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Alejandro (Alex) Maldonado, Ph.D.

Senior Optical Engineer II

Raytheon Missile Systems

Raytheon Company

The day that Dr. Alejandro Maldonado knew he was going to follow in his father’s footsteps and become an engineer was the day his dad used his mechanical engineering skills to help his son build the winning Formula 1-based soap box derby racer young Alex had designed. That pivotal moment eventually led to his current position as Senior Optical Engineer II, for Raytheon Missile Systems, working on the optical sensors in the guidance systems for defensive and offensive weapons for air, land, sea and space, including interceptors for U.S. ballistic missile defense. 


His significant contributions to the development of LADAR and conformal optical systems technologies have resulted in being named an Optics Responsible Engineering Authority (REA), the primary optical system architect, responsible for the entire lifecycle of the optical sensor, from initial concept and requirements development, to first‐order system layout, detailed optical design, supplier interfacing and first article inspection, assembly and design verification testing of the initial prototypes, and transitioning the sensor to production. This demanding role requires an engineer with a thorough knowledge of both optical design theory and excellent laboratory skills, qualities that Dr. Maldonado possesses to an extraordinary degree for someone only 30 years old and three years into his career at Raytheon.


A fourth-generation Mexican-American born in Tuscon, Dr. Maldonado has a B.S. in Optical Engineering and an M.S. and Optical Science from the University of Arizona, Tucson. An ardent STEM mentor for local high school students, he is also a member of HOLA (Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Advancement) and is involved in Raytheon’s YESNET (Young Employees Support NETwork) program, where he helps to welcome new employees and makes connections outside of work. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and their dog, hiking, camping, playing and watching sports, and Mexican food.

-By Vinnie Longobardo