Today’s students, Tomorrow’s Leaders

November 29, 2023

If you had asked USU alum Scott Ackroyd at graduation where he’d see himself in 20 years, he envisioned a slow, steady career making a stable economic necessity, like ink cartridges. Fast forward to today, Ackroyd is the Chief Engineer of the Future Fighter Program at Pratt & Whitney Jet Engines, with 200 employees working underneath his lead.

Scott Ackroyd is the Chief Engineer of the Future Fighter Program at Pratt & Whitney, responsible for developing the next generation of military aircraft engines.

Scott Ackroyd is the Chief Engineer of the Future Fighter Program at Pratt & Whitney, responsible for developing the next generation of military aircraft engines.

Ackroyd left USU with his Bachelor’s in mechanical engineering in 1998. He took a chance on moving to the East Coast and now holds a Master’s in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Poly Technical School as well as an MBA and Master of Strategic Management from the Kelly School of Business.

In his current role, Ackroyd is responsible for the development of all aspects of engine design, usage, and sustainment for future fighter applications, overseeing design, building, testing and operation. He has served in various international, commercial, and military roles across Pratt & Whitney and just celebrated his 25th anniversary with the company.

“One of the best things I learned at Utah State is that I’m often not the smartest person in the room and that’s okay,” Ackroyd said. “To be able to identify who might be the smartest person and see how they can help me means I don’t have to do things entirely on my own. You aren’t a weak leader because you ask for help.”

Something Ackroyd encourages other aspiring engineers to do is be open to change. Some of his most life-changing moments came from spontaneity, such as when he moved from Connecticut to Dayton, Ohio. He was offered a job while working on his doctorate and dropped everything to take it.

“Someone saw something in me, and I really enjoyed that job,” he said. “It introduced me to supporting military decision-making and helped me find a career path I’d never thought about.”

Ackroyd’s ability to go with the flow also landed him a stint in Nagoya, Japan for 4 years, working with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. At home in Connecticut, he enjoys playing basketball, cooking meat on his smoker and reading historical biographies. He especially likes books about early American leaders who envisioned diversity in their team of decision-makers. Even though he now is a leader himself, he continues to watch and emulate the best traits of everyone he knows.

“Always make sure you’re learning something new, and don’t be afraid to try. It is okay to not get it right the first time,” he said. “Just make sure you keep good people along with you as you learn and grow.”

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Writer: Sydney Dahle, sydney.dahle@usu.edu, 435-797-7512

Contact: Scott Ackroyd, scott.ackroyd@prattwhitney.com