STEM Professional of the week

Esther Casas      

Esther is a material validation engineer in the mission assurance supplier quality organization within Raytheon’s Space and Airborne Systems Business. Responsible for managing all aspects of her group across the north Texas region, her unit is laser focused on assuring that known “good material” enters the facilities from Raytheon suppliers. Her technical skills have been leveraged across the entire organization with specific emphasis on rapid disposition of non-complex defective material. She also works across the entire value stream to ensure that the more complex material she deals with is dispositioned accurately and quickly to reduce any program impact.

Esther also leads a business wide Six Sigma project to improve the organization inspection process, and supports many other projects focused on improving systems, driving accountability and enabling program execution. Over the last two years, her organization has saved Raytheon over $7M dollars in either cost avoidance or cost savings. But outside the workplace Esther’s passion for mentoring and promoting STEM may be even more impressive as Esther epitomizes the Raytheon commitment to community service.

The love to teach and inspire came to Esther at a young age, as she played “school” (math teacher) with the neighborhood kids. She was born and raised in El Paso, Texas to immigrant parents from Mexico, who taught her to work hard and follow her dreams every day. Although Esther always excelled in math and science, she struggled with English and due to this struggle, she didn’t fathom going to College. In her junior year of high school however, a remarkable Physics teacher, Mr. King, encouraged and supported Esther to apply for a National Science Foundation Summer Program at Texas A&M University. Her participation in that residential six-week program allowed her to experience “college life” and explore engineering. The program was so influential, that from then on, engineering would be her goal.

Esther was accepted into Texas A&M University through the Minority Engineering Program (MEP), which helped guide her and provide tutoring when needed. The years that followed, she worked full time, went to school full time and made time to give back to her community by leading a tutoring/mentoring program at Santa Teresa Catholic Church. Esther tutored elementary students in math and reading and taught English as a second language to adults.

Esther graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s in Engineering Technology specializing in Manufacturing Engineering, and for the first seven years of her career worked in the Medical Devices Industry as a Quality Engineer. During that time, she also volunteered with the United Way and the Boys and Girls Clubs, tutoring and mentoring at-risk kids.

Esther began her career with Raytheon in 2006 and continues her strong involvement in diversity and inclusion efforts. She is currently the South Regional Vice President for the Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Advancement (HOLA). She is a devout diversity & inclusion advocate leading HOLA as well as representing Raytheon at various recruiting community events and programs. She coordinates and participates in many STEM activities, is a mentor and tutor with the Collin County Foster Care System, and is the Texas representative for the Space and Airborne Systems Diversity and Inclusion Council, among other community involvement.

In addition to her bachelor’s degree, in 2012, Esther earned her master’s in Engineering Management from Southern Methodist University. Esther feels that it is the responsibility to grow and give back to the community and is passing on these values to her three children. She firmly believes “empowerment + hope = success!” GMiS was proud to honor Esther with a HENAAC Luminary Award in October 2016.

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