Few companies can change the world. United Technologies can—and does. As a company driven by ideas, we rely on the ingenuity, diversity and commitment of employees to help make cities greener, people more secure and comfortable, and travel safer and more efficient. We know full well that it is not companies that innovate. It is people. Below you can meet some of the innovators who are helping us change the world.
When Camilo Cardona looks at the iconic buildings of the world, he sees a bit of himself. “When you design elevators, you put a piece of yourself in the building,” he says. A graduate of Penn State University, Cardona works on some of Otis’ most advanced elevators. He is involved in the design and testing of high-rise machines such as the Otis SkyMotion and is project manager for the largest and fastest Gen2 elevator machine to date, which also is the most energy-efficient elevator on the market.
Colette Fennessy was first exposed to computer programming and engineering while in high school. Today she is team leader in one of the newest, most innovative fields of engineering—additive manufacturing, a technology that builds 3D objects by depositing materials in layers based upon a digital model. “It’s revolutionary technology,” says Fennessy. “It enables us to produce innovative part designs that previously could not be manufactured by conventional methods.” Additive manufacturing has applications throughout UTC Aerospace Systems and can be used to manufacture products from fuel nozzles to complex housings and other aircraft components.
“Jet engines are really cool,” says Christopher Jelks. “When you lift up the hood and see how they are put together, you understand that it’s a herculean effort and a challenging thing to do.” Jelks was inspired to become an aerospace engineer after seeing the film Independence Day in 1996. Since joining Pratt & Whitney 12 years ago, he has worked in hardware design and now is project leader of a team that benchmarks a broad array of technologies used in the industry to ensure that Pratt & Whitney remains the top competitor.
Lara Siopis is a mechanical engineer and technologist, but she describes her role with UTC Climate, Controls & Security as one based on people. “I talk with customers to learn what their core needs are now, and what they might be in the future,” says Siopis. “Then I work with other engineers and product teams to develop prototypes we can test with customers and rapidly refine solutions and products.” Projects she has worked on include Carrier’s state-of-the-art thermostat and Onity’s key card encoder for the hospitality industry.
Jeff Cohen decided he wanted to work for United Technologies while studying mechanical engineering at the University of Connecticut. “I heard a United Technologies’ scientist give a lecture, and I knew I wanted to do what he did,” he recalls. “I asked him what it would take, and he told me to stay in school and get my master’s degree.” Cohen took the advice and then joined the United Technologies Research Center. It did not take long before he was encouraged to go for his PhD. With 10 patents to his credit, Cohen has been designated a Technical Fellow. It is the highest distinction awarded by the research center and is reserved for a select few whose contributions are best described as visionary. Cohen was part of the team that helped develop Pratt & Whitney’s revolutionary Geared Turbofan engine. He now is looking some 20 years into the future to determine what will be needed for the next generation of jet engines.
Ed Hicks is in United Technologies’ newest and one of its most dynamic organizations—United Technologies Digital. Based in Brooklyn, New York, he is part of the Digital Accelerator, a collaboration of experts who have been tapped to take United Technologies to the next level of the digital age. Like many digital professionals, his education and career path did not take a linear course. He enrolled in Columbia University with the idea of becoming an architect. It was the rise of the dot-com era that caused him to shift direction. “The internet was my epiphany,” he says. “At that time there was no formal education for digital. So I left Columbia and began working for start-ups.” It was during this period that he was exposed to visionaries who saw the potential of the web, and how it could benefit business. He now is taking what he learned, and the experiences he gained, and applying them to develop digital tools that will create value for United Technologies, its customers and employees.