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Dr. Julio A. Navarro Receives the Highest Honor in Engineering


We know the SHPE Familia is made up of an impressive, world-class pedigree. Our ranks include astronauts, senators, CEOs, and celebrities. But when one of our own achieves possibly the highest honor available in our field – the discipline of STEM – it’s an achievement worthy of special celebration.

In 2021, SHPE Lifetime Member, Dr. Julio A. Navarro (whom you might know as “Dr.J”) was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) for the development and implementation of phased-array sensors and communication systems for aerospace applications. Election to the NAE is one of the highest professional honors possible for an engineer. It recognizes outstanding engineering contributions including the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education.

Established in 1964, the NAE’s network of more than 2,300 members work together to advance the United States’ global reputation by providing guidance to policymakers and government institutions on decisions related to engineering and technology. Becoming an NAE member is a monumental accomplishment in part because of how difficult it is to be elected into the organization. New members must be nominated by current members and are evaluated on a range of criteria, including scientific and real-world impact, involvement with professional societies, and major awards received.

In layman’s terms – induction into the NAE is a big, big deal. And Dr. J epitomizes all of the standards listed above and more. 

Born in Argentina, Navarro grew up in Texas and received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Texas A&M University. While he started his career in 1995 at a small company called Epsilon-Lambda Corporation, the vast majority of his professional life has been spent at The Boeing Company where he started in 1996. After nearly 30 years, he has risen through the workforce to Principal Senior Technical Fellow in Research and Technology – a position held by approximately 0.01% of the engineers at The Boeing Company.

Dr. J is a subject matter expert in radio frequency circuits, antennas, and heterogeneously-integrated electronics. His work has transformed communications and data transmission in the aerospace industry with promising implications for agricultural, security and other commercial applications. Navarro has authored more than 40 peer-reviewed publications, has been granted 33 U.S. patents, and has received more awards and honors than we can count. His industry impact is beyond evident. 

While the prestigious awards and accomplishments are certainly impressive, Dr. J’s commitment to empowering and inspiring the next generation of Hispanic engineers is what really sets him apart.  

“Increasing the involvement of our youth in the STEM fields is the most critical challenge to maintain our country’s technical and economic leadership.” Navarro says. 

Like any good engineer, he went searching for a solution to this problem, and that is when he discovered SHPE. Since then, he’s been involved with the organization in one form or another for the past 20+ years. He is Boeing’s executive sponsor for SHPE and served as the Vice-Chair, and then Chair, of the Industry Partnership Council (IPC) in 2011 and 2012. He is a STAR Award winner, recipient of the President’s Award, and active mentor. We are proud to have him as a Lifetime Member and look forward to many more years of his inspiring leadership.

“Whatever you do, you have to enjoy it,” he says. “Design engineering means hard work, long hours and sometimes failure. You shouldn’t do it for money or prestige. You should do it because you like it. People will see that you do it well, and they’ll give you their attention.”

Well, Dr. J, if your career is any indication – your advice is as good as gold. Congratulations on this immense distinction! We are honored to call you a part of our Familia.