STEM Professional of the week



Paco Steve Freire      
Northrop Grumman




Flight and nature is generally synonymous with birds since they are the most palpable flying animals we see. For Paco Steve Freire, the perspective was similar. As a young child growing up in the Bronx, New York, Paco developed a fascination with airplanes and the skies. It began in the form of pencils, which would metaphorically serve as his wings. With a keen interest in spacecrafts and the way they worked, Paco would sketch car and plane designs and built models, imagining himself traveling for miles on the open road or across the boundless sky. 

His early discovered passion was instrumental in Paco’s decision to attend a vocational high school, where he ultimately received a high school diploma and also earned an aircraft mechanic license. Recognizing his technical aptitude, Paco’s instructors encouraged him to pursue a career in mechanical engineering. Armed with confidence and a genuine passion for engineering, Paco attended City College of New York as a mechanical engineering major. During this time, Paco became involved with various engineering associations, including the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). This organization not only helped him navigate through his undergraduate years but it also landed him his first post undergrad job with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office in 1999. Shortly after receiving his bachelor’s degree, Paco attended Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland and went on to earn his master’s degree a handful of years later.  

Since graduating, Paco has enjoyed life as an engineer. Now, with 16 years of professional experience, Paco is fulfilling his childhood dreams and is currently the Engineering Program Manager of the F-16 APG-68 radar at the Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems sector. In this capacity, he is responsible for cost, schedule and technical performance and leads a complex, multifunctional technical team with design cognizance as well as production and logistics support across the portfolio of Radar programs. 
His association with F-16 began in 2011, when his role encompassed a variety of tasks including production and field support, production and spares deliveries, proposals and other Legacy F-16 issues. Total values of the program he supports exceed well over $100 million dollars.

Paco’s dedication, leadership skills and integrity have made him an influential STEM role model within the Hispanic and engineering communities. He holds leadership roles in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. chapters of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and provides mentorship to junior engineers with the Northrop Grumman Corporation. 

Paco was among the class of 2015 Luminaries honored at the 27th Annual HENAAC STEM Career Conference in Pasadena, California last October.




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