When young people enter aerospace engineering studies, most of them have no clear vision of the future. One could only guess what thoughts and expectations run through their heads and how humble of ambitious their dreams are. With life bringing in natural changes, some of the graduates change their minds about their aviation engineering career along the way, other successfully find jobs and carry on the day to day routine without being noticeable too much by the general society. Now, the third type, are the aerospace engineers who managed to make significant influence during their careers, who were courageous enough to make big-time decisions and change the world forever. Here is the top 3 for the engineers turned Chief Executive Officers (CEOs).
1. Philip Murray Condit (b. 1941) – former CEO of the Boeing company.
He became an aviation enthusiast early in life. He gained BA in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, MA in aeronautical engineering from Princeton University, and Ph.D. in engineering from the Tokyo University of Science. Phil Condit joined the Boeing company in 1965 as an aerodynamics engineer. Later, he became a lead engineer on the Boeing 747 high-speed configuration. He advanced into management within a year and became manager of the Boeing 727 marketing. In 1996, he was elected president of Boeing, and a member of the board of directors. He remained in this position until resigning on 1 December 2003. (Image credit: nae.edu)
2. Henri Ziegler (1906–1998) – one of the founders of Airbus and its first CEO.
Ziegler started his career graduating from “Sup’Aéro” as polytechnic engineer. He was also French air force officer and test pilot, represented the French government in Britain and the United States, became managing director of Air France. He was founded Air Alpes, was a member of several cabinet ministries, president of Avions Breguet; president of Sud Aviation (1968), leader of the Franco-British supersonic airliner project Concorde, and president and CEO of Société Nationale Industrielle Aérospatiale. (Image credit: journal-aviation.com)
3. Richard H. Truly (b. 1973) – eighth Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
He received BA in aeronautical engineering degree from Georgia Institute of Technology. Later, he studied and worked as an instructor at the U.S. Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School in California. Truly worked on and off at NASA until he returned to become NASA’s Associate Administrator for Space Flight in 1986. Truly became NASA’s eighth Administrator in 1989. In 1988, he was awarded the Society of Experimental Test Pilots James H. Doolittle Award. He also received that year the Collier Trophy for his role in assisting NASA’s return to launching manned missions after the Challenger disaster. (Image credit: wikipedia.org)