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Program meetings typically 2nd Tuesday of month
Time: 6:00-7:00 CST
Food & networking at 5:30

Physical Locations

*Bell Helicopter
*L-3- Arlington
*L-3- Greenville
*Lockheed Martin Aero- Fort Worth
*Lockheed Martin MFC- Grand Prairie
*Raytheon- McKinney
*Abbott


Check out presentations from previous North Texas INCOSE Chapter Meetings!

Presentations can be found here

Board meetings typically 1st Tuesday of month
Time: 5:30-6:00 CST



Chapter Event Calendar

Remote Program Access
 
Teams (Video/Audio) - Click here to join the meeting. 
Contact INCOSE North Texas Chapter  ntxinfo @ incose dot net to be added to our meeting emails.
The meetings are not recorded. Presentation are posted in the library and resources during the following weekend if we receive the presentation.


Upcoming Chapter Events

Chapter Meeting April 13

Digital Engineering (DE): The Next Chapter of MBSE by Paul White

Remote Program Access: Teams (Video/Audio)
Join on your computer or mobile app

Abstract:  

What is digital engineering (DE)? How does DE relate to MBSE? In this presentation, we will show how DE is the next chapter of MBSE. We will talk about the Office of the Secretary Defense’s (OSD) Digital Engineering Strategy, released in June 2018. We will discuss the goals of the DES and how you can implement DE in your current and future systems engineering efforts. This presentation is for those who would like an introduction to DE.  


Bio

Paul White is the ICBM GBSD Digital Engineering Branch Lead for BAE Systems at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. He has worked previously at Kihomac, Astronautics Corporation of America, L-3 Harris, and Raytheon. He has 20 years of experience in the aerospace industry.

Paul has been an INCOSE member since 2007 serving in various top leadership roles in the North Texas (Dallas - Fort Worth) Chapter, Chicagoland Chapter, and Wasatch (Utah) Chapter.  He is the current president of the Wasatch Chapter.  Paul has been a leader in the annual Great Lakes Regional Conference (GLRC) since 2012 including conference chair for the 6th and 8th conferences.  He served as the conference chair for the first annual Western States Regional Conference (WSRC) in Ogden in 2018; and he serves on the WSRC Steering Committee for 2019 and beyond. He was awarded the INCOSE Outstanding Service Award in 2019. He serves as the Deputy Assistant Director of Technical Events in INCOSE's Technical Operations organization.

He has a graduate certificate in Systems Engineering and Architecting from the Stevens Institute of Technology, a Master of Science degree in Computer Science from Texas A&M University-Commerce, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Texas A&M University.  He is a Certified Systems Engineering Professional (CSEP) through INCOSE. 

 


Chapter Meeting March 9

Using Architecture and MBSE to Develop Validated Requirements by Dr. Ron Carson

Remote Program Access: Teams (Video/Audio)
Join on your computer or mobile app

Abstract:  Requirements incompleteness and ambiguity continue to plaque many organizations.  The introduction of MBSE provides an opportunity to relate the structure of the architecture model to the structure of requirements, and synchronize the data between them.
In this presentation we demonstrate how to use model-based systems engineering and the related architecture to develop and validate requirements of all types. We first describe the structure of different types of requirements and map the requirements elements, e.g., function, to elements of the architecture in the MBSE model. We show how these requirements elements map to specific data elements in a particular MBSE tool for all possible types of requirements. Finally, we show how this method enables validation of the requirements from the architecture.
Attendees will gain an understanding of how to integrate their organizational requirements development and MBSE architecture activities by mapping the data elements between them and integrating these into their MBSE tools.  

Bio
:  Dr. Ron Carson is an Adjunct Professor of Engineering at Seattle Pacific University, an Affiliate Assistant Professor in Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Washington, a Fellow of the International Council on Systems Engineering and a certified Expert Systems Engineering Professional. 
He retired in 2015 as a Technical Fellow in Systems Engineering after 27 years at The Boeing Company. He is the author of numerous articles regarding requirements analysis and systems engineering measurement. He has been issued six US patents in satellite communications, and two patents regarding “Structured Requirements Generation and Assessment”.
 

 



Chapter Meeting February 9

Innovation and national security by Dr. Tina P. Srivastava
 

Remote Program Access: Teams (Video/Audio)
Join on your computer or mobile app

Abstract: Dr. Srivastava will discuss innovation and national security, focusing on two key challenges: participation and secrecy. The participation challenge is about providing adequate incentives to potential innovators, and we will discuss challenges to incentivizing participants and how to overcome them. We will discuss IP policies, innovation contests, and incentivizing employees within a company, so business leaders can learn how to incentivize their own employees, and also how they can open up the innovation process to enable broader diversity in innovation by applying open innovation strategies to overcome technology hurdles. The secrecy challenge is about technology innovation for national security where secrecy can be an obstacle. Dr. Srivastava is passionate about technology innovation and in particular, how we can harness it to further national security and competitiveness -- for example, targeted innovation to land an astronaut on the moon, or develop stealth machinery for cyber defense. But secrecy in classified environments sometimes makes it hard to recruit and innovate. We will discuss how to navigate various contracting and legal channels. We will also discuss government programs and policies related to technology innovation and government contracting.

Bio
:  Dr. Tina P. Srivastava has served on INCOSE’s Board of Directors and received the INCOSE Inaugural David Wright Leadership Award in 2014 for technical and interpersonal competencies in the practice of system engineering as a means for solving the great challenges of our planet. She is a lecturer at MIT in the areas of aerodynamics, aviation, complex systems, and technology road mapping and selection. She is also the author of Innovating in a Secret World, featured by MIT. Dr. Srivastava co-chairs the PM-SE Integration Working Group and is one of the authors and editors of the book Integrating Program Management and Systems Engineering. As an innovator, entrepreneur, and technology expert, Tina’s experience spans roles as Chief Engineer of electronic warfare programs at Raytheon to cofounder of a venture-backed security startup. She is an FAA-certified pilot and instructor of MIT’s Pilot Ground School course. Dr. Srivastava earned her PhD in Strategy, Innovation, and Engineering, a Masters in System Design and Management, and a Bachelors in Aeronautics and Astronautics, all from MIT.

 


Chapter Meeting January 12

North Texas 2021 by Justin C' de Baca

Location: Virtual (see chapter newsletter and top of this page for connection information)

Abstract: I will be using this meeting to cover a number of things for the 2021 year. Material will include:

  • Promotion of INCOSE IW2021
  • Impact of INCOSE 2020 report
  • INCOSE NTX's Road to Gold Status in 2021
  • Overview of TEAMS for members
We are hoping to get this year off to a great start, and this meeting will be a great place to discuss where we are heading and take any questions from our members.

Bio: Justin is our chapter president this year.

 



All Events

INCOSE Presents: Systems Engineering Pathways to AI Now!

  • Date:
    Nov 09, 2021 8:00 AM - 11:00 AM PT
    PT
  • Address: Online
  • Venue:
    Online

 INCOSE small events_AI logo 

INCOSE Presents an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Mini Event:
Systems Engineering Pathways to AI Now!
Hosted by Kerry Lunney, INCOSE President

Join us to hear from our systems engineers and AI experts on how systems engineering is moving forward with incorporation of AI right now. We have four great speakers and topics:

  • Alejandro Salado, How to Verify AI
  • Terril Hurst, Causal Inference: Key for Opening the AI Black Box for Systems Engineering
  • Barclay Brown, Data Requirements and the Green School Bus Problem
  • Mehran Irdmousa, Increasing the Success Rate of AI and ML Systems Deployment at the Enterprise Level
There will also be an open floor Q&A time for all participants to ask questions and exchange ideas.
Registration is now open to attend this informative event. For more information, please visit: https://www.incose.org/events-and-news/small-events/ai-november-9

 
  • What is INCOSE Certification's relationship with DAU, and will it continue?

    by Courtney Wright | Nov 12, 2021
    If you have a SPRDE or Engineering certification from the US Defense Acquisition University (DAU), you may be able to bypass some of the steps in the path to ASEP or CSEP certification with INCOSE. It does not matter what date you earned your DAU certification, but it does have to be in the SPRDE or Engineering category.

    Those with a Level II or Level III DAU Engineering or SPRDE Certification may bypass the INCOSE knowledge exam with proof of certification. Qualifying individuals can simply become INCOSE individual members and complete the ASEP application and payment to become ASEPs. They may also apply knowledge exam results toward earning their CSEP.

    Those with Level III DAU Engineering or SPRDE Certification get a streamlined path to CSEP and do not need to take the knowledge exam. They also do not need to document their qualifying degree, as DAU has already confirmed that. The remaining technical requirements – for experience documentation and references – will be addressed in a short application form. Qualifying individuals will write a single narrative description of their work experience that is signed by their current supervisor, with no additional references required. This application, proof of DAU certification and the CSEP application fee will qualify INCOSE members to become CSEPs.

    The DAU has recently announced a transition to a new certification in Engineering and Technical Management (ETM). This certification is significantly different from the prior certifications. There are no plans to provide a streamlined path from ETM certification to INCOSE certifications. Learn more about the DAU changes in their Back to Basics materials here: https://www.dau.edu/back-to-basics/pages/resources.aspx 
  • How can I check on my certification status without having to communicate with a human?

    by Courtney Wright | Nov 05, 2021

    INCOSE notifies candidates of their progress toward certification by sending them emails. You may also check the status of your application, references, and exam results through your member profile on the INCOSE website. 

    We have a partner, Accredible, that will email you a link to view your certificate once you complete the certification process. When your certification expires, that will be noted on your certificate at the link Accredible sends you. 

    All SEPs are also listed on the INCOSE website.  The current SEP list is updated twice monthly and uploaded to the Certification page on the INCOSE website.


  • Did someone say "intern?"

    by Courtney Wright | Oct 29, 2021
    INCOSE's Certification Program hires two student interns each year. The ideal candidates have completed at least two years of engineering school, have strong written communication skills, and have experience living or working in more than one country. Both undergraduate and graduate students are welcome to apply for this paid internship. There are no residency or citizenship requirements and all work will be performed remotely. 

    Past intern work has included:
    * analysis of large data set
    * gathering content to populate change request log
    * writing paper that was submitted to INCOSE International Symposium
    * presenting INCOSE webinar, virtual chapter meeting, and at SE cafe
    * creating INCOSE certification videos, illustrations, and power point presentations
    * emailing with INCOSE members to get contact for the Certification Blog
    * performing trade study of tools
    * creating Google Forms

    Interested candidates should apply for this paid internship through the INCOSE Volunteer Opportunity Board: https://www.incose.org/about-incose/volunteer-opportunities/vo-request

    Applications are due on 5 November for the internship from December 2021 through February 2022. The next deadline will be early April 2021, for internships from May through August 2022. 
  • Can I know my score and a report of each question after taking the exam?

    by Courtney Wright | Oct 22, 2021

    INCOSE shares with candidates whether they passed or failed an exam but not their score nor what the required score was to pass.  Standard e-mails are used to notify candidates of their results on paper exams. Candidates who test on the computer are shown their exam results immediately after they finish the exam.

    For both paper and computer exams, INCOSE collects but does not share individual scores and answers to each question. Information about what wrong answers were chosen is useful to us in improving the exam in the future. At the advice of our psychometricians, we do not share this detailed information with candidates. 

  • How many questions are on the INCOSE knowledge exam?

    by Courtney Wright | Oct 15, 2021
    The INCOSE knowledge exam is a multiple choice test based on the INCOSE Systems Engineering Handbook.

    The exam contains 100 scored questions. It may have 0, 20, or 50 additional questions that do not count toward the candidate’s score. These are beta questions, which are being evaluated for the future. The exam duration is 1 minute per question, including both scored and unscored questions. If you qualify for special accommodations - most commonly due to a native language other than English - you will be given additional time. 

    A 120-question exam is the standard version offered online, and lasts 120 minutes. A candidate who qualifies for extra time will be given 30 minutes extra, for a total of 150 minutes. 

    Most in-person, paper exams contain 100 questions. The standard time for these exams is 100 minutes. Those candidates who qualify for extra time will be given 30 minutes extra, for a total of 130 minutes.

    The least common exam format is 150 questions. This exam has a standard duration of 150 minutes and a special accommodations duration of 190 minutes. 

    Unless you are told to expect otherwise, your in-person exam will contain 100 questions and your online exam will contain 120 questions.
  • Where can I get a CSEP polo shirt or jacket?

    by Courtney Wright | Oct 08, 2021

    If you attend an INCOSE International Workshop or International Symposium, you may be lucky enough to win a SEP polo shirt at the Certification Reception, to which all SEPs are invited.  Otherwise, you can buy it from Lands End

    At the Lands End store, you’ll find men’s and women’s polos, button-ups, and jackets, as well as blankets, towels, and bags.  All clothes come in multiple sizes and colors.  You can get an ASEP, CSEP, or ESEP logo embroidered on these items, or you can get the standard INCOSE logo.  The SEP logos are for current SEPs only, not just fans of the Certification Program.

    INCOSE does not make a profit off these but rather offers them as a way for SEPs to advertise their own status and affiliation. If you would like to use the SEP logo for items from a local vendor, please contact certification@incose.net to discuss this with the Certification Program Manager. It will probably be approved, we just want to understand the products and make sure the branding follows INCOSE branding guidelines
  • Be the Blog

    by Courtney Wright | Oct 01, 2021
    We would love to include you in our SEPtember 2022 blog posts. If you are a SEP who wants to participate, please answer our interview questions in this form: https://forms.gle/KdMBknkBdtNibWuy9 In June or July 2022, our intern will reach out to everyone who has submitted a form response. 

    Are you a student who would like to be our next paid intern? Look at the INCOSE Volunteer Opportunity Board to see the listing for position CER-007. We hire interns twice per year, with the resume submission date listed at the Volunteer Opportunity Board site. https://www.incose.org/about-incose/volunteer-opportunities/vo-request 

    The Volunteer Opportunity Board is where we list other volunteer opportunities, too, including creating exam questions and volunteering as an application reviewer. 
  • Interview with Wellington Oliveira, CSEP

    by Courtney Wright | Oct 01, 2021

    This interview was conducted in 2021.wton csep

    Q1: Describe your current position/role.

    My current position is Technical Fellow for Systems Engineering at Embraer. Performing CONOPS, Requirements and Functional Analysis.

    Q2: What are one or two of your proudest professional accomplishments?  

    My proudest professional accomplishment is to implement Systems Engineering at Aircraft Early Stages Development at my company.

    Q3: What is the biggest challenge you face as a Systems Engineer?   

    My biggest challenge as a Systems Engineer is to implement Systems Engineering in Brazil. We almost do not have this knowledge in our Engineering Schools. Just two or thee learning opportunities. I recognize the importance of INCOSE in my career.

    Q4: What advice do you have for individuals starting their career as a Systems Engineer?       

    Touch the ground. A good systems engineer has a passion for understand systems behavior in his operational environment!

    Q5: How do you continue to learn about SE? What professional development activities do you do?    

    I participate in INCOSE working groups, webinars and INCOSE IS.

    Q6: What are the next career goals you want to achieve?      

    The next career goals that I want to achieve is to participate as Systems Engineer in the development of a systems that gives a high contribution to society.

    Q7: What are some of your hobbies/interests outside of work?          

    I study history. I have a special interest in woodworking

    Q8: Why did you decide to get the SEP certification?

    The reason to get my SEP Certification is the opportunity to inspire the practitioners of my country to perform a really engineered founded approach to complex systems development. It is not only to improve my career it is a way to improve engineering in my country.

    Q9: How does the SEP certification impact your professional career?

    Systems Engineering is very broad and when I put into practice my knowledge there exists a sense of recognizing by the Community that this knowledge is well-founded in international practices.

    Q10: What has surprised you in the past five years related to systems engineering?    

    Systems Engineering is spreading to many different domains!

    Q11: What job titles have you had other than Systems Engineer?        

    I had the job title of Stress Analysis Engineer

    Q12: Are there any other final comments you would like to make? Include here if you are the first SEP within some group, like your chapter, company, or country.

    I am the first SEP of Brazil.

  • Interview with Kerry Lunney, ESEP

    by Courtney Wright | Sep 30, 2021

    This interview was conducted in 2021.
    SEP Interview - Kerry Lunney photo
    Q1: Describe your current position/role.

    Kerry is currently a Country Engineering Director / Chief Engineer at Thales Australia, based in Sydney. In this role she provides technical leadership and governance on bids and projects, delivers technical training programs, and participates on the Technical Board of Thales Australia.  She often undertakes personal intervention in different business units or on projects as required and is strong in forming and animating networks of key stakeholders, engaging with relevant actors at country level, Group level and external to Thales. In addition to this role, Kerry is currently the President of INCOSE, completing the 2nd year of her two-year term, after serving as the Asia-Oceania Director and President-Elect in the preceding years. Kerry is a Fellow of Engineers Australia with a status of Engineering Executive and Chartered Professional Engineer, is a member of IEEE, and is a certified INCOSE ESEP.

    Q2: What are one or two of your proudest professional accomplishments?

    Kerry was quite excited to have been the first individual certified as an INCOSE ESEP in Australia. Additionally, she served as the INCOSE Symposium Chair in 2001 when it was held in Australia. Kerry described this experience as being fun and rewarding having run a conference for 500-900 people over the course of 3 ½ days. Reinforcing the significance of this career highlight, Kerry was recognized (over the phone) by one of her ESEP panelists as having been the 2001 INCOSE Symposium Chair! Another example of accomplishments was the development and delivery of complex Data Centers in Sri Lanka and Thailand, where Kerry was able to have a significant impact on the organization, management, total systems engineering, and risk mitigation approaches resulting in a successfully deliver a working system to her customers.

    But at the top of the list was the honor to serve as President of INCOSE.

    Q3: What is the biggest challenge you face as a Systems Engineer?

    Kerry explains that, quite frankly, the biggest challenge being a Systems Engineer is that most people don’t understand what a Systems Engineer does, and hence the importance of such a role to facilitate a successful outcome in delivering a system solution.  Likewise, it is not a role that can be largely taught in educational institutions.  Yes, the foundations and many problem-solving approaches and techniques can, but to be a good Systems Engineer takes more than that. It takes education and experience to get everyone on the same page with respect to systems engineering. Finally, although the term “Systems Engineering” was primarily conceived out of the Defense world, many who practice the core Systems Engineering processes and disciplines don’t know they are actually doing systems engineering.

    Q4: What advice do you have for individuals starting their career as a Systems Engineer?

    Kerry believes Systems Engineering is a good field with lots of opportunity. Based on the trends within industry and advancements in technology, there are many more integrated systems these days and/or going that way in the near-future. For individuals starting their career as Systems Engineers, Kerry recommends focusing on a depth or expertise in a specific engineering discipline first. Once proficient, they should then expand with other disciplines that interest them to help become aware of other facets of the system. That being said, Kerry feels that acquiring experience is essential to build from a formal educational basis. Additionally, she also cautions Systems Engineers from getting caught up being a specialist and getting pigeon holed in only one or two Systems Engineering work areas – one should not lose focus of the entire system when considering any one aspect. Kerry also advises that disruptive technologies are always those items that pop up out of the blue and a good Systems Engineer must think how they will impact / disrupt modern systems. Therefore, a Systems Engineer must stay current with emerging trends in the industry and be prepared to work hard. Finally, a Systems Engineer must have soft skills in addition to technical skills as there are many situations where one must work with groups of people with all types of backgrounds, expertise, and interest in the overall system.

    Q5: How do you continue to learn about SE? What professional development activities do you do?

    In addition to her career commitments and responsibilities, Kerry also enjoys volunteering in INCOSE and also in the Australian Chapter, the Systems Engineering Society of Australia (SESA), where she served as President from 2008-2009.  Kerry also reads as much as she can (e.g., INCOSE’s website, publications, Working Group minutes / deliverables) to stay current on technology and the latest SE practices, and looks for opportunities at work to be part of a larger technical community.  What can be discussed and learned from colleagues worldwide can be very insightful.  Kerry also makes time to simply talk to specialists, experts, and others in the industry as that typically yields the most beneficial insights to helpful and relevant SE practices. Kerry also attends lectures, conferences, and technical / industry group events as much as her busy schedule allows.

    Q6: What are the next career goals you want to achieve?

    Although extremely accomplished in her professional career, Kerry hopes to one day make time to write a novel but weave through it a systems perspective – matching fiction with fact with future. She would also like to continue holding technical leadership roles at the senior/executive level and tackle difficult problems. Similarly, loving her roles as a Technical Leader, Kerry wishes to someday give back to the younger generation through mentoring, supporting educational programs and providing expert guidance on one or two key technical challenges of the future. Kerry will eventually and gradually retire someday.

    Q7: What are some of your hobbies/interest outside of work?

    Special interests outside of SE include walking her dog Max, reading the occasional fiction novel, camping, playing the piano, cycling, swimming, body surfing, scuba diving, and many other outdoor activities in the vicinity of the beach.

    Q8:  Are there any other final comments you would like to make?

    Systems Engineering can have many different meanings to other professionals.  It is very broad in its adaptation across different industries and can be very complex. But because of this it can open many doors for the individual to progress through his/her career. No other technical field can provide the exposure to other technical fields in different domains across various industries.  It is a great field to either progress in or to use as a jumping board to move into another area of expertise.

    Q9:  Why did you decide to get the SEP certification?

    Kerry had been considering to apply for SEP certification but the catalyst was actually through her employer Thales. At that time, Thales was looking to put through a number of candidates from around the world to strengthen the organization’s expertise in systems engineering and to be recognized as holding this expertise. As a result, Kerry moved forward with her application, initially for CSEP level but while gathering all her material to support her application she realized she could qualify for ESEP, and the rest is history.

    Q10:  How does the SEP certification impact your professional career?

    It is not clear if the SEP certification has impacted Kerry’s career.  It certainly has not had any negative effect, quite the opposite.  The SEP qualification often has to be explained but it is always well received.  As a result, Kerry is starting to see the recognition grow in Australia. It does place you apart from your colleagues, so that is positive.  And for Kerry it was great to be the first person in Australia to obtain this qualification.

    Q11:  What has surprised you in the past five years related to systems engineering?

    What has surprised Kerry over the past five years is that there is a growing need for better system solutions with the increasing inter-dependencies and inter-connectedness, yet we are still having the challenge of being recognized for our expertise to work these system solutions.  They are opposing elements in the same ecosystem. It is almost as if there is an identity crisis for Systems Engineers.  Kerry noted that in-roads are being made and our position has improved over the five years but she thought we would have advanced further by now.

    Q12:  What job titles have you had other than “Systems Engineer?”

    • Systems Design Lead
    • Systems Engineering Manager
    • Principal Systems Engineer
    • Chief Systems Engineer
    • Systems Project Manager
    • Chief Engineer
    • Technical Lead
    • Technical & Engineering Director
    • Technology General Manager
    • Engineer Grade 1
    • Engineer Grade 2
    • Software Quality Engineer
    • Engineering Manager
    • Project XYZ Engineering Manager
    • Engineering Process Manager
    • Joint Architecture Group Leader
    • System Architect
    • Solution Engineering Manager
    • Project Design Authority
  • Interview with Fatima Hanif, ASEP

    by Courtney Wright | Sep 30, 2021

    This interview was conducted in 2021.Fatima Hanif

    Q1: Describe your current position/role.

    As a Pre-Sales Engineer, I facilitate the sales productivity and flow by delivering the right system design solution and ensuring technical feasibility in complex solutions based on the company's products.

    Q2: What are one or two of your proudest professional accomplishments?  

    Being a presales engineer requires a lot of coordination and constant teamwork which has led me to meet the customer requirements and therefore, deliver efficient system design for any complex problems. This is what I feel is my proudest accomplishment as it leads me to apply the principles of systems engineering.
    For this constant hard work, I was recognized twice by my current employer as a TOPBOT, which is basically a way to appreciate the employees in my organization for their hard work and efforts.

    Q3: What is the biggest challenge you face as a Systems Engineer?   

    The biggest challenge I face as a systems engineer is to consolidate all the information and manage the consistency between knowledge shared across various departments. Documentation is, most of the times taken for granted, when in fact it shouldn't be.

    Q4: What advice do you have for individuals starting their career as a Systems Engineer?       

    For someone starting a career as a SE, i'd recommend that it always starts with a WHY.

    Q5: How do you continue to learn about SE? What professional development activities do you do?    

    As a budding systems engineer, I never miss out an opportunity to connect with the industry experts who have a lot to offer. Also, being an avid reader and learner, I keep enhancing my knowledge by reading books on various SE subjects and the tools used.

    Q6: What are the next career goals you want to achieve?      

    I want to be recognized as an expert systems engineer.

    Q7: What are some of your hobbies/interests outside of work?          

    Sports specially badminton, music, traveling, reading

    Q8: Why did you decide to get the SEP certification?

    I have always been a person who loves to reason out everything. That particular ability of mine made me want to learn more about how to apply my thinking into something more grand whilst staying focused on the problem.

    Q9: How does the SEP certification impact your professional career?

    I try to exercise my new skills in my current role by providing detailed methods of application and examples of SE working in practice.

    Q10: What job titles have you had other than Systems Engineer?        

    Presales Engineer/Design and Estimation Engineer

  • Interview with Ankita Jawale, ASEP

    by Courtney Wright | Sep 29, 2021

    SEP Interview 2021_Ankita Jawale photoThis interview was conducted in 2021.

    Q1: Describe your current position/role.

    Currently, I am working as Systems Engineer in Health care domain.

    Q2: What are one or two of your proudest professional accomplishments?

    I am happy to share that I was a winner of the 2020 Women in Engineering - RD&E award from the Industrial domain in my previous organization based on my technical achievements and contributions to make an impact on products and processes.

    Q3: What is the biggest challenge you face as a Systems Engineer?

    I would say in my experience, traceability among various artifacts and managing design input changes became challenging in later lifecycle phases in complex system development.

    Q4: What advice do you have for individuals starting their career as a Systems Engineer?

    Personally, I got a great experience by learning the SE approach and gaining practical experience on the job and as part of the INCOSE working group by driving better solutions through a holistic understanding of the problem. Thus, I would suggest starting with a similar approach to get a better understanding.

    Q5: How do you continue to learn about SE? What professional development activities do you do?

    Beyond my current responsibilities as a Systems Engineer, I am part of the MBSE Local Working Group in INCOSE India Chapter, which gives me an excellent opportunity to continue learning and adopting best practices guided by professionals from various industries and work on exciting problems statements and develop systems using MBSE methodology.

    Q6: What are the next career goals you want to achieve?

    I would like to obtain extensive practical experience and understanding to become a Certified SEP and a functional leader to guide the team of Systems Engineers.

    Q7: What are some of your hobbies/interests outside of work?

    Nowadays, during my free time or on weekends, I explore indoor interests of playing musical keyboard and designing web based systems (understanding programming).

    Q8: Why did you decide to get the SEP certification?

    I decided to apply for SEP certification to gain exposure to broad Systems Engineering knowledge. The main purpose was to learn and develop systems thinking skills and understand the systems approach applied to engineer systems.

    Q9: How does the SEP certification impact your professional career?

    SEP certification had a significant impact on my career to expand my exposure to systems-level programs, get recognized, and able to dive into more responsibilities as a Systems Engineer. In addition, the journey towards SEP certification truly helped me understand deeply to bring in a holistic approach from a systems perspective to drive improved solutions.

    Q10: What has surprised you in the past five years related to systems engineering?

    I think transitioning to the MBSE approach is really emerging to deal with the limitations of the traditional document-based approach. Being one of the pioneers to explore and adopt MBSE in organizations, I have experienced the value that MBSE offers to improve quality by reducing the risks early.

    Q11: What job titles have you had other than “Systems Engineer?”

    Requirements Engineer

  • Interview with Rath Feil, CSEP

    by Courtney Wright | Sep 28, 2021

    SEP Interview - Rath Feil photoThis interview was conducted in 2021.

    Q1: Describe your current position/role.

    I am a Technical Supplier Manager: managing supplier technical issue, support supplier transfer project (supplier change) and support company audit team during supplier audit.

    Q2: What are one or two of your proudest professional accomplishments?

    At the beginning of the ramping up COVID-19 test-instrument production:

    • The supplier delivery consumable with barcode issue. I have supported a team to provide an official solution for the customer within a few days.
    • Prevent production stop several times by solving supplier quality issue in timely manner, mainly by making them understand how we use their parts on our instrument.

    Q3: What is the biggest challenge you face as a Systems Engineer?

    Implement system engineer processes together with non-system-engineering understanding stakeholders who strictly follow their own processes or way of work.

    Q4: What advice do you have for individuals starting their career as a Systems Engineer?

    Identify experts, learn from them, be creative and experiment system engineer in your daily work, even in a small task.

    Q5: How do you continue to learn about SE? What professional development activities do you do?

    Learn from experts around me. Experiment, pick up a good thing from success and learn from mistake. Working with in different teams, suppliers and project bring many opportunities to grow. Reading or watching engineering project presentation, for example the cleaning-up Costa Concordia project.

    Q6: What are the next career goals you want to achieve?

    I have a private project but I have not even started to plan. This private project is my next career goal.

    Q7: What are some of your hobbies/interests outside of work?

    Growing up in Bangkok, I am a typical big-city foodie. I love checking out good/famous restaurants, especially French or Asian fusion food.

    Q8: Why did you decide to get the SEP certification?

    My company provided an interesting workshop introducing System Engineer. It was interesting and made me feel that it will add value to my work. I did not need to travel far for the exam as the company organized it to be at our campus and it was free of charge. It was easy for me to decide to get the certificate.

    Q9: How does the SEP certification impact your professional career?

    I do not know whether this certificate helps me get this new position as a technical supplier manager or not, but I do believe having a CSEP certificate provides a good reference beyond other work reference.

    Q10: What has surprised you in the past five years related to systems engineering?

    No matter how much we learnt, we still make mistake and even repeat the same mistake.

    Q11: What job titles have you had other than “Systems Engineer?”

    Software developer, Test engineer, Customer case handling in Global quality and regulatory department.

    Q12: Are there any other final comments you would like to make

    For me, System Engineering is like a religion. I believe in it and live with it: even a private trip planning, it can be my next system-engineering project.

  • Interview with Tim Vermilion, ESEP

    by Courtney Wright | Sep 27, 2021

    SEP Interview 30 - Tim Vermilion photoThis interview was conducted in 2021.

    Q1: Describe your current position/role.

    Tim’s current position is as a Program Manager leading a team of systems engineering experts performing acquisition integration, test, and launch for satellite programs for the U.S. Government.  In this role he applies his Systems Engineering knowledge to satellite requirements, assembly, test, and launch integration activities.  He leads a team of 40+ people who conduct requirements definition for satellite systems, they then assist the government program office in guiding the programs through design, assembly, test, launch and on orbit activation.

    Q2: What are one or two of your proudest professional accomplishments?

    One of Tim’s proudest professional accomplishments was working in the Government program office for the Space-Based Space Surveillance (SBSS) system where he, as a member of a smaller organization, was a key member of satellite launch requirements and launch campaign execution.  Tim successfully worked across engineering disciplines and multiple contractors to manage all launch requirements.  In this technical advisory role he managed the acquisition of launch sites, satellite processing facilities as well as communications and data requirements at the launch site.

    Q3: What is the biggest challenge you face as a Systems Engineer?

    One of the challenges Tim encounters is to balance “ideal” Systems Engineering principles and cost.  In the satellite programs, there might be an “ideal” flow of systems integration and test events to develop the required functionality and minimize risk; however, this is not always feasible due to cost and schedule constraints. 

    Q4: What advice do you have for individuals starting their career as a Systems Engineer?

    Tim has two pieces of advice for individuals starting a career as a Systems Engineer:  1) Every time a requirement is written always identify how that requirement is going to be verified. This will ensure the requirements are executable; and 2) Do not underestimate the value of building a network of people that one can go to for advice and help.  Building relationships is key to performing one’s job well as a SE.

    Q5: How do you continue to learn about SE? What professional development activities do you do?

    Tim continues to learn about Systems Engineering by taking technical classes in various areas of interest.  He interacts with other engineers at different technical forums and symposiums and exchanges experiences with different people across disciplines and agencies.  Additionally, Tim has enjoyed being a guest lecturer on SE topics at local universities and other groups.

    Q6: What are the next career goals you want to achieve?

    Now an ESEP, Tim continues to lead teams who are at the fore front of SE to build the next generation of launch vehicles or satellites.

    Q7: What are some of your hobbies/interest outside of work?

    Outside of work, Tim enjoys spending time with his wife and three children.  His oldest daughter is studying Commercial Music at Liberty University.  His other daughter Megan is entering her junior year and is a member of the National Honor Society.  He son Joel is in middle school and Tim helps lead the his sons Trail Life USA Troop where he leads many backpacking and other outdoor activities.

    Q8:  Are there any other final comments you would like to make?

    Tim enjoys being an ESEP and is thankful for his connection with INCOSE. This has helped him in his career and understanding of Systems Engineering.

  • Interview with Alejandro Hernandez, CSEP

    by Courtney Wright | Sep 26, 2021

    SEP Interview (Alejandro Hernandez) photoThis interview was conducted in 2021.

    Q1: Describe your current position/role.

    My current position is principal engineer at Roche Diagnostics International. This position is a matrix leader position, where I need to coordinate the work of my colleagues from different specialties. I am also a technical lead, with the responsibility of defining best practices, architecture and conceptual solutions for our projects.

    Q2: What are one or two of your proudest professional accomplishments?

    My two proudest professional accomplishments were the development of a sensory feedback for myoelectrically controlled prostheses system during my PhD and the successful lead of a complex features encompassing the need to coordinate the work between chemistry, electronics, software and system integration to be implemented in several of our instruments for automated diagnostics.

    Q3: What is the biggest challenge you face as a Systems Engineer?

    The biggest challenge I face as a Systems Engineer is the communication between our very diverse stakeholders in our projects. Finding the right communication channels to be able to transmit the right level of complexity and technical detail is one of the biggest challenges I find in my work.

    Q4: What advice do you have for individuals starting their career as a Systems Engineer?

    I will recommend patience, since systems engineering covers different disciplines and topics, and it requires time to be able to get the understanding on how everything is connected in the lifetime of a system.

    Q5: How do you continue to learn about SE? What professional development activities do you do?

    I continue educating myself on different topics regarding System Engineering. I am particularly interested in systems architecture, and the tools that help to manage complexity. Since one of the challenges is communication, I am studying Model Based Systems Engineering, to be able to encapsulate the complexity of our systems with different levels of abstraction, so that I can address the right level to the right audience.

    Q6: What are the next career goals you want to achieve?

    One of my personal goals is to become a Lead Systems Engineer/System Architect at my work, to be able to contribute with the tools provided to have very successful projects, such that we can continue improving people lives through our automatic diagnostics instruments.

    Q7: What are some of your hobbies/interests outside of work?

    I love reading, technical and non-technical literature. Depending on the mood, I might spend my time learning new technical topics, or spend some relaxing time reading fantasy or Science fiction books.

    Recently, I enjoy going to the forest with my wife and daughters.

    Q8: Why did you decide to get the SEP certification?

    I learned about system engineering through a colleague who happened to be very enthusiastic about the topic and a CSEP. He explain to me what a system engineer does and the positive impact it has on systems development. Since I had a broad spectrum of responsibilities in my work, becoming a system engineer looked to me as the next logical step in my career.

    Q9: How does the SEP certification impact your professional career?

    The CSEP certification helped me to position myself in my company as a person with the required know-how to help us handle the complexity in our projects. Besides the certification, the possibility to exchange ideas with like-minded people has open several doors to my professional development.

    Q10: What has surprised you in the past five years related to systems engineering?

    Our systems have increased use of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, software as a differentiator, and a closer interaction between intelligent machines and their users. All these factors increase the complexity for the management and development of the systems. Therefore, I am most interested in the evolution of the Model Based Systems Engineering discipline, and its impact on managing the increase complexity of our systems.

    Q11: What job titles have you had other than “Systems Engineer?”

    I have held the roles of Software Developer, Lead Software Developer, Research Assistant, Scientist/Project Lead, Senior Embedded Systems Engineer, Software Architect, and recently Principal Engineer.

  • Interview with John Vantuno, CSEP

    by Courtney Wright | Sep 25, 2021

    SEP Interview 28 - John Vantuno photoThe following questions are from an interview in 2014:

    Q1: Describe your current position/role.

    John is the requirements manager (using DOORS) at Covidien for an electro-surgical generator. He is in charge of the change control board for systems and software. He also performs system verification testing.

    Q2: What are one or two of your proudest professional accomplishments?

    John is proud of getting a job in the aerospace field during a tough time for hiring in that area. He is proud of performing integration with the THAAD missile system. He was asked to assist with the effort by completing an interface requirement specification and taking it from an outline to a 95% complete project in one month.

    Q3: What is the biggest challenge you face as a Systems Engineer?

    John’s greatest challenge is having to manage without authority.

    Q4: What advice do you have for individuals starting their career as a Systems Engineer?

    John advises that soft skills are just as important as hard skills. As SE soft skills are critical to communicate and be able to make people work together on projects. He suggests reading the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” He also recommends starting a Systems Engineering career early while outside work pressures are not as heavy, and one can build a reputation for the future.

    Q5: How do you continue to learn about SE? What professional development activities do you do?

    INCOSE symposiums and webinars are very important ways that John continues to learn. Self-study and working with a mentor to further knowledge across other disciplines are other opportunities he pursues to further his SE knowledge.

    Q6: What are the next career goals you want to achieve?

    In the future John would love to be a Chief Systems Engineer, engineer manager, or someone establishing process across the community.

    Q7: What are some of your hobbies/interest outside of work?

    John enjoys doing cross fit training, lifting, running, ballroom dancing, racket ball, and model rocketry. 

    Q8:  Are there any other final comments you would like to make?

    John feels it is difficult to get recognized as an entry Systems Engineer since young engineers do not have the particular hard skills to base their work on.

    In 2021, we reached out to Mr. Vantuno to answer more questions:

    Q9: Why did you decide to get the SEP certification?

    I decided to pursue my SEP certification to be able to benchmark my Systems Engineering experience and knowledge outside my company.

    Q10: How does the SEP certification impact your professional career?

    I’ve found the SEP certification to help in seeking employment as a Systems Engineer.

    Q11: What has surprised you in the past five years related to systems engineering?

    I feel as though the body of knowledge in Systems Engineering has been better shared over the past 5 years.

    Q12: What job titles have you had other than “Systems Engineer?”

    I started my career as a Quality Control Technician and then a Truss Engineer.  But my title has been Systems Engineer for the past 23 years.

  • Interview with Regina Loeser, ASEP

    by Courtney Wright | Sep 24, 2021

    SEP Interview Regina Loeser 2021 photoThis interview was conducted in 2021.

    Q1: Describe your current position/role.

    Leader of the Product Definition Team – leading a team which is defining the scope and content for a software update project.

    Q2: What are one or two of your proudest professional accomplishments?

    Together with my team we elaborated the features for the software update project in a very short time. It was a challenging time with many overtime hours, but everybody took part and in the end we made it.

    Q3: What is the biggest challenge you face as a Systems Engineer?

    Usually the focus of the management is on solutions and they don’t see the need in investing time and effort upfront in understanding the actual problem. So, convincing them of the need to invest enough time/money at the beginning is one of the biggest challenges.

    Q4: What advice do you have for individuals starting their career as a Systems Engineer?

    Try to see as many different areas of Systems Engineering as possible

    Q5: How do you continue to learn about SE? What professional development activities do you do?

    At the moment I don’t do anything special outside of work. At work I try to get as many new experiences in other areas as possible.

    Q6: What are the next career goals you want to achieve?

    I would like to become a manager with direct reports as this would add a new challenge to the current tasks (currently it’s “only” matrix management without direct reports).

    Q7: What are some of your hobbies/interests outside of work?

    Reading, traveling, cross stitching.

    Q8: Why did you decide to get the SEP certification?

    My manager told me about it and I found it a challenge to study for another exam after graduation.

    Q9: How does the SEP certification impact your professional career?

    It was important for my manager and I feel appreciated when I made it.

    Q10: What has surprised you in the past five years related to systems engineering?

    How complex the development of new systems can become when you have to develop a system that is integrated in a larger environment.

    Q11: What job titles have you had other than “Systems Engineer?”

    I have never been called a systems engineer, but I have always worked in that field (started as a Test Case Author, then Test Manager, now Product Definition Lead).

  • Interview with Chris Waskiewicz, CSEP

    by Courtney Wright | Sep 23, 2021

    SEP Interview 2021_Chris Waskiewicz photoThis interview was conducted in 2021.

    Q1: Describe your current position/role.

    I am a Chief Engineer at Booz Allen Hamilton specializing in systems engineering and cybersecurity integration. I lead multiple engineering projects for our Navy clients in the San Diego area providing cybersecurity services and systems engineering expertise for Navy platforms and C4I systems.

    Q2: What are one or two of your proudest professional accomplishments?

    I am extremely proud to have reached the level of Chief Engineer at Booz Allen and get the opportunity to lead, develop, and mentor our engineering experts. I have enjoyed developing as an engineering leader and having the opportunity to grow and learn since starting as an entry-level engineer.

    Growing up it was always a dream to work in the space industry, and I am very proud to have had the opportunity to be a systems engineer supporting NASA and the development of the Orion spacecraft, NASA’s next vehicle that will travel to the moon and beyond.

    Q3: What is the biggest challenge you face as a Systems Engineer?

    Selling clients and projects on the importance of systems engineering. As systems engineers we understand the critical need for quality engineering practices throughout the systems development lifecycle, yet it is a pervasive challenge to show the importance of systems engineering in meeting cost, schedule, and performance demands. I always strive to see this as an opportunity because this means there will always be a demand for high-performing systems engineers.

    Q4: What advice do you have for individuals starting their career as a Systems Engineer?

    Be willing to learn as much as you can and find areas to grow and develop in each opportunity you get to progress towards your goals. Systems Engineers have the unique capability to provide expertise to a vast spectrum of technical challenges, and opportunities will present themselves if you are willing to challenge yourself, provide leadership through service, and identify where you need to grow.

    Q5: How do you continue to learn about SE? What professional development activities do you do?

    I strive to find new technical areas where I can learn and challenge myself, and also be willing to ask questions on how we can use or expertise to improve. I enjoy reading and learning as much as I can and speaking with clients and experts about their challenges.

    Q6: What are the next career goals you want to achieve?

    I’m excited to continue my growth as an engineering leader and look forward to serving as a senior leader at Booz Allen. My goals are to find new ways to tackle our client’s engineering challenges and grow and cultivate engineering talent.

    Q7: What are some of your hobbies/interests outside of work?

    I’m an avid golfer; I played competitively in the past and now play recreationally. I am a proud graduate of Virginia Tech and am very active in our alumni community, having served as our Alumni Association’s San Diego Chapter President. I enjoy video games and have been a huge sci-fi fan my whole life; my interest in Star Trek as a youth is one of the factors that drove me to want to be an engineer. I love athletics, and at one time was a professional basketball official. Along with my Hokies, I enjoy cheering on my Kansas City Chiefs and am still excited that I got to watch them win the Super Bowl after supporting for many years.

    Q8: Why did you decide to get the SEP certification?

    I was encouraged by my Booz Allen leadership to pursue the certification. As partners with INCOSE, Booz Allen is an advocate of the certification and I became interested in demonstrating my knowledge by becoming an ASEP. The SEP certification continues to be a differentiator in the engineering community and can help an aspiring systems engineer distinguish themselves. I have since upgraded to CSEP and look forward to the day when I will be eligible for ESEP.

    Q9: How does the SEP certification impact your professional career?

    It helped establish the foundational systems engineering expertise I possess. Being a SEP enables you to stand out in the engineering community and reinforces that you have the required knowledge and expertise to help a project apply systems engineering principles.

    Q10: What has surprised you in the past five years related to systems engineering?

    The need for systems engineering remains critically high. Despite the benefits that we know systems engineering provides, it remains one of the core challenges our clients face.

    Q11: What job titles have you had other than “Systems Engineer?”

    I started my career as an Aerospace Engineer; that was also the field of my degree. I have been a Systems Engineer during my time with Booz Allen, but have had the opportunity to work in several technical disciples including spacecraft development and cybersecurity. I have been able to grow and develop to take on the opportunity to have the title of Chief Engineer.

  • Interview with Neil Siegel, ESEP

    by Courtney Wright | Sep 22, 2021

    SEP Interview 25 - Neil Siegel photoThe interview presents information from 2014 and updates from 2021:

    Q1: Describe your current position/role.

    2014 - Dr. Siegel is currently Vice-President and Chief Technology Officer for Northrop Grumman    Information Systems, which is one of four operating sectors within the Northrup Grumman Corporation (NGC).  In this role, Dr. Siegel is responsible for the technical content of the company’s projects and proposals, directing the research program, and leading the talent-development program for the sector. Dr. Siegel also participates in many other company activities, such as long-range strategic planning.

    2021 - Dr. Siegel is currently The IBM Professor of Engineering Management”, within the department of industrial and systems engineering, at the University of Southern California. 

    Q2: What are one or two of your proudest professional accomplishments?

    2021 - Dr. Siegel has four professional accomplishments of which he is proudest.  First, Dr. Siegel led the team that rescued the HUNTER unmanned air vehicle (UAV) development in the late 1990s, taking a program that was literally cancelled by the Army, getting it “uncancelled,” finding and solving the issues that were causing reliability and safety problems, and then bringing the system performance into specification.  The HUNTER UAV program was the first UAS that was widely deployed as a fully operational war-fighting system, not just as an experiment, and as such, was a major contributor to the “UAV revolution”.  The HUNTER UAS was in use for 25 years, and just retired in early 2021. Second, Dr. Siegel was the Chief Engineer for the Forward-Area Air Defense System.  This was a first-of-a-kind command-and-control system, that 30 years later remains in use, and has received many awards and recognitions as a model system-development program. Third, Dr. Siegel was the leader of the team that developed the Army’s “Blue-Force Tracker” that provides U.S. soldiers and Marines with knowledge of the position of friendly and enemy forces, provides real-time command-and-control, and manages the dynamics of the battlefield (e.g., re-supply, artillery support).  The program has received many awards, and Dr. Siegel has received letters from soldiers thanking him and NGC for saving their lives with this technology.  This system also debuted a number of technologies that have crossed over into consumer electronics, and thereby provided important support to the smartphone and consumer electronics revolutions.  Fourth, early in his career, he played an important role in the first system to use a computer to analyze prescriptions as they are written, and notifying doctors and pharmacist’s of potential adverse interactions between different prescribed medicines, over-the-counter preparations, and the patient’s chronic conditions; tens of thousands of death were occurring in the U.S. alone due to this cause.  Almost every prescription in the U.S. and Europe now is processed through a system of this kind, saving significant number of lives every year.

    Q3: What is the biggest challenge you face as a Systems Engineer?

    2021 - The biggest challenge Dr. Siegel currently perceives is getting customers adequately to fund the Systems Engineering work required to be effective at engineering complex systems.  Dr. Siegel applauds the DoD for vocally championing the value proposition that Systems Engineering provides, but feels that other industries often do not understand and appreciate the value of Systems Engineering.  The U.S. government understands the systems engineering value proposition far better than most private industry does, and better than most other governments do. 

    Q4: What advice do you have for individuals starting their career as a Systems Engineer?

    2021 - Dr. Siegel advises people aspiring to become Systems Engineers to be sure to acquire domain knowledge in some problem / customer space.  Acquiring domain knowledge allows people to become passionate about a problem set, as they connect with system users and other stakeholders.  This passion makes solving the customers’ technical problem emotionally rewarding.  Dr. Siegel also advises aspiring Systems Engineers to take responsibility for the social, not just the technical, aspects of the problems that they are given to address.  This broader perspective increases the likelihood that the technical solution is actually used.

    Q5: How do you continue to learn about SE? What professional development activities do you do?

    2021 - Dr. Siegel completed his Ph.D. in Systems Engineering relatively late in his career, studying under Barry Boehm at the University of Southern California.  Dr. Siegel regularly writes conference papers and attends systems engineering professional conferences, and undertook to qualify as an INCOSE E-SEP.  Dr. Siegel also works to foster advancement and transfer of Systems Engineering knowledge within private industry, and teaches Systems Engineering through his membership on the engineering faculty at USC.

    Q6: What are the next career goals you want to achieve?

    2021 - Dr. Siegel believes his next career goal is to transfer knowledge and skill in Systems Engineering to the next generation.  Dr. Siegel retired from corporate life at the end of 2015 and entered academia on a full-time basis.  Dr. Siegel’s current personal research interests include the problem of geographically distributed engineering, the reliability of the electric-power grid and other societal infrastructures, and the opportunities for systems engineering dramatically to improve healthcare.  He also has written a textbook on Engineering Project Management (Wiley), and plans to write a companion textbook on systems engineering.

    Q7: What are some of your hobbies/interests outside of work?

    2021 - Dr. Siegel is a musician, having been an instrumentalist since he was seven years old.  He is an aficionado of folk music from all over the world, especially the Middle East.  He plays the flute, the Persian târ, the Bulgarian kaval, and the Turkish ney, and has performed in more than 1,500 concerts worldwide.  This skill is what paid his way through college.

    Q8:  Are there any other final comments you would like to make?

    2021 - Dr. Siegel feels that Systems Engineering is a “high leverage” profession, and the place to be for young people who want to make a difference in their world. 

    In 2021, we reached out to Mr. Siegel to answer more questions:

    Q9: Why did you decide to get the SEP certification?

    To inspire others at Northrop Grumman to do so.

    Q10: How does the SEP certification impact your professional career?

    For me, not so much; I was already vice-president and chief technology officer, e.g., not much further promotion potential!  But I hoped that it would be helpful to other employees, so I felt I ought to set an example and go for certification myself.

    Q11: What has surprised you in the past five years related to systems engineering?

    More industries are coming to understand the systems engineering value proposition.  Aerospace and defense were the first industries to do so, of course.  Energy was next.  But recently, I have seen signs that others, notably healthcare and entertainment, are seeing the systems engineering value proposition, as well.

    Q12: What job titles have you had other than “Systems Engineer?”

    I don’t know that I was ever titled “systems engineer”.  I have held titles such as “principal scientist”, “vice-president and division general manager”, “vice-president and chief engineer”, and “vice-president and chief technology officer” (the title from which I retired at Northrop Grumman).  My current title is “The IBM Professor of Engineering Management”, within the department of industrial and systems engineering at USC. 

  • Interview with Ahtisham Sikandar, ASEP

    by Courtney Wright | Sep 21, 2021

    SEP Interview Ahtisham Sikandar photoThis interview was conducted in 2021.

    Q1: Describe your current position/role.

    I'm working as senior Engineer at Roche Diagnostics Intl, working towards the development of a pre-analytical system for the molecular diagnostics lab.

    Q2: What are one or two of your proudest professional accomplishments?

    The launch of the cobas prime Pre-Analytical System in Q2 2020. I had worked on this project over a 3 years period in different roles and it was one of the best project teams of my career.

    Q3: What is the biggest challenge you face as a Systems Engineer?

    Defining the interfaces between different modules of a complex system, especially if the modules are developed by different vendors.

    Q4: What advice do you have for individuals starting their career as a Systems Engineer?

    System engineering covers many areas in the development process. In order to become a system engineer, one should try to rotate and experience as many areas as possible.

    Q5: How do you continue to learn about SE? What professional development activities do you do?

    After the SEP certification, I joined an online masters program for model-based system engineering by MIT. This course helped me to further develop my understanding of system engineering.

    Q6: What are the next career goals you want to achieve?

    After working on diagnostics system development for 6 years, my next career step is to become a lead system engineer (LSE).

    Q7: What are some of your hobbies/interests outside of work?

    Living in Switzerland gave me a chance to go often for Hiking, Climbing and Snowshoe hiking. Besides that, I’m training often at a crossfit box.

    Q8: Why did you decide to get the SEP certification?

    I received a free copy of the certification book from my colleague. Once I started reading it for fun, I realised that my understanding of the system development process was very limited. The book got me hooked towards system engineering and I decided to receive my SEP certification in 2018.

    Q9: How does the SEP certification impact your professional career?

    SEP certification helps me to see the bigger picture of the development process throughout the life cycle of a system. While defining the requirements, testing them and finally fixing the defects, I try to remember how each of my action will impact the customer throughout the life cycle of the system.

    Q10: What has surprised you in the past five years related to systems engineering?

    The thing that surprised me the most is System engineering is such a vast field, covering so many areas of engineering. It requires an extensive amount of experience to fully comprehend the boundaries of the field.

    Q11: What job titles have you had other than “Systems Engineer?”

    In my career of 6 years at Roche diagnostics, I’ve always worked in the system development field. I started as an intern, later became a development engineer and I’ve been a senior engineer for 2 years.

  • Interview with Jeff Waits, CSEP

    by Courtney Wright | Sep 20, 2021

    SEP Interview 29 - Jeff Waits photoThe following questions are from an interview in 2014:

    Q1: Describe your current position/role.

    Jeff’s current role is to establish formal integration and test processes for an organization that has been stove piped and where not everyone is yet on-board with the new processes.

    Q2: What are one or two of your proudest professional accomplishments?

    One of Jeff’s most proud moments was when he worked in the Booz Allen Central Maryland office. He established common integration and test processes across all projects.  Jeff was able to successfully implement those integration and test processes through field site deployment.

    Q3: What is the biggest challenge you face as a Systems Engineer?

    One of the biggest challenges Jeff has seen is that managers want to do Systems Engineering and SE processes.  However, when they get down to work, they do not want to do any of them due to time.  Thus, selling them on the value of SE and SE processes is the biggest challenge.

    Q4: What advice do you have for individuals starting their career as a Systems Engineer?

    Jeff cautions new Systems Engineers about becoming frustrated and urges them to keep pushing through challenges including selling the value of SE.

    Q5: How do you continue to learn about SE? What professional development activities do you do?

    Jeff engages in several activities in order to continue learning about Systems Engineering.  Some of these activities include reading of SE books and blogs, attending SE brown bags (e.g., Booz Allen sponsors many of these), and attending SE training classes.

    Q6: What are the next career goals you want to achieve?

    Based on the role that Jeff just took, his goal is to get the processes he established to work across stove pipes in his new environment and to get people to think “one team, one mission.”

    Q7: What are some of your hobbies/interests outside of work?

    Jeff really enjoys baseball and follows it passionately.  He also enjoys travel.  His goal is to get to all 50 states and as many foreign countries as he can.  He has been to about 40 countries so far.

    Q8:  Are there any other final comments you would like to make?

    Jeff advises Systems Engineers to start studying early for the CSEP program and keep at it! Do not fool around.

    In 2021, we reached out to Mr. Waits to answer more questions:

    Q9: Why did you decide to get the SEP certification?

    There was a big push a Booz Allen to get people certified.   I pursued it to help advance my career, put the firm in a better position to win business because of the quality of system engineering we could offer and to improve myself by getting more familiar with aspects of system engineering where I had  little experience.

    Q10: How does the SEP certification impact your professional career?

    By learning about other aspects of system engineering that I did not do on a day-to-day basis, I was able to contribute in other areas as the opportunity presented itself.

    Q11: What has surprised you in the past five years related to systems engineering?

    It appears to be adapting slowly to other development methodologies.

    Q12: What job titles have you had other than “Systems Engineer?”

    Test Lead, Software Dev Mgr.