DENVER, Colo. (NNS) -- Lt. Cmdr. Juan J. Orozco was honored with the Hispanic in Technology STAR Award (Government category) during ceremonies conducted at the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) National Conference, on Jan. 12.
This top recognition is reserved for engineers or scientists who have made outstanding contributions to their field resulting in a significant industry impact.
The award was presented by Conference Keynote Speaker, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Robert F. Willard, who spoke in glowing terms about the high quality of young men and women serving in the U.S. Navy throughout the world.
"The Navy offers limitless opportunity for those who choose to embrace this challenge," stated Willard at a black tie gala for 3,000 guests assembled at the Colorado Convention Center.
Orozco emigrated from Spain in 1977. His parents made this decision for the benefit of Juan and his three siblings, so that they could be educated in America, and have the career opportunities embodied by the "American Dream".
The Orozco family has deep roots in the military. Juan's ancestors were Spanish Army Generals, Navy Admirals and Air Force Colonels. In fact, his grandfather is revered as a national hero akin to Charles Lindberg. To this day his airplane resides at the Air Force Museum in Madrid.
Orozco had always been a serious student and athlete. His mentors include a number of teachers and coaches. He had unusual focus for a high school student and wanted a Navy lifestyle from an early age. The Navy gave him this opportunity when he was selected to attend the United States Naval Academy. His math and science skills were strong, however, his English needed additional polish before assuming a rigorous Service Academy curriculum. The Navy offered a preparatory school in which Juan is thankful.
"The Navy is like family to me," stated Orozco. "They knew what was best for me at that time, and indeed throughout my career since that day."
Orozco spoke appreciatively about the incredible leaders, like his past commanding officers of his two guided missile cruisers, who rank high on the list.
"Being a nuclear trained officer operating nuclear power plants, and additionally having the opportunity to assume responsibilities as combat systems officer, coordinating the airspace for three Aircraft Carrier battle groups, an aegis cruiser's executive officer and now overseeing manning for the nuclear Navy has been an incredible experience," stated Orozco. "The feeling of accomplishment, pride and the ability to make a positive difference in the lives of so many is more than I could have ever imagined.
"I am living the 'American Dream' envisioned by my parents when they immigrated to the United States, and I trust that I have made them proud of the difficult decisions made for the betterment of their family".
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