In celebration of National Engineers Week, UA Little Rock is highlighting some of the university’s most promising engineers and engineering students.
David Luneau, Professor in the Engineering Technology Department
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I have taught at UA Little Rock for 31 years. Prior to that, I was an engineer at AT&T in Little Rock at their computer manufacturing facility for five years. I spent my first five years after college working at the Johnson Space Center in the Space Shuttle program as a flight controller in the Mission Control Center.
I grew up in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and have electrical engineering degrees from Rice University and Georgia Tech.
I grew up playing baseball and played as an adult as well. At age 35, I took up tennis and still enjoy playing regularly. I enjoy birding, and I have been involved in the documentation of the continued existence of the once presumed-extinct Ivory-billed Woodpecker.
For 28 years, I have been involved in SOLAR SPLASH, an international, intercollegiate solar/electric boat competition. I am currently president of the non-profit corporation that organizes the event annually.
I have been married for 41 years. My wife, Terri, and I live in North Little Rock and attend Lakewood United Methodist Church.
Why do you think UA Little Rock would be a good fit for future engineering students?
The engineering technology department has been part of UA Little Rock for almost 50 years. Our graduates have contributed to the economy of Arkansas in a big way. Graduates from our programs find good-paying jobs both here in Arkansas as well as all around the U.S.
What do you like most about the field?
I enjoy solving problems, which is the crux of the engineering experience.
What made you want to pursue a career in engineering?
I have to confess that the summer before my senior year in high school I did not know what engineering was. My father, who worked most of his career for Arkansas Power and Light (now Entergy), asked me if I had considered majoring in engineering.
I knew that I liked math and science, but I had not thought much about a career. I looked into engineering, and it seemed like a good fit. I started college wanting to be a chemical engineer, but quickly discovered that I liked the electrical parts of physics class much more than I liked chemistry, so I switched majors.
What is your most memorable experience from the engineering field?
One memorable experience during the search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker was when a biologist asked me if I could design him a wireless camera system to use for inspecting woodpecker cavities. He had dropped his very expensive camera in 10’ of water and was in dire need of an affordable replacement. I took up the challenge, and modified a baby monitor system that met his needs. The camera system evolved over the next few years. For the past 10 years, I have been making and selling wireless camera systems to field biologists, mostly for woodpecker research.
Do you have any advice for prospective students who want to major in the field?
If you enjoy problem-solving on a regular basis and aren’t afraid of a little math, you just might be a good fit for a career in engineering technology.