7 More Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were Engineers

June 15, 2015

Two years ago we wrote what became our most-popular article to date: 9 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were Engineers.

The article received thousands upon thousands of shares, hundreds of comments, and a few solid leads on celebrities-who-are-engineers we missed the first time.

Adding to our original list, here are 7 More Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were Engineers:

Donald Sutherland engineer

Donald Sutherland, Actor (Hunger Games, The Italian Job)

Even though he knew as a teenager that he wanted to pursue acting, Sutherland enrolled at Victoria College, University of Toronto in engineering at his father’s urging “to have something to fall back on.” He graduated with a double major in drama and engineering (even found time to be a member of UoT’s Comedy Troupe while a student).

After graduation he changed his mind about becoming an engineer, left for England in 1957 and studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He picked up small roles in British films and TV for several years afterward; but his big break came when he was cast in The Dirty Dozen with Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson in 1967.

Herbert Hoover engineer

Herbert Hoover, 31st President of the United States

Hoover was among the inaugural class of graduates from Stanford University and was employed as a professional mining engineer. Upon graduation he took a job with Louis Janin, an expert on western mining. This experience helped him land a critical position with Berwick, Moreing, and Company at a gold mine in western Australia – where he sampled, surveyed, and evaluated mines. He continued to climb the ranks at Berwick, and between 1902 and 1907, Hoover and his family circled the globe five times during his employment.

He started his own engineering consultancy in 1908 and by 1914 had amassed an estimated personal fortune of $4 million.

Hoover found his way into politics through philanthropy. When World War I began he helped to organize the return of more than a hundred thousand of Americans from Europe and led 500 volunteers in distributing food and clothing. Speaking of this decision sometime later, Hoover said “I did not realize it at the moment, but on August 3, 1914, my career was over forever. I was on the slippery road of public life.”

Hoover may have left engineering, but thinking like an engineer never left him.

As President from 1929–1933, he was an outspoken proponent of the Efficiency Movement (a major component of the Progressive Era) which believed that the government and the economy were riddled with inefficiency and waste, and could be improved by experts who could identify the problems and solve them.

That position, unfortunately, was challenged by the Great Depression, which began in the first year of his presidency – 1929. He was a one-term president.

Joe Girardi is an engineer

Joe Girardi, Manager of the NY Yankees

Before he was a major league catcher, and long before he was a manager, Joe Girardi was an Industrial Engineering student at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering and Management. ASME writes:

In 2007, the school recognized him with its distinguished alumni award. In his award address, he explained how his academic background has contributed to his career success in baseball.

“You think about industrial engineers as problem solvers. In baseball, that’s what you do. Situations come up all the time where you use the skills you’ve learned to solve problems. You figure out how to make systems run better and be more efficient, and really that’s what you’re trying to do as a manager,” he told interviewers.

As a catcher, he had to calculate a pitcher’s strength and a batter’s weakness in order to succeed. “They give you so many statistics in baseball today that some players become paralyzed, but I loved it,” he said.

Montel Williams

Montel Williams, Talk Show Host

Montel Williams graduated from the Naval Academy in 1980 with a degree in general engineering and a minor in International Security Affairs. After graduation he served in the Navy as a cryptologic officer aboard submarines and with the Naval Security Fleet Support Division at Ft. Meade.

Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg, Business Magnate and 108th Mayor of New York City

Bloomberg graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1964 with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. After graduation he immediately entered Harvard Business School, graduating in 1966 with an MBA. Bloomberg is widely recognized for being a billionaire, but most people probably don’t know that he’s self-made.

The son of a bookkeeper, Bloomberg put himself through Johns Hopkins University and Harvard University, where he earned a Master of Business Administration degree in 1966. His first Wall Street job was with Salomon Brothers, where he quickly climbed the ladder, becoming partner in 1972.

When Salomon Brothers was bought in 1981, Bloomberg started his own company, Bloomberg L.P., built around a financial information computer that revolutionized the way securities data was stored and consumed. The company was enormously successful and soon branched into the media business with more than 100 offices worldwide.

Bloomberg L.P. is perhaps best known for the “Bloomberg Terminal,” a computer system that enables professionals in finance and other industries to access the Bloomberg Professional service through which users can monitor and analyze real-time financial market data and place trades on the electronic trading platform. There are about 320,000 Bloomberg Terminal subscribers worldwide with an annual licensing fee of $20,000 per user.

Source: Michael Bloomberg on Bio

James Young Styx

James (J.Y.) Young, Guitarist (Styx)

Young joined a band named “TW4” in 1970 while a student at Illinois Institute of Technology. Though he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering his engineering career was put on indefinite hold when TW4 became Styx.

Ryan Newman, Engineer

Ryan Newman, NASCAR Driver (No. 31)

Newman achieved a mind-boggling feat of time management; he was an active race driver while an engineering undergraduate at Purdue. From his biography:

In 1999, Newman balanced books as a vehicle-structure engineering student at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., while continuing to be a very active racer. He went on to become the first driver to win all three USAC National Rookie of the Year honors in the same year along with capturing the Silver Crown title.

The following year, Newman still competed in all three USAC national series, but started to switch gears when he signed with Team Penske to test their stock cars and drove a limited schedule in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards and the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Besides earning victories in the USAC National Midget and Sprint Car Series, he captured his first stock car win in just his second ARCA outing at Pocono Raceway and backed it up with two more wins before making his Sprint Cup Series debut in November at Phoenix International Raceway.

In 2001, Newman’s schedule consisted of ARCA, XFINITY and Sprint Cup Series events. In NASCAR’s premier series, Newman kept pace and earned his first career pole at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May and also added two top-five finishes.

He received his AB in Vehicle Structure Engineering in 2001. His first full season in Sprint Cup Series competition was the following year, 2002.

Who Have We Missed?

Do you know of any other celebrities with engineering degrees or who worked as engineers before making it big? Please drop a comment below or on Twitter @EngineerJobs and let us know.