Distinguished Engineering Alumni 2008
The title of Distinguished Engineering Alumni was first given in the Spring of 1964 for the purpose of recognizing special accomplishments by our alumni. Each year, the College of Engineering recognizes those men and women engineers whose achievements are truly outstanding.
"For her civilian leadership activities in the United States Air Force"
DEBRA L. HALEY
B.S.A.E. 1978, OAE 2005
Special Assistant to the Command of Aeronautical Systems Center
Air Force Materiel Command
Haley, who received her bachelor's degree in aeronautics and astronautics in 1978, recently retired as special assistant to the commander of the Aeronautics Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. In her 29-year civilian career with the U.S. Air Force, she also served as chief information officer and executive director of Air Force Materiel Command. Her responsibility and accomplishments were recognized with a presidential award for meritorious service from President Bush in 2005. She also holds master's degrees in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Air Force Institute of Technology.
Haley was drawn to Purdue's program in aeronautics and astronautics because of her love of flying and engineering. In her 29-year civilian career with the United States Air Force, Haley led several organizations at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. The two most challenging assignments were as chief information officer and executive director for Materiel Systems. As CIO, she and her team operated and maintained the $4 billion communications infrastructure of Air Force Materiel Command, enabling 100,000 people to communicate effectively and securely around the world. As executive director, she led a team of people responsible for buying and implementing software to run the business processes of the Air Force.
The Air Force provided her with a variety of challenges—in research and development, acquisition, logistics, weapons systems testing, and in leading a workforce of 15,000. Her management responsibilities sparked an interest in people and their hidden potential.
A dedicated mentor, Haley has given career development seminars across the Department of Defense. Now, in retirement, she is devoting her time in Florida to many faith-based, not-for-profit organizations. These include an after-school program for underprivileged children, hospice, mission work at church, and hospital chaplaincy.
MSM '92, Sloan Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MSLM '87, Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT)
BSAAE '78, Purdue University