineers. The stories of our corporate winners and finalists — who were nominated by their peers or leaders — illustrate how they achieved breakthrough results that significantly impact our business growth and the engineering profession.
“The story of our company is a story of dreaming big. Rockwell Collins engineers demonstrate the power of innovation to make our dreams a reality and to achieve our Vision to become the most trusted source of aviation and high-integrity solutions in the world.” – Nan Mattai, senior vice president, Engineering & Information Technology
Tap on the images to learn about the engineering achievements of the three recipients of the Engineer of the Year awards: Clarence (Matt) Heckman, Commercial Systems; Lee Paulsen, Engineering & Information Technology; and John Thedens, Government Systems.
Matt Heckman led the software development for a major feature enhancement to Rockwell Collins’ Pro Line Fusion® integrated avionics system. The resulting system boasts advanced terrain functionality with reduced size, weight, power consumption and recurring costs.
Lee Paulsen collaborated with Rockwell Collins’ Advanced Technology Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and a team in their Melbourne, Florida, facility to make Electronically Scanned Array (ESA) technology much less expensive. ESAs enable fast, accurate tracking capabilities for satellites and other objects. Paulsen helped get this new technology into customers’ hands quickly, moving it from the lab to Rockwell Collins’ factories at an accelerated pace.
John Thedens stepped up as technical lead for 30 prototype radio systems that Rockwell Collins needed to develop and deliver to the U.S. Army for stringent military testing with a make-or-break qualification event looming. Thanks to the key roles that Thedens played, Rockwell Collins secured a position for part of the Army’s $12.7 billion Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity award on its Handheld, Manpack and Small Form Fit program. The win opens an opportunity for Rockwell Collins to compete against a strong incumbent in the ground mobile communications market, along with approximately $2 billion in potential sales.
Tap on the images to learn about each engineer’s accomplishments.
Robert Armstrong was the chief designer for the steep approach, autonomous flare and low-visibility takeoff functions in Rockwell Collins’ Head-up Guidance System (HGS™). He also served as the primary focal for training and technical guidance in the autoland system design on Bombardier’s C Series aircraft, and was the chief designer for the HGS takeoff rotation guidance function on the Boeing 737.
Amrit Chatterjee served as the India Design Center lead on the maintenance software for the Boeing 777X fly-by-wire program. In addition to acting as a team leader, Chatterjee was one of the software architects for the maintenance application and brought extensive experience in fly-by-wire flight-control technology, which Boeing was using for the first time on its 777X.
Greg Creek drove the development, implementation and delivery of cybersecurity services to global customers needing protection for their critical systems and infrastructure. Creek helped integrate cybersecurity software and monitoring equipment that provides plant security, turbine control and radiation monitoring at a U.S. nuclear power plant.
Clint Stanerson was the primary technical lead for the Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) team on the TruNet™ networked communications solution. TruNet is the first software-defined network communications solution to ensure secure connectivity between ground and airborne elements. Stanerson was the primary designer for four of TruNet’s unique, radio-frequency FPGA innovations.
Dan Turner’s new production management tools have standardized manufacturing processes across multiple Rockwell Collins locations while cutting $1.5 million in costs and eliminating manual processes. In addition, his contributions to virtual-reality-based producibility analysis on new designs have captured multiple design defects, saving more than $650,000.
Levi Van Oort solved a major customer’s issue, reducing the time it took to render graphics on a flight mission computer from 400 milliseconds down to just four milliseconds. Solution in hand, Van Oort traveled from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to Heidelberg, Germany, bringing together teams across Rockwell Collins and their customer to implement his idea.
Jean-Philippe Wasselin took Rockwell Collins’ perimeter surveillance radar (PSR-500) system from prototype to installed product for the French Ministry of Defense in only five months. He led system design, development and demonstration, and was the main customer contact for installation. The PSR-500 now helps protect some of the French Army’s largest ammunition sites from terrorist threats.
Brian Wolford helped to successfully integrate Pro Line Fusion® avionics into a ground control station for a certifiable unmanned aircraft system (UAS) capable of being integrated into national airspace systems. This provided Rockwell Collins with a competitive advantage in the unmanned aircraft market. Leading his team in the development of an UAS kit prompted a first-in-industry unmanned aerial vehicle flight that went beyond the visual line of sight.
As the engineer responsible for the security design and assurance of satellite communications (SATCOM) systems for Airbus, Angela Knudson devised a way to bring existing SATCOM products up to Airbus’ highest security level with minimal impact to the design. Knudson is also working closely with Rockwell Collins’ Advanced Technology Center on new SATCOM developments to bring smaller, lighter and more reliable antenna technology to commercial aircraft.