In its annual list of the brightest young minds in the country, Forbes selected two members of the Case Western Reserve University community, including Felipe Gomez del Campo, a senior aerospace and mechanical engineering major, as part of the 2016 “30 Under 30” special, published this week.
Gomez del Campo is recognized in the “energy” category for his work on a fuel injector for jet engines.
This is the second time in recent years that Case Western Reserve has had multiple people recognized on the Forbes list: In December 2012, four Case Western Reserve students and alumni were in the “science and health care” category.
Gomez del Campo likely was underwater when “30 Under 30” came out. Though he knew the list would be published at 10 a.m. on Jan. 4, the Case Western Reserve varsity swim team is training near his home in Florida this week, and practice started precisely at that time.
Rather than jump in a few minutes late or duck out early, the dedicated distance swimmer practiced with the team until noon, before finally checking his phone to see if he’d made the list. Yet even then, he kept the news quiet from his teammates; they only found out after Coach Doug Milliken tweeted the news.
His teammates have long known about Gomez del Campo’s successes, though. The native of Mexico City started his own company, FGC Plasma Solutions, in 2013 to bring to market a device that shoots a precise amount of plasma into jet engine fuel. What started as a high school science fair project is now a patent-pending technology that could lead to a 10 percent decrease in fuel consumption, resulting in reduced emissions and operating costs. Over the past year, he’s been testing his work at Cleveland’s NASA Glenn Research Center. (Fitting, given that Gomez del Campo credits his passion for engineering partially to growing up near Kennedy Space Center after his family moved from Mexico to Florida.)
Last spring, Gomez del Campo was recognized at the White House by President Barack Obama during a panel highlighting young entrepreneurs. As part of the event, he pitched his product to investors from ABC’s Shark Tank.
The trip to Washington, D.C., was just one of many national and local recognition opportunities for Gomez del Campo; in just two 2015 competitions alone, he earned $100,000 in support, plus awards and honors at numerous other events.
“It’s all pretty exciting,” Gomez del Campo said. “But at the same time … it’s one step ahead of the science. Last year was a lot of publicity, but this year is about the science. It’s all a reminder that there’s a lot of work still to be done.”
Read more about Case Western Reserve’s other Forbes honoree.