Embry-Riddle graduate Ben Gonzalez Embry-Riddle graduate Ben Gonzalez
Ben Gonzalez, a Senior Program Manager at L3 Harris Technologies, has already earned three degrees at Embry‑Riddle and is now pursuing his Ph.D. in Aviation Business Administration. (Photo: Ben Gonzalez)

For Aviation Business Administration Student, Success is a Matter of Degrees

Story by Jon O'Neill
Jon O'Neill

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Aviation Business Administration Ph.D. candidate Ben Gonzalez is now working on his fourth degree from Embry‑Riddle.

When he left the U.S. Air Force in 2014 after serving for 23 years and rising to the rank of major, Ben Gonzalez (’19, ’20, ’22) set his sights on similar success in his civilian career.

Gonzalez turned to Embry‑Riddle Aeronautical University’s Worldwide Campus, the acknowledged leader in helping veterans make the transition from service to civilian, to ensure he had the knowledge, the practical experience and the right degrees he needed to reach the lofty leadership goals he set for himself.

Embry‑Riddle is considered one of the best universities in the aviation industry. The courses are friendly to working professionals, the faculty is great and their method of instruction is well received.

Why Study Business at Embry‑Riddle?

Gonzalez’s hard work on the job and in school has paid off, and he was recently named among 27 recipients of the 2022 Employee Veteran Leadership Award from G.I. Jobs Magazine, which recognizes veterans for the “positive impact they are having on the organizations that employ them” and “the extra effort they extend not only in their regular job responsibilities but in ways that are not expected.”

To complement his success as Senior Program Manager at L3Harris Technologies, Gonzalez has also built an impressive academic resume at Embry‑Riddle’s Worldwide College of Business, earning a B.S. and M.S. in Project Management in 2019 and 2020, followed by his M.S. in Management in 2022. He took advantage of Worldwide’s flexible learning options to finish his classes while he continued building his career.

“[Embry‑Riddle] provides an avenue to the work-life-study balance and helped me continue my studies on a constant schedule at my pace,” Gonzalez said. “The courses for working professionals [use] a syllabus that is formatted to deliver the correct instruction for the correct allotted timeframe for each course.”

Why Veterans Choose The Worldwide Campus College of Business

Noting that U.S. News & World Report has again ranked Embry‑Riddle’s online bachelor’s programs for military veterans best in the United States, Worldwide College of Business Dean Maneesh Sharma remarked: “We highly value our veteran students and are proud to provide them with highly dedicated and caring professors and industry-aligned curriculum to help them achieve success in their chosen careers. We are grateful to our veteran students for choosing Embry‑Riddle and sharing in our joint passion for excellence.”

Gonzalez is topping off his academic journey at the university by starting the Ph.D. in Aviation Business Administration program offered through Embry‑Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus.

“I have chosen to continue seeking higher education in order to gain more knowledge about new business models that can bring value to the company and organization,” he said.

After a military career working with cutting-edge aircraft that included the F-15, F-16, F-22 and A-10, Gonzalez is now in charge of Programmed Depot Maintenance for U.S. aircraft sold to foreign countries. He leads a team of experts tasked with delivering maintenance “in a cost-efficient and timely manner.”

A Solid Plan for Future Success

Looking ahead, Gonzalez is aiming for an executive leadership role at L3Harris that also would allow him to “provide mentorship to those employees who are seeking to improve themselves” and “share what I have learned in order to raise the value of the departments, sectors or segment of the company.”

Looking back, Gonzalez has nothing but gratitude for the solid career foundation Embry‑Riddle is helping him construct, and he is especially grateful to the university’s expert faculty team.

Their instruction, guidance and willingness to help their students goes above and beyond their normal duty,” he said. “Everyone that I have met from the university has always been ready to help out with any questions or concerns that I may have.”

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