photo of Chad Hanak

Job Title

President 

Employer

Superior QC, LLC. 

Location

Seabrook, TX 

Why did you decide to pursue an aerospace engineering degree?

Physics was my favorite subject in high school, and I was also a big fan of space and aviation. Aerospace engineering was the best fit.

Describe your current position.

Superior QC applies the guidance, navigation and control theory to the problem of directionally drilling wellbores. Wells can be 10,000 ft down and 2 or three miles long horizontally. Often they must be placed parallel to within 300 feet using something similar to dead reckoning navigation. We are advancing the state of the art in the oil and gas industry to enable this to happen more accurately and robustly. I oversee all aspects of the business, which includes interacting with customers, growing the business, technology development and overseeing our real-time remote operations center.

What do you like most about your job? What do you find most challenging?

I am an entrepreneur. I started the company from scratch, grew the customer base and technology, and then sold it to a much larger company for a profit. This entire startup life cycle was a new challenge for me that I really enjoyed. I also enjoy the process of industry cross-pollination in ideas, which goes both ways.

What are your career goals?

Eventually, I would like to start another company. I see myself as a serial entrepreneur at this point.

Which student projects / organizations were you involved with in ASE/EM? 

AIAA and the Center for Space Research

Were you involved in any fellowships or internships? If so, please explain and discuss the benefits.

I was a co-op student at NASA-JSC. The experience helped me to grow my network and better identify the applicability of the courses I was taking to my future career. I highly recommend multiple tours as a co-op or intern.

Do you recommend any particular focus for students other than academics to improve themselves as potential candidates for jobs?

It helps to know a little bit about the business world. How people advance vs. get stuck in their careers. Also, social skills are extremely important to develop if one wants to move up in a large organization or start a business. Everyone is a sales person to an extent, whether your selling your project idea to a manager or a product/service to a customer. If you struggle here, challenge your self to start purposefully practicing now.

Are there courses at UT you wish you had taken? If so, which ones and why?

Courses in the business department would have been useful. I feel I could have started advancing in my career more quickly had I gained some basic business knowledge earlier on.

Why did you choose one track over the other (atmospheric/space)? Do you feel this has made any difference in your career?

I always wanted to work at NASA growing up, and JSC was the closest center. So that meant spaceflight.

Who was your most influential ASE, COE or EM professor and why?

I would have to say Dr. Robert Bishop had the most influence on my career. My main focus has been navigation, which was his area of expertise.

What has been your most influential ASE, COE or EM course and why?

Linear systems (graduate course) stands out. So much of what we do is based on linear approximation to non-linear systems.

What is one piece of advice you have for current students?

You have to make your career happen. No one else cares about it like you do. Also, if you're not a little scared of a new challenge, you're not growing.

Are you still working in the field of your degree? If not, why?

Kind of. I still use my degree heavily, but I am in oil and gas now. I soured on working for the federal government after a while, and oil and gas was a field with a lot of opportunity in Houston.

Do you have a favorite memory as a UT ASE/EM student?

I enjoyed my co-op time the most.

List three things that most people don't know about you.

(1) I was an editorial writer for the Daily Texan for a semester.       

(2) I preferred the Crown and Anchor to Posse East.

(3) I am a Libertarian.