Tech 25 winner Michael Akers leverages technical knowledge to facilitate continuous improvement
As Indiana’s tech community continues to grow and mature, it’s getting harder and harder to narrow down the winners for our annual Tech 25 Awards program. Clearly, there is a wealth of tech talent in the Hoosier state, and they are making incredible moves. Join us in celebrating the Tech 25 class of 2020 through this profile series and learn a bit more about each winner.
Michael Akers is a Raytheon Technologies Mission Assurance Engineer with a focus in software. As a technical leader, he is responsible for aiding engineers in their pursuit of following Mission Assurance principles throughout the engineering development lifecycle. Mike works with programs and supports their journey in continuous improvement and growth. He served in the Indiana Army National Guard and holds a B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from IPFW and an M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from IUPUI.
Mike is also passionate about STEM and giving back to the community by mentoring the next generation of engineers. He enjoys spending time with his son, playing volleyball, and playing board games with friends and family.
What led you to get into tech? What was your first job in tech?
For as long as I can remember, I have always been interested in technology and engineering, whether it was building gadgets with an Erector set to building my first PC with my dad when I was barely a teenager. On top of that, I have always been interested in Defense. I served in the Indiana Army National Guard through my college years, so ending up as an engineer supporting the warfighter was only natural. My first job in tech was when I was an intern at Fort Wayne Metals. I helped develop and design a project management tool for Engineers across multiple sites to share their status.
When you think of a day in your life, what are the main work responsibilities you have?
I support the Raytheon Intelligence & Space Engineering discipline by looking for areas within the organization where we can apply Mission Assurance principles throughout the engineering lifecycle. We look for areas where we can apply lessons learned from both internal sources but also external industry and commercial leaders. This requires me to do quite a bit of research, look for data trends, analyze processes, and collaborate with program leaders and their customers. We take all of these inputs and work together to ensure we achieve Mission Success.
Which resources would you recommend to those who want to learn more or advance their skills in this occupation?
While I am in a technical role, I find that the areas that have helped me advance revolved around organizational behavior, organizational culture, and “soft skills.” In this role, I am often bringing new change and helping others work through tough issues. It is critical to have empathy, communicate clearly, and understand the impacts on the daily lives of those I work with. I enjoy reading from leadership authors like Daniel Pink and Simon Sinek. Additionally, books based on the application of different leadership styles and organizational change within the defense, such as Team of Teams by General Stanley McChrystal.
Michael Akers is a Tech 25 winner who is helping to grow and improve the tech landscape of Indiana. He was nominated by his Chief Engineer, Kate Maxwell. To learn more about the Tech 25 Awards, click here.
Visit the Indianapolis Business Journal website to see the full listing and celebration of the 2020 Tech 25 honorees in the joint CTO of the Year and Tech 25 Awards supplement. You can also watch a video of the livestream from the CTO of the Year and Tech 25 Awards virtual event.