JJ Biel-Goebel

Lead Engineer, Boeing
Ridley Park, PA, United States

About JJ


I love figuring things out. I am an engineer by passion. And I really want to change the world. And it is with that goal that I started the Urban Green partnership. I felt that if I don’t try to change something and make the world a better place than I found it then I am just not doing my part. To that end I have watched many hours of TED presentations over the years and have always been impressed by the amounts of amazing ideas that get tossed around on stage. I have attend local events here in Philadelphia like the Wharton Tech conference and the Fox innovators conference and have learned quite a lot over the years. So I am finally applying to be a TED attendee in the hopes of learning and becoming a more affective change agent.

My personality was forged very early on…

My parents bought a children’s book that talked about things that fly. It had about 5 words per page and amazing pictures. I am told that the first time I looked at the book I pointed to a 747 jumbo jet and just started asking questions. My parents I guess had a good laugh at my expense, but because they are amazing they fostered that curiosity from that day forward. Legos, electrical kits, chemical sets, and constant flow of things that for some reason looked like they needed to be taken apart set the stage for the rest of my life.

There was one other thing that my parents did that has proven to be just as responsible for making me who I am today. I have three sisters who had varying interests growing up. Dance, figure skating, cooking, art and theater are just a few examples of the things that inspired them. My parents, looking to give all of their children a balanced education made all four of us go to the same activities every day. All my sisters played hockey, and I reluctantly went to tap dancing, and theater classes. At the time I felt as if my life was ruined but these activities gave me an amazing outlook on all of the different aspects of life, and gave me a great sense of self confidence.

Bohemian, Badger, and Jack. These three words could be used to describe my personality. Bohemian, for my love of the arts, the environment, travel, and good stories from friends. The badger, for its tenacity to overcome any size obstacle with unwavering focus. And Jack of all trades, I love finding lenses to look at life through. Each one is unique but connected and every lens you pick up helps you learn more about yourself and the world. Lastly, Jack for my dad, whose generosity and kindness makes me want to try harder.

I think I have talent, but I will let you be the judge….

I carried the passion for science and my need to jump into life all throughout my high school and undergraduate career. I joined science clubs, helped with research, and leaped at any opportunity to get my hands dirty. That need to take things apart as a child has never truly left me and I was driven to learn more about the mechanical side of things. The decision to get my FAA and FCC licenses before getting a job has turned out to be one of the best things I have done for my career as an aerospace engineer.

I had done something that most people never get the opportunity to do; I made my childhood dream of playing with airplanes a career. Not one to be at rest for long I looked for new challenges. I helped start an environmental nonprofit, I went back for a few masters degrees and I started working on research proposals. I have had a good amount of success with the nonprofit; we have been around for 5 years and are looking to start our first capital project. I have had a good amount of luck in grad school completing my degree in systems engineering in 2007. But it hasn’t been till recently that I have had luck getting back to research. And when it rains it pours, I now have an artificial muscle research project at Drexel University and a Lidar research project funded by Boeing. Dusting off my math skills has proven painful but necessary and I can only hope that both of these projects prove successful. They may even get me a patent and few published papers if everything works out right.



Areas of Expertise

Structural Design, Process Design, Knowledge Management, communities and social tools, Systems Engineering, Environmental Strategy, Environmental technologies, Non-proft entrepreneurism, Non-profit management, Events Planning/Organizing

Comments & conversations

JJ Biel-Goebel
Posted over 4 years ago
Where do you find the inspiration and energy to start and build your own venture?
I know the first two things I started were out of frustration. In fact when I talk to kids and other groups about starting a business I always talk about frustration. Something is not working, being done wrong, not being done at all or being done in a very inefficient way. And I am frustrated that there is a better, simpler cheaper or greener way to do the same thing. I also agree with your point about vision. As soon as you identify that fly in the ointment now you have to go about putting a plan together that can remove it. I know I am frustrated by many things but have only had the resources to work on a few of them. So not only do I need a vision but I need a good amount of resources that can be aligned to a specific project.