Pratt & Whitney - Allan Hastings - Manager of the Research and Technology organization

After Allan Hastings decided to be an aeronautical engineer in ninth grade, his career path was very straightforward.

“My English teacher required that everyone go to library, research three possible careers and write a one-page summary about that career and where you had to go to college for the appropriate education,” Hastings said. “In my research, I came across aeronautical engineering, and I already was interested in aeronautics because I lived near a small airport. Something just clicked and I decided then and there that I wanted a career in aeronautical engineering.”

A native of Spokane, Wash., Hastings decided in high school that he would attend the University of Washington. UW was the only school to which Hastings applied; he was accepted and went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics.

But by the time he graduated from college, the aerospace industry had taken a downturn, with one large contractor shrinking from 105,000 employees to just 35,000. Hastings heard that Pratt & Whitney in Connecticut was hiring, so he applied, interviewed and was offered a job. It was the last job interview he’s ever had.

Thirty-five years later, Hastings is now a manager with Pratt & Whitney’s Space Propulsion Research & Technology division in West Palm Beach, Fla. Hastings’ career comprises years of gas turbine experience on such aircraft as the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as well as rocket turbines for the Space Shuttle main engine and the RL10.

Hastings finds great satisfaction in his work. “There is no device more complex than a military or commercial airplane engine -- thousands and thousands of parts make up an engine and they all must operate together flawlessly. It’s very rewarding to work on such intricate designs,” he said.

After more than three decades with one company, Hastings feels fortunate to have built such a long-lasting and gratifying career path. “When I started with Pratt & Whitney, there were people working there whose fathers and grandfathers had worked for the company, too,” he said. “These days, people don’t usually stay at a job for such extended periods of time, so I’m really lucky to have found my niche with a company like Pratt & Whitney.”

Hastings also is pleased that Pratt and Whitney is a strong supporter of SATOP. ''It's great to know that my company is using its technical expertise to help small businesses,” he said. “The solutions we develop through SATOP might only take us a few hours each, but the impact they have on a small business can sometimes be monumental. That is very rewarding.''

One-on-one with Allan Hastings:

What job you would have had if you had not become an engineer and why?
I wanted to be a professional golfer; however, I went to the golf team tryout meeting during my first week of college, saw the competition and quickly decided that an engineer was what I was to be.

Do you enjoy any pastimes not related to engineering?
Yes -- golf, fishing, being an adult leader in the Boy Scouts.

Engineering project you wish you could have worked on?

Personal accomplishment(s) of which you are most proud:
I have been very fortunate to design parts for some of the most complex machines that man has devised and see them fly. It is very gratifying to go to an air show and be able to tell my kids that I designed parts for that engine.

What do you enjoy most about being a SATOP volunteer?
What I enjoy the most is seeing the incredible array of challenges that small companies face and then creating solutions for those challenges.