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Solving big problems with big tech

From supervising the maintenance of jets for the US Navy, to launching connectivity balloons that sailed the stratosphere at Loon, to managing R&D programs at Google, Donte has let his curiosity, skill and ambition pave the path to some amazing destinations.

  • Major BAS, Business Administration
  • Work history TQ Lab Manager at Google Flight Operations Test Plan Program Manager at Loon Avionics Technician Supervisor in the US Navy
  • Hometown Houston, TX
  • How would you describe CMU? Quality, Hands-On, Rewarding, Memorable

A curious mind

Donte has always had a fascination for the way things work. Like the operational life cycle of brewing craft beer. The maintenance of Navy jets. Or the functionality of mobile operating systems. A habitual troubleshooter and technical tinkerer, it was no surprise when Donte’s interests for the inner workings of our world led him to a job as Program Manager at Google.

His time in the business school at CMU first exposed him to operational management. He enjoyed understanding processes and lifecycles, and had a talent for both device troubleshooting and project management. When it came time to graduate, Donte put his skills into practice — first as an ID coordinator for CMU, then as an Avionics Technical Supervisor in the U.S. Navy.

I had a blast. CMU is smaller than the other schools, so if you have the ambition there is a lot of opportunity. Also, there is a great community there to help and support you.

What CMU taught me

  1. You get a lot farther as a team than on your own

  2. Take advantage of every opportunity you’re offered

  3. Measuring personal growth is more important than comparing yourself to others

  4. A challenging educational environment is the best career preparation

My Advice

If you go to CMU, you won’t get lost in a sea of thousands of people. It has a small town feel where you can grow up autonomously and develop who you are and your own character, in a beautiful surrounding.

Flying high

His proximity to aviation during his time in the Navy must have given Donte a taste for aeronautics, because after leaving, he transitioned to a position at Loon X; an innovative subsidiary of Alphabet on a high-flying mission to expand internet connection in rural areas worldwide with stratospheric balloons. Through his role as Flight Operations Test Plan Program Manager, Donte was part of coordinating and executing novel engineering feats and launching high-tech equipment in remote areas (like small villages outside of Brazil). He said he’ll never forget how much his experience traveling with the Outdoor Program at CMU prepared him for navigating such remote, secluded locations.

Now, at Google, Donte works in research and development for device testing. He and his team are among the first to use new or upgraded operating systems, diligently testing and optimizing their functionality before they’re released to the public. He lives in Silicon Valley, is surrounded by the largest tech giants in the world, works on special projects and deals daily with lots (and lots) of code.

Donte teases that he grew up wanting to be a zookeeper because of his love for animals and the outdoors, but he’s ultimately pretty pleased with where his path has led him. He says that his time at CMU gave him access to faculty who are experts in their fields and eager to share their real-world knowledge, as well as hands-on projects that allowed him to “try-on” various professions and career paths to see what fit. Growing up in Texas and now living in California, Donte’s amazed by how many people have such strong ties to Colorado, and how solid the presence of the CMU network has been, even after all of these years. 

Article published January 2023

It’s about you and what you want. I feel like CMU makes you tap into who you are more than trying to rely on everything else around you. It was a wake up call to look inside yourself.

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