Hispanic Heritage Month: Meet Pedro Nieves, Lockheed Martin engineer and ‘Godfather of HOLA’

ORLANDO, Fla. — Hispanic Heritage Month ends Friday, but the work and contributions of the community continue year-round.

Meet Pedro Nieves: He’s a Puerto Rican engineer who’s making strides at one of Central Florida’s largest companies.

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Lockheed Martin considers itself to be a technology leader, constantly working on cutting-edge solutions to the world’s most complicated and pressing problems.

To help meet those goals, Lockheed Martin seeks out “new ideas from different backgrounds.”

That’s where Nieves comes in. He’s the Quality Director of Operations at Lockheed’s Missiles and Fire Control. He started with the company more than 20 years ago as a systems engineer.

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Nieves says he knew early it was what he wanted to do.

“This is way back, like in Puerto Rico. My dad was a civil engineer,” Nieves said.

Nieves graduated from the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez then moved to Central Florida where he received two Masters Degrees at UCF before landing at Lockheed.

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He says back then, 23 years ago, he would have been one of the first Latinos in the company.

“I think I was...but I saw an opportunity,” Nieves said. “I saw an opportunity for people like me to start joining the business, people with similar talents, diverse backgrounds.”

The opportunity Nieves saw inspired him to launch the Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Awareness, or HOLA, aimed at bringing the Latinos and Hispanics at Lockheed together.

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“We helped with recruiting...started to go into the community, talking more about the business, talking about Lockheed.”

Nieves is also the Deputy Sponsor for his Alma Mater in Puerto Rico, meaning he and others can now travel back to the island to recruit future engineers and help them fulfill their career goals in Florida.

“We’ve created opportunities for Hispanics that they may not have in their countries,” Nieves said.”

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Bringing that talent to Orlando only serves to grow the workforce, and in turn, enhances the economy, while enriching the community.

“I want others to see my career path and think that they can do that...they can do the same or better than I do.”

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