An Agile Approach Opens Up Opportunities for Aviation Engineer

January 2016
Avinash Pinto
Avinash Pinto

Developing an integrated aviation surveillance system for the FAA. Helping to create international aviation capabilities. Finding new ways to prevent healthcare fraud. MITRE's Avinash Pinto has contributed to these areas and more since joining MITRE in 2009.

Pinto works in the Center for Advanced Aviation System Development (CAASD), the federally funded research and development center MITRE operates for the Federal Aviation Administration. He quickly discovered that MITRE allowed him to apply his systems engineering and computer science expertise to a wide range of projects.

Applying His Skills Broadly

One of his first assignments was leading a project to create an integrated aviation surveillance system. He worked with the FAA, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and NASA to develop the concepts and requirements for a system that would meet all of the agencies' diverse needs.

More recently, Pinto led a project applying Agile principles and methods to FAA's acquisition management system. "That means trying to get FAA capabilities deployed and fielded faster," he says. In the course of the project, Pinto worked with FAA senior leadership across the agency. "It's been fascinating learning about how the different FAA organizations operate, what their motivations are, and how decisions get made."

For the last several years, Pinto has also worked on a project helping India develop an aviation technical center equipped with research and development, analysis, operations, and maintenance capabilities. "India wants its technical center to be modeled after FAA technical centers and testbeds. This was a great chance to learn from our operational experts in CAASD and apply that knowledge to the international realm." MITRE's international work spans the globe. Our work in the Asia Pacific led to the opening in July 2015 of a research and development facility in Singapore that will help the region adapt to the rapidly increasing demands on its aviation infrastructure.

Pinto was born in India and describes himself as "fairly international in nature." He hopes to continue working in the international aviation arena. "I'm very interested in the interconnectedness of the global ecosystem, so I find this very satisfying work."

A Culture that Supports Collaboration and Growth

Throughout his time at MITRE, Pinto has been impressed by MITRE staff's willingness to help one another. "I think collaboration is one of MITRE's core values. From the beginning, I discovered that when I needed to talk with someone—even if I had never met them before—they were willing to share their knowledge and expertise. That's an aspect of MITRE I really appreciate."

Pinto also believes the company provides employees with an "unparalleled opportunity to learn." In addition to learning from subject matter experts in his own area, he says MITRE makes it relatively easy to engage in different programs and projects. "The culture here supports people in finding opportunities for learning, contribution, creativity, and growth."

As an example, Pinto cites his participation in a project to combat healthcare fraud. "Even though my work is primarily focused on aviation-related initiatives, MITRE gave me the opportunity to apply my skills in this completely different domain."

Pinto enjoys working directly with MITRE's sponsors as well. "For me, that's a big plus. I really enjoy building those relationships and learning firsthand from our sponsors about their needs and perspectives.

"In my experience, that's the best way to ensure we are delivering the quality services they expect from us."

—by Marlis McCollum

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