Juan Rivera, Ph.D.
Juan Rivera is the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Great Minds in STEM (GMiS) whose vision is to keep America technologically strong by promoting STEM careers, especially in underserved communities. Juan leads an executive team with backgrounds in Aerospace and Defense, Military Science, Entertainment, Advanced Computing, Higher Education, Engineering and Technology, Business Development, Accounting, and Law. Together they define the non-profit company’s long term strategy and provide guidance to the CEO on finances and operations.
Juan Rivera was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. In 1975, he graduated from The University of Texas at El Paso with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. After working on the F-111 and F-16 jet fighters at Lockheed Martin Corporation (formerly General Dynamics), he enrolled at The University of Texas at Austin and was awarded a PhD in Electrical Engineering in 1982. He began employment the following year with Northrop Grumman Corporation in Redondo Beach.
At Northorp Grumman, Juan held various positions of increasing responsibility until he retired in March 2019 as a Technology Director in the Space Systems Division. He is a contributing author in the book “Infrared and Millimeter Waves”, has 5 technical publications and holds 2 patents. In 2012, he received the Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems President’s Award and the Northrop Grumman Corporate Award for Excellence. In addition to his engineering responsibilities, he led Adelante, the company’s Employee Resource Group, and helped expand it from a regional to corporate wide volunteer organization. In 2015, Juan received the Gold Nugget award from The University of Texas at El Paso in recognition of professional achievement and community service.
He received the Hispanic Engineering National Achievement Awards Conference (HENAAC) Professional Achievement Award in 2003 which inspired him to volunteer for GMiS. He was elected to the Board of Directors in 2009 and has been past Treasurer and Vice-Chairman for GMiS. In 2018, he was approved by the Board of Directors to become Chairman and he began his new responsibilities as soon as he retired from Northrop Grumman the following year.
Juan is passionate about education and mentoring youth and young professionals. He has tutored middle and high school students in mathematics and has volunteered as assistant basketball coach, as science text book advisor for the Torrance Public Schools and as counselor for the Sierra Service Project to serve Native Americans. Juan is married and has two sons; he enjoys traveling and has run marathons in Los Angeles, San Diego and Athens, Greece.