• STEM Hero Awards •

Hector J.
Guevara, Jr.

Chief, LADAR Technology Branch, Sensors Directorate, Multispectral Sensing Division

U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory

After 32 years of service in the U.S. Armed Forces as an enlisted airman, a reservist, a commissioned officer, and a contractor and civil servant, Hector J. Guevara, Jr. is now the chief of the Laser Radar (LADAR) Technology Branch within Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).  Currently he leads the nation’s state-of-the-art airborne LADAR programs, supervising 25 government employees and another 25 contractors and students across five different labs.  He directs an annual budget of $15M per year and executes $100M of research contracts to develop innovative LADAR sensors for the U.S. Air Force.

Mr. Guevara’s leadership has led to the first-ever successful long-range airborne laser vibrometry demonstration from a tactical system, the first-ever tactical synthetic aperture laser radar flight images, and the first ever tactical targeting pod-based three-dimensional imaging system. His single branch has more projects in flight tests than some entire divisions within AFRL.

A native Californian, Mr. Guevara enlisted in the Air Force at the U.S. Air Force Academy Prep School and graduated from the Academy with a B.S. in Engineering Mechanics. He earned his M.S. in Materials Engineering from the University of Dayton and has certifications in six different Department of Defense Acquisition Professional Development Programs.

His first of many engineering roles in the military was as a project engineer at the Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory, and he has garnered many awards and citations throughout his long career, including Air Force Awards for exemplary civilian service and organizational excellence, as well as medals for Meritorious Service, Commendation, Achievement, National Defense Service, and Global War on Terrorism Service.

Mr. Guevara has also won four prestigious Team of the Year awards for his leadership of Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance work at AFRL; the AF Lifecycle Management Center; the National Air & Space Intelligence Center; and the Science Applications International Corporation. As the program manager for the AFRL’s Minority Leaders Program for three years, he led the #1 minority recruiting program in the entire U.S. government at job fairs, including those sponsored by Great Minds in STEM and the National Society of Black Engineers.