• 2018 HENAAC Luminary •
If you’ve flown on an aircraft recently, chances are you’ve interacted intimately with technology developed by Manuel Beltran. He and his team at Boeing implemented the first all-digital, highly secure movie streaming server for inflight entertainment ever on a commercial aircraft. Currently the Chief Software Architect for Boeing’s Digital Aviation program, Mr. Beltran is charged with developing the next generation of the Enterprise Spatial Data Management System and Integrated FliteDeck Pro Electronic Flight Bag.
As the senior architect for the Wing Body Join Robotic Automation Project – technology critical to the development of Boeing’s forthcoming 777X airliner – Mr. Beltran leads a team tasked with designing and implementing complex factory automation systems and software for robotic assembly of airplanes. And as a Technical Fellow and Designated Expert at Boeing, he’s been central to investigations into issues surrounding control of next-generation Artificial Intelligence for the company.
It has been a long journey from his time as a teenager wrapped up in gangs in his native Southern California, which he managed to escape thanks largely to a lifelong love of computer science. Mr. Beltran’s path eventually led to a job working on the Space Shuttle program at Rockwell International, protecting intellectual property through online security solutions, founding a successful avionics technology startup, earning five patents and countless derivatives patents, and inventing a device that was a precursor to the iPhone, among his many other accomplishments.
His work has been honored with numerous awards including being named Boeing’s Engineer of the Year for Network & Tactical Systems; a Technical Leadership Award from the US Army Netcentric Geospatial Working Group; and the NASA Technology Transfer Award for the Propulsion Advisory Tool.
Mr. Beltran earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering and Computer Science at Cal Poly Pomona, and he has been a tireless supporter of STEM education in minority communities ever since. His emergence from gang culture inspired him to dedicate himself to community outreach, devoting countless hours every year to young engineers and high school students in STEM-related activities and internships, including students who today are doctorate-level STEM professionals.