Employee Spotlight – Todd Wesley
Tell us a little bit about yourself (include family info)?
Husband to Theresa, and father to Michaela (7) and Grant (5). I enjoy family trips (especially the relaxing kind), raising my two wonderful kids, and getting the occasional round or two of golf in when I can.
Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Clarkson University (www.clarkson.edu)
As a Systems Engineer at Northstrat, what is your daily routine like? Or is there one?
My job isn’t one of a typical systems engineer….I’m currently providing Integration and Test (I&T) Spacecraft Management services and solutions on a two-unit developmental cube-sat program at Northrup Grumman Innovation Systems (NGIS) in Dulles, Virginia.
Daily responsibilities include all activities associated with I&T: mechanical, electrical, RF and coordination of other disciplines and work centers supporting I&T, such as propulsion test, harness and quality assurance activities. These responsibilities will span the start of I&T through launch of the satellites. Additionally:
Cost Account Manager (CAM) for satellite I&T phase, including resource management (in concert with I&T functional managers), scheduling of I&T activities, and cost administration
Executing to the Test and Integration Master Plan (TIMP) and Integrated Master Schedule (IMS) for the integration, test and post-delivery activities of the cube-sat program
Verifying I&T review and sign-offs on all engineering products (drawings, test plans, etc) to ensure a concurrent engineering design approach and ability to build and test the spacecrafts
Oversee and ensure product build documentation completion and closure within the MRP system
Chair I&T based Test Readiness Reviews (TRRs) and Consent to Proceed reviews
Primary customer interface for all spacecraft integration, test, and launch activities
Provide the primary interface between the I&T Department and the associated NGIS Program Office
What aspect of your job do you enjoy most?
I truly enjoy the fast pace of the days, there is really no down time, but most importantly the team I work with. The personalities and depth of knowledge is amazing to watch (and manage) on a daily basis.
What do you enjoy most about working for Northstrat?
The culture is what is key for me. A caring senior staff, willing to invest in their employees and provide them opportunities. My trip to the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs this past spring is one great example. It was an experience that I would otherwise never be considered for to attend, and provided an amazing insight into the direction the aerospace industry is going in and the challenges that lie ahead.
What made you decide to become a Software Engineer?
Although I’ve dabbled in it during my career, I’ve never been what you would consider a Software Engineer. I became a Systems Engineer as a natural progression within my career path. Starting with a Mechanical Engineering degree out of school I became a manufacturing and quality engineer working in a high volume/high throughput factory. Those experiences led me to the aerospace industry where I worked for L3Harris (formerly Kodak C&GS) in Rochester NY where I ultimately became a mission assurance engineer. From 2005 until now I’ve worked primarily in a role within Integration & Test of Satellite and Satellite payloads. It’s been a great career working with amazing and dynamic teams.
Did/do you have a mentor? Tell us about that person.
I had two main mentors in my career. Mike Nastasia took me under his wing during my first formative year after college. Life lessons and the basics of working and surviving in a factory setting were tools that I use still to this day. The second was Doug Bertrand. Doug was an Operations Chief Engineer at L3Harris and was pivotal in my career and personal growth within the aerospace industry. His no nonsense, laid back demeanor lent a tremendous amount of patience and guidance to me and many other young engineers on his team. Our successes at L3Harris, and my success as an engineer were tied to him and his leadership and mentorship skills.
Any advice for young people who want to pursue STEM?
Patience, observe, and remember that practical application of what you learn in your textbooks may be less complicated than what you feel. Build trust and positive relationships with others. A solid team will always provide the best results!