SWE Distinguished New Engineer

Zaineb Ahmad

Collins Aerospace, a Raytheon Technologies subsidiary

For technical acumen matched by deep curiosity; for creating greater awareness of human factors in defense systems; and for consistent advocacy of SWE and women and girls in STEM.

A senior systems/human factors engineer in the Mission Systems portfolio of Collins Aerospace, Zaineb Ahmad began her career with a passion for STEM and the resolve to positively impact the world around her. Originally on a path toward medicine, she found her true calling in engineering, with experience in biomechanics, medical device, health care IT, and aerospace and defense industries.

Ahmad joined Collins Aerospace in 2018, working on several federal contract programs, managing requirements for multiple programs and platforms, and applying psychological and physiological principles to systems designs, processes, and analyses.

Her projects include ejection seat design, accommodation studies for user anthropometric fit and reach, mannequin modeling application, graphical user interfaces development, and workstation and rack layout optimization on ground- and air-based projects. Ahmad led the human factors engineering (HFE) effort for a major internal research and development (IRAD) program in 2021 to influence future designs. The addition of HFE into IRAD resolved multiple user issues, successfully completing six major features and recovering two months of the schedule.

She currently leads an integrated program team of five specialty engineering disciplines for multiple future pursuit programs, with a total contract estimate of well over a billion dollars. Ahmad has been identified as a future technical fellow and works and mentors closely with other technical leads and fellows as part of technical pipeline planning.

Ahmad serves on several company committees, including the Collins women’s forum steering committee, the leading inspired females in technology steering committee, and as SWE liaison, to engage women’s employee resource groups with local SWE events and initiatives. She was recognized as the Collins Aerospace Leadership Association’s Silver Eagle for Community Involvement in 2020, with the Women’s Advocate Award in 2021, and was a finalist for the company’s 2021 Affirming Culture and Creativity: Encouraging Pride and Trust Award.

A SWE life member, Ahmad served as vice president of membership (FY16-17) and president (FY19-20) of the Dallas Section, overseeing events and strengthening relationships with local diversity, equity, and inclusion organizations and employee resource groups. She currently serves as SWE counselor for The University of Texas at Dallas, offering guidance to officers, sharing best practices, and providing local industry connections to SWE Dallas. She recently served on the SWE awards committee. She is currently an active member of the SWE affinity group committee and annually evaluates upperclass and first-year SWE scholarships. For her service, she received a WE Local New ELiTE Award in FY20.

Ahmad holds a B.S. in general science from Birmingham-Southern College, a B.S. in biomedical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis, and an M.S. in mechanical engineering from The University of Alabama at Birmingham. She lives in Dallas with her husband, Matt, and son and enjoys do-it-yourself projects, cooking, yoga, and traveling.