Senior Industrial Engineering Lead, Manufacturing & Testing Engineering, Engineering, Operations, Content Subject Matter Expert, Weapon System Platforms (Air, Land, Sea & Space)
B.S., Industrial Engineering, University of Arizona;
B.S., Systems Engineering, University of Arizona
Young James Valenzuela grew up the son of Mexican immigrant farm workers in Tucson, Arizona. By the 4th grade, he knew he wanted to become an engineer. Since graduating from the University of Arizona with degrees in Systems Engineering, Industrial Engineering and Applied Advance Mathematics, he has gone on to a successful career that’s spanned multiple positions and industries. He’s held positions at two giant Silicon Valley semiconductor manufacturers, a regional electrical utility; and even had a stint as an energy trader for large financial company before landing at Raytheon in 2003.
While he’s found a permanent home at Raytheon for 15 years now, Mr. Valenzuela’s continued to pursue multiple positions and technical disciplines. He’s served as a Senior Quality Engineer for Production, Senior Program Quality Engineer, Program Manager, Quality System Manager, Mission Assurance Engineering Lead, and Principal Manufacturing Engineer, before arriving at his current position as a Senior Industrial Engineering Lead in the Engineering Operations division.
Today he directs manufacturing process improvements of current and new missile programs for all the engineering labs at the RMS campus, as well as other business units around the nation. He also manages the RMS Industrial Engineering Operations IE team which focuses on the design, improvement and installation of integrated systems of people, materials and equipment. Raytheon has designated Mr. Valenzuela a Subject Matter Expert for all Missile/Weapon Systems for all platforms.
It is Mr. Valenzuela’s service to his community, however, that truly sets him apart. Fulfilling the promise that he made at the grave of his brother, Police Officer John A. Valenzuela, who was killed in the line of duty, he has emphasized the importance of “service above self” and giving back in his own life. More importantly, he’s instilled that value in the minds and hearts of the many students that he has mentored.
As a corporate mentor to students at Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University, and Cal Poly Pomona, he has spent over 20,000 hours during the course of his career helping students prepare for success. His work with the Young Latina Forum and Advancement for Latinos in Engineering has exposed over 3,400 young Hispanic students from local Tucson high schools to math, science, and engineering. He’s even worked to expose them to university life to motivate and inspire them to pursue a 4-year degree.
Mr. Valenzuela is a past Southwest Regional Vice President for the RMS division of the Hispanic Organization for Leadership Advancement (HOLA), and he’s been a member of SHPE for over 26 years, having held leadership positions with the SHPE Professional Chapters in Phoenix and Tucson.
He currently serves as the University of Arizona SHPE Corporate Advisor. In this role, he hosts leadership workshops, gives motivational speeches, and serves as a life coach to 1,052 former students both locally and nationally. He is often referred to as the “Padre de SHPE” for the school
For the last 13 years Mr. Valenzuela has been a head coach for the Raytheon SHPE Extreme Engineering Student Team, which has twice won the championship of the organization’s competition under his leadership.
His dedication and service helped him earn both a SHPE Star and a special President’s Volunteer Service Award from President Obama at the White House in 2014.