Jeffrey Lancaster
(Retired) Aerospace Industry & University Consultant


Bolton, Ct. 

Why did you decide to pursue an aerospace engineering degree?   

I was thrilled with what was going on with the Mercury Program. Unlike a lot of my high school friends, many of my idols were astronauts! At the same time, I did have my fair share of football and baseball heroes!  

Describe your position. 

My area of expertise at Pratt and Whitney was turbine airfoil design and metrology. I currently provide consulting services to numerous airfoil suppliers and academia in matters related to airfoil measurement and multi-variant statistical analysis.  

What do you like most about your job? What do you find most challenging?  

At P&W I loved leading teams that helped implement new emerging technologies such as computer graphics, additive manufacturing, and non-contact measurement. I found selling the use of new paradigm shifting technologies to be one of the more challenging aspects of my job.  

What are your career goals?  

To continue to be involved in the evaluation, implementation, and use of newer technologies at the companies and academic institutions I consult for.  

Were you involved in any fellowships or internships? If so, please explain and discuss the benefits.  

Not as a student. As a P&W Fellow I supported and mentored many interns and graduate students and found it to be useful to not only the interns, but to P&W as all of my interns focused on well-defined assignments with obtainable objectives. Based on my experience everyone involved benefits from these types of activities. 

Do you recommend any particular focus for students other than academics to improve themselves as potential candidates for jobs? If so, please explain.  

Presentation skills is something you can never get too good at! I would encourage students to seek out opportunities to practice these skills as often as possible (e.g., ask a professor to allow you to present an interesting aspect of the course). Also, attend lectures given by visiting experts. Bring along some classmates and then jointly critique each talk over a few beers at Scholz's. 

Are there courses at UT you wish you had taken? If so, which ones and why?   

I wish I had taken some basic business courses. I think a fundamental knowledge of economics is very important in any scientific field.  

Why did you choose one track over the other (atmospheric/space)? Do you feel this has made any difference in your career? 

I chose ASE because I was captivated by the space program. What I learned was invaluable in my career, particularly the strong math skills I graduated with.  

Who was your most influential ASE or EM professor and why?  

Dr. Erwin Perry (the 1st Afro-American Engineering Professor at UT). His example of what it takes to be a true professional (knowledge, manner of dress, speech, and overall work ethic) is something I still think of. On each trip back to Austin I always visit his display in the Tower building. He sadly passed away at a very early age.  

What has been your most influential ASE or EM course and why?  

Dr. Westkaemper's Design Course! It forced us to bring the theoretical aspects of our education down to earth by applying them to a real problem.   

What is one piece of advice you have for current students?  

“Tough times don't last but tough people do.” Engineering is hard. Seek out mentors and don't be afraid to visit your professors for help & guidance. That's what they're there for.  

Are you still working in the aerospace engineering field? If not, why?  

I currently provide consulting services to several aerospace companies. I have also written several industry related algorithms and am currently involved with the Metrology Lab at the University of Hartford.  

Do you have a favorite memory as a UT aerospace student?  

Getting a key to get into the WRW Building to run a wind tunnel project in the middle of the night! I was the only one in the building. At the time I thought it was very cool.

List three things that most people don't know about you.  

1. I've run 24 Boston Marathons.  

2. In 1965-67 I played in a rock band in Austin (made a lot more money than my part time jobs).  

3. Goalie on the very 1st UT Hockey Club Team!