JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J.— Jonathan Ortega, an electrical engineer at Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) Lakehurst, was presented with the Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) Modern-Day Technology Leader Award during the 37th annual BEYA Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Conference in Fort Washington, Maryland on Feb. 11.
According to BEYA, Modern-Day Technology Leader awardees are bright people who are shaping the future of engineering, science and technology.
“Jonathan has proven himself a highly effective team member who values hard work, innovative thinking and giving back to the community,” said Kathleen Donnelly, NAWCAD LKE executive director. “He is most deserving of this recognition.”
Ortega was recognized not only for his engineering expertise, but also for his ability to take on new assignments that support projects for an additional aircraft platform. For example, where one particular effort required funding an external vendor, Ortega instead completed the tasking himself, and his efforts resulted in cost savings and a more streamlined process.
“This award shows me that hard work doesn’t go unnoticed around NAWCAD Lakehurst, and that I’m part of an organization that values its employees’ commitment to the mission. It reassures me that my efforts are appreciated, and that only motivates me to strive for more” Ortega said.
Ortega is a 2020 graduate from the College of New Jersey and started working full-time at NAWCAD Lakehurst in August 2021.
He credits his team members for helping him progress in his career.
“Here at NAWCAD Lakehurst, the Command radiates a positive atmosphere, and my team is an extension of that. All of my coworkers have been friendly and have shown an interest in helping me progress in one or more areas within my current role. They always find the time in their busy schedules to answer any questions I might have, and that’s something I truly appreciate. The organization also champions personal development, which is something I value. With the opportunities available to help me grow here, I know I’m exactly where I need to be,” he said.
Ortega is a member of the NAWCAD Lakehurst Professional Development Group (PDG) and African-American Pipelines Action Team (APAT). His involvement with these groups afford him opportunities to engage in community outreach events and network.
“My advice to other engineers entering the field is to take the time to build relationships with your team members, and always seek to get involved in whatever way you can. Whether it’s asking for more responsibilities in your position or getting involved with the PDG or other cultural organizations such as the APAT. Just seek to live outside of your comfort zone and you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to tap into your potential,” Ortega said.