How I Became a Techie: Tommy Saenz
“You get intimately familiar with what takes you away from home and what brings you back at the end of the day.” — Tommy Saenz
What piqued my interest in STEM was my automotive electrician class in high school. I got to tinker with electronics and cars — not unusual hobbies for a kid from California.
The coolest thing I ever did was convert a car from 150 horsepower to 350 horsepower. We upgraded the turbocharger intercooler system, the cold air intake, the full catback exhaust system, and the sport suspension. We also redid the throttle body and changed the cam gears. Essentially, we took your everyday turbocharged Volkswagen apart and put it back together with newer, bigger, and better parts. The thing with turbocharged cars is they’re fairly easy to modify and trick out. You can play around a lot with them, especially electronically, with computers. We made that car go faster, and it was a lot of fun.
After high school, I went to a very hands-on, engineering school at the U.S. Naval Academy. I chose systems engineering as my major because it exposed me to all of the major engineering disciplines: mechanical, electrical, and computer all rolled up into one.