Jorge A. Ochoa
Senior Managing Engineer, Medical Device Practice
For his entrepreneurial vision, tenacity, and contributions to the field of biomechanics and orthopedics
Jorge Ochoa is imbued with a strong sense of purpose. With an education and career steeped in the tough-minded, analytical world of mechanical engineering, Ochoa is nonetheless able to readily articulate a rather grand philosophy of life that puts a premium on altruism and balance. "Being able to directly improve the quality of life for people is the purest definition of engineering as I understand it," explains Ochoa, "it entails the application of science for the betterment of the human condition."
Given his expansive and humane understanding of science and engineering, it is not hard to understand why Ochoa chose to specialize in biomedical engineering. "I am so happy I am able to apply the fundamentals of mechanical engineering to a profession where the final benefactor is the human body," says Ochoa. "I have not just seen, but been lucky enough to be a part of the creation and coming of age of the field of biomedical engineering."
Over the past decade, Ochoa has accrued numerous patents in recognition of his ground-breaking research in biomedical engineering and takes special pride in the concrete difference they have made in many people's lives.
He says, "I am proud to say that the significance of my patents is that they are not just window dressing. The majority of the patents on which I am a named inventor have been the result of creative individuals working as a team to create a novel way to treat debilitating diseases and improve the clinical outcomes of surgical treatments."
Ochoa is realistic about the many challenges engineers are up against in these precarious times that define today's complex world. His attitude is reminiscent of the tension inherent within the Chinese word for crisis, wei ji, that seems to connote the simultaneous possibility for both danger and opportunity. Ochoa concedes that though current problems may be as daunting as they are multifarious, they nonetheless also "present opportunities for advancement and contributions that have been unparalleled up to now for engineers."
Ochoa's sense of purpose and humility is made evident in the manner he chooses to succinctly sum up the significance of his career thus far.
"The two most important things I have learned about my career and engineering is that neither is the most important thing. What I have come to understand is that it is not the career—but the people; and not engineering—but engineers that matter," says Ochoa.
PhD '91, Purdue University