Momentum Member Spotlight – August 2011
AIAA Congratulates Jeffrey E. Haas
By: Duane Hyland, AIAA Communications
AIAA has selected Mr. Jeffrey E. Haas for its Member Spotlight for August, 2011. Haas is an AIAA Associate Fellow, and Chief, Testing Division, at the NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio.
Haas, recently honored at the 49th AIAA/ASME/ASCE/ASE Joint Propulsion Conference with an AIAA Distinguished Service Award, has been a member of AIAA for 20 years, and was a long-time member of the Institute’s Ground Testing Technical Committee, including a 2-year term as Chairman, and a former member of the Institute’s Finance Committee. Haas also served as the General Chair of AIAA’s 49th Aerospace Sciences Meeting.
When asked what inspired him to enter the aerospace profession, Haas responded that he was in high school in the 60’s during the height of the Apollo project and it was the excitement generated by the knowledge that the U.S. would soon be putting a human on the Moon that got him excited about aerospace, and inspired him to make aerospace his life’s work. Graduating high school in 1966, he entered the University of Pittsburgh to study Aerospace Engineering, graduating with a B.S. degree in 1970. After graduation, he began work for the U.S. Army Propulsion Laboratory, located in Cleveland, Ohio on the same site as the then NASA Lewis Research Center, which is today the NASA Glenn Research Center. Haas said he was lucky to get hired at the time, because “the aerospace industry was in a lull in hiring, and despite having interviewed with NASA-Lewis, they were not hiring, but had forwarded his name to the U.S. Army which was just opening up their Propulsion Laboratory at the time.” In 1985, Haas was able to transfer from the Army Propulsion Laboratory to NASA Glenn. This Labor Day, he will be celebrating 41 years of government service.
When asked if he felt that professional societies like AIAA were important, Haas stated that they are “definitely important for many reasons. First, they enable you to interface with others in the aerospace industry and stay current on issues and activities. Second, they allow you to attend a myriad of technical conferences and their sessions which show you the ‘latest and greatest’ that is going on in the aerospace industry, which is key to allowing you to expand your career horizons and technical knowledge. Third, they give you a chance to get involved in technical committees, like the AIAA Ground Testing Technical Committee, which really immerse you in the field you are pursuing.” Among the things Haas was most proud ofduring his time on the Ground Testing TC, were the standards created by the Committee, and the Committee’s “Recommended Practice Guides” for the aerospace community. Haas concluded by noting that “The friends I made over the years and the networking and professional contacts that flowed from those friendships have been priceless. Joining professional societies like AIAA gets you out of your day-to-day working environment and enables you to see the bigger picture, meet others in the field from industry, government, and academia (both domestic and international) and make contributions far beyond your normal job.” Haas also stated that one of his proudest achievements was in serving as General Chair for AIAA’s 49th Aerospace Sciences Meeting in which he had to coordinate among 35 technical chairs to schedule more than 260 sessions over a 4-day period. He saw this as a culmination of his long-term involvement in AIAA and appreciated the opportunity and confidence that AIAA placed in him completing this assignment and receiving high marks from the attendees for the overall quality of the conference.
When the conversation turned to any advice that Haas had for today’s young professionals, in their first few years of their aerospace careers, or to the students who are just graduating and, hopefully, entering the workforce, Haas suggested a few steps they could take to foster success in their fields of endeavor. As he believes that success in your career starts in the earliest days of college, Haas advises undergraduate students, especially those in their first years of school, to “strive to find a co-op or intern position during summer breaks,” as the experienced they will give a student will “give them a better idea of what working in the aerospace industry is all about and focus their interests.” Haas also reminded students and young professionals, that “success in aerospace is more than just having strong technical knowledge, but it includes developing strong communication skills, and the ability to work effectively with others.” Haas urged students and young professionals alike to “reach out and take advantage of training and development programs. Join AIAA and get involved with technical committees in your field. Look to network yourself, whether within your company or with others in the industry, and always strive to strengthen yourself and your technical skills the best you can.”
For those students not yet in college, but who may be thinking of pursuing aerospace as a major, Haas reminded them that “they need to have a solid foundation in math and science, so they should be taking as many of those classes in high school as they can.” As they start to look for a school, Haas recommended that they “consider a school with an established co-op program, because being able to work for an aerospace company, or an organization like NASA, will provide them with invaluable experience and help them to focus on they really might want to do upon graduation.” Haas said taking these steps will help them “find out if they really enjoy the ‘hands-on’ engineering that they would do as a research or test engineer or if they would rather pursue design or analytical work.” Additionally, Haas added that being involved in a co-op program will make them “much more employable and enable them to hit the ground running when they do graduate from college and start their careers.”
AIAA congratulates Mr. Haas for his many contributions to AIAA, and for his staunch support of the Institute, as well as for his sage advice to those who will be the next generation of the aerospace workforce, and for his selection as the AIAA member spotlight for August, 2011.