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Director of Engineering for Air Force Propulsion talks about career

  • Published
  • By Brian Brackens
  • Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – “If you’re not having fun, you’re not in the right job,” is a motto Josh Mark has followed throughout his career in intelligence, aircraft and propulsion development, research, space technologies, and currently as Director of Engineering for the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Propulsion Directorate.

An avid runner and father of five girls ranging from 10 -17 years old, Mark serves as the senior engineer in a directorate that is leading efforts to modernize and sustain the engines that power Air Force aircraft.

Born at the Wright-Patterson Medical Center, to a military family – his dad is a retired chief – Mark spent time in Spain and Germany as a kid, before moving back to Wright-Patt.

He graduated with a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Cedarville University and commissioned into the Air Force. He later received his master’s in mechanical engineering from Wright State University and transitioned into the Air Force Reserves, where he serves as a Lieutenant Colonel, Deputy Division Chief, Science & Technology Management at the Pentagon, in addition to his current civilian role of engineering director.

As director, some of Mark’s responsibilities include developing standards for things like the airworthiness of engines, and providing engineering guidance, expertise and oversight to the directorate’s workforce and stakeholders.

“My days are a mix of talking with government and industry – working with our original engine manufacturers; General Electric, Rolls Royce and Pratt and Whitney,” said Mark. “So a lot of engagement, and one-on-ones with my counterparts to track progress and drive action on the programs that we manage together. Whether it’s adaptive programs or whether it’s bringing new technologies to legacy platforms, there are many areas where propulsion can influence and deliver more war fighting capabilities, and it’s exciting.”

Having fun and enjoying success at work and at home depends in part on integration between the two, Mark said.

“Is it work-life balance, or is it work-life integration?” he asked. “How are we integrating work into our life?  It’s very easy to go too far in prioritizing one over the other. I set work expectations for my folks, but I also try to set a personal example so that they see work-life integration is possible.”
 Mark and his wife are running partners and run at least four miles a day.

“We both competed in college,” he said. “Once we graduated, we still liked running but realized we wouldn’t run if we didn’t do it every day. Right now we’re on a 763 day running streak. Our previous record was 2,100 days straight.”

This fall Mark will begin a doctoral program in Systems Engineering at Colorado State University.

“My passions are propulsion and people,” he said. “There's no better job than the Director of Engineering to be able to work in both of those areas at the same time.”