When asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, four-year-old Gabe Suciu said “an aeronautical engineer.” And that is exactly what he became.
After completing high school in Bucharest, Romania, he earned a degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, full accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace. After joining Pratt & Whitney, he earned an MBA from Renssalear Polytechnic Institute through UTC’s Employee Scholar Program.
“From an early age, I knew the different disciplines that make up engineering – naval, chemical, mechanical and so on,” says Gabe. When he was in elementary school, he recalls the parents of his best friend giving them a cross-section of an automobile engine and challenging them to figure out how it worked. It didn’t take them long to do so.
He also has the distinction of being the company’s most prolific inventor – holding more than 170 patents. And he is one of the company’s Engineering Fellows, an elite group of highly specialized technical professionals.
For the past 15 years Gabe’s role has been largely visionary. “I look at projects being planned for 10 to 20 years from now and conceptualize how they’ll be developed. This means defining the product, comparing it against a reference product of today, and then determining what new materials, processes and temperatures will be needed to achieve the great engines of the future.”
Over the course of his career, Gabe has seen engineering evolve into highly specialized fields. “Many years ago,” he says, “engineers’ jobs were much broader in scope. As time went on, they became focused on specific areas of expertise. I was fortunate to move from discipline to discipline. This enabled me to understand an engine’s performance from nose to tail. It enabled me to understand how far I could push and create a design that complemented more than one discipline.”
For young people pursuing a degree in engineering, his advice would be, “Learn and understand your discipline so that you acquire a deep knowledge of it. Then learn about the other fields of engineering so that you understand how they are linked.”