2014 Engineering Leader Under 40: Thomas Hughes
Energy Specialist; Leidos Engineering; Oklahoma City, Okla.
Thomas Hughes, 30
Oklahoma City, Okla.
Education: BS Mechanical Engineering, Oklahoma State University; MS Industrial Engineering and Business Administration, University of Oklahoma
Thomas Hughes joined Leidos Engineering as a part-time intern while pursuing his first master’s degree. Since then, he quickly moved up to a leadership role, acting as an assistant project manager on a new technology around an advanced nuclear reactor concept. From there he went on to do fundamental analysis on a variety of carbon capture concepts before taking a key role on the Leidos Engineering geothermal project team. Over the past 3 years, Thomas has become an expert on the leading technologies used to generate power from geothermal resources. He has also led the company’s effort to develop a coal upgrading design that economically demoisturizes low-quality/high-moisture coal and then stabilizes the coal against moisture reabsorption and spontaneous combustion tendencies.
Thomas’ passion for learning shows through in his community and industry activities. He is active in ASHRAE and has served as an officer for this building technology society. He is a member of AEE and ASME.
Why choose this career path?
Thomas’ parents both come from highly technical fields. When he was young they encouraged him to be curious and ask lots of questions, which is what got him started in science and engineering. Inspired by a high school physics teacher, he decided to pursue a career in engineering. He always liked building things, so construction was a good fit for him because he can create something in his head, put it on paper, and then help shape that vision into reality. Thomas enjoys watching his vision manifest into something physical that could potentially make the world just a little bit better.
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Annual Salary Survey
Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.
There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.
But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.
Read more: 2015 Salary Survey