Tu vecino – Aram Pérez
Our Chattanooga area is home to many awesome Spanish-speakers. In our Tu vecino blog, we highlight some of our incredible Spanish-speaking neighbors!
Today, we are highlighting Aram Pérez: engineer, founder of The Steam Train. Learn more about Aram and what he’s up to below!
¿De dónde es? Where is he from?
Born in Gary, Indiana to a Cuban father and a Puerto Rican mother, Aram grew up with a house full of the Spanish language and Latin culture. His father, who was a minister and a poet, insisted that Spanish be spoken in the house (click here to hear some of Aram’s father, Rafael Pérez Izquierdo, read poems in Spanish, some that he wrote himself). Aram spent his growing up years in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Puerto Rico. In those early years, Aram was fortunate to develop the ability to read, write, and speak in both English and Spanish. As an adult, he moved to Chattanooga after re-connecting with a woman here that he had met many years before at summer camp. They ended up getting married, and he’s lived here ever since!
¿Qué hace? What does he do?Aram developed an interest in technology as a child. His father was a tinkerer and always seemed to always be working on some kind of an invention (including attempts at a perpetual motion machine). After high school, Aram studied engineering at Walla Walla College (now Walla Walla University) in Washington State. Later, at companies like Apple and Qualcomm, he made contributions to the growing world of computers and cell phones. He continues to apply his engineering skills and knowledge in creative ways today.
De tal palo, tal astilla. Like father, like son.
Aram’s father was a tinkerer, an artist, and an engaged community member. Now that Aram has mostly retired from his tech career, he’s doing those very same things.
As a tinkerer, Aram has launched his own robotics education business in The STEAM Train. His goal with this startup is to put affordable programable robots in the hands of kids. He wants to see them develop skills and also interest in technology. His career in the tech industry led to opportunities to travel the world with Qualcomm, and he wants to see that opportunity opened up to more young people (click here to see see Aram’s flickr account with photos from his travels).
As an artist, Aram uses a laser cutter and other tools at the Chatt Lab Maker’s Space to build things like clocks, lamps, and the chassis of the latest version of the STEAMbot robot (see photo). Say hello and check out his work if you see him at his Chattanooga Market booth later this year.
As a community member, Aram connects with Chattanooga in many ways. As an advocate for education, he serves as a board member at UnifiEd, and an advisory board member for the East Ridge and Howard Future Ready Institutes. He’s the area lead for the Fab Lab at the Chatt Lab, overseeing 3D printing and laser tools. He’s also on the programing committee for the Chattanooga Engineers Club.
Language South aims to create an engaging and supportive community that inspires and develops lifelong learners and lovers of languages and cultures. Click here to learn more about El Pueblo, our summer Spanish Camp for kids and teens!