Growing up, Tyler DeLaCerda (’03, ’06 M.B.A./M.S.) dreamed of flying planes in the U.S. Air Force.
But after a physical revealed he was colorblind, he had to rearrange.
“It was one of those bummer moments when a lifelong dream gets crushed,” recalls DeLaCerda, now a program manager at B/E Aerospace. “But I picked up and kept moving forward. I’ve always loved tinkering with things, fixing things, wondering, ‘How can we make this better?’ So I decided to go into engineering.”
At UNT, DeLaCerda studied mechanical engineering and then found his way back into airplanes at Vought Air Craft in Dallas and again at Recaro Aircraft Seating, where he spent nearly six years.
At Recaro he served as senior program manager and led a team — which included other UNT alums — that designed the SkyCouch for Air New Zealand’s new Boeing 777-300s. The set of three plane seats for economy seating has adjustable leg rests and head rests, retractable arm rests, adjustable video screens with touch-screen ordering, and configurable tray tables. It won the international Crystal Cabin Award for Excellence in Passenger Comfort, and GQ called it the 17th “Best Thing in the World.”
DeLaCerda says his experience at UNT taught him to overcome challenges and intelligently evaluate and address problems. He lives in Seattle with his wife, Nicole (’02), and their daughter, Maggie.
“The best advice I could give is just to go where your heart tells you to go,” DeLaCerda says. “Things happen for a reason. If I hadn’t been colorblind, I probably wouldn’t have gone into an engineering field and never would have had the opportunities presented to me.”