Skip to main content

National Engineers Week: Timothy Howell

Timothy Howell
Timothy Howell

In celebration of National Engineers Week, UA Little Rock is highlighting some of the university’s most promising engineers.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Timothy Howell, and I work as an Engineer 1. I’m a 46-year-old father of five – a 24-year-old daughter, 23-year-old son, 20-year-old daughter, 16-year-old daughter, and a 14-year-old son. I am a United States Marine veteran of both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have worked in or around aircrafts since 1998 when I entered service in the Marine Corps. For the past 20 years, I have been employed at Dassault Falcon Jet in Little Rock. While employed there, I worked as a structures/sheet metal installation mechanic, a team lead for the structures department, a manufacturing engineer. With the completion of my bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology on Dec. 16, 2023, I am currently employed as a design engineer for aircraft interior furniture.

I have always been interested in how things work, and throughout the years have often had to build various things I wanted due to cost. That fed my desire to improve on things and learn more about those items that were made. When I have the time, I enjoy fishing, hunting, cycling, and most outdoor activities. I fell into the role of a nontraditional student, which placed me quite often in a position where I had to develop more skills for time management and workarounds for scheduling. It also aided in developing creative solutions to everyday problems.

Why do you think UA Little Rock would be a good fit for future engineering students?

UA Little Rock was a perfect choice for me for several reasons. The faculty and staff were very supportive of my nontraditional status as a student and understood the efforts I was putting forth as a full-time husband, father, employee, and student, all while pursuing my degree. The faculty and staff always treated me as an individual, not just a number. The professors are amazing and will take the time to ensure you receive help when you are struggling to understand key lessons and/or concepts. I would highly recommend any students interested in an engineering degree in the central Arkansas area to do so at UA Little Rock.

What do you like most about the field?

The thing I like most about the engineering field is that the field of engineering is always changing, and good engineers will always be needed in their communities. The constant improvements and new developments mean you should never get stagnant in your growth of knowledge and experience. As an engineer, you could be right in the middle of developing the next greatest innovation for our society. I could have a direct impact on those around me with my designs and work, which adds an opportunity to lead by example.

What made you want to pursue a career in engineering?

Throughout my service and involvement in aviation, I have performed maintenance and repairs to aircraft. Quite often, my work and repairs/processes were approved by an engineer who documented everything I had designed and signed off on the work. I pursued engineering to become the one signing off and writing the designs the others built. I do not mean to sound as if I am a glory hound or anything of the sort, but I want credit for the solutions that I design and provide.
I have a great sense of pride in my work and feel great at the end of the day when I have helped my company achieve success. It just seemed like the next logical step in my lifelong desire for knowledge and a better working environment as well as a more lucrative means of supporting my family.

What is your most memorable experience in the engineering field?

I have had many projects over my time in engineering. My most memorable to this date was ironically one of my first in a design engineering role. We have quick engineering change sheets to designs that make minor alterations to the previous design; they are not normally too complex or long. The reason for the memorable experience, in my case, was that the V.P. of engineering personally signed off on the change. Reading the cover sheet, there I was listed as the engineer, my V.P. as one of the signatures, and to this date, two years later, it serves as a reminder that I succeeded. I am an engineer.

Do you have any advice for prospective students who want to major in the field?

My best advice for prospective students is to apply yourself, never be afraid to ask questions. The only dumb question is one that is not asked when you are trying to understand. Anyone with the desire and ambition to become an engineer is fully capable, providing they put in the effort and work. Throughout your careers and education, distractions are going to happen. Sometimes you must step back and get your head back in the task at hand to move forward. Probably my personal best advice would be that it’s never too late to get the education you want and improve your situation in life.