'Why are we here?' This engineer knows her answer

Maintaining systems that keep a nation safe heightens a teammate’s vigilance for seeing potential in others.

March 01, 2023 in Defense

Tara Melton represents Boeing at The National Society of Black Engineers annual convention.

Courtesy Tara Melton

Tara Melton has a simple answer to one of life’s commonly asked questions.

“I’m on this earth to help others,” Melton said. “Luckily, Boeing makes that easy.”

The on-site engineer helps protect the United States by keeping systems such as Ground-based Midcourse Defense ready at all times.

“I’m blessed to have such a meaningful job, but my ability to help people goes far beyond my day-to-day engineering work,” Melton said.

Melton joined the company as a contractor on the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science, or ARES, space program in 2008. Right away, she knew she wanted to become a lifelong Boeing employee.

“It was clear to me that when you’re planted at Boeing, you’re also watered,” Melton said. “And when you’re watered, you grow.”

By 2015, she was a full-time Boeing team member, working on NASA’s Space Launch System, or SLS, deep space rocket program. Her eagerness to learn led her to the Weapons Systems team five years later.

Melton quickly adapted thanks to what she calls a “brilliant and knowledgeable” team. The experience taught Melton about the detailed engineering work it takes to develop and maintain the systems that keep the U.S. homeland safe.

“I was able to really utilize my engineering skills for a meaningful cause,” she said. “And that felt amazing.”

In addition to testing and maintaining systems that keep people safe, Melton has a passion for another meaningful cause — promoting equity, diversity and inclusion. She joined the Huntsville Boeing Black Employees Association (BBEA). She takes part in recruiting events as a member of BBEA. Her experience has taught her instinct is a powerful tool.

“At one event, there was a really qualified candidate, but English was his second language, so there was a barrier there,” Melton said. “I kept going back to one thing: He worked full time waiting tables to support his studies and, in his spare time, wrote software for airplanes. That told me so much about his work ethic and what motivated him.”

Melton advocated for the student. “He has his dream job, and we have another great team member,” Melton said.

Melton also helps keep Boeing what she calls “a dream place to work” by serving on the Boeing Huntsville Diversity and Inclusion Council and works as a training coordinator for all Boeing Business Resource Groups.

“I recruit worthy candidates because I know I can change someone’s life by bringing them here,” Melton said. “When you work for a company that invests in you, you can advance your family and community. 

“And the best part is, we all work together to connect our world and keep it safe,” Melton said. “What could be better?” 

Interested in joining Team Boeing? Explore job opportunities, internships and more at

By Sarah Flowers