W. Ted Torgerson

W. Ted Torgerson

Senior Director, Program Integration Office
U.S. Air Force Advanced Pilot Training Program
Strike, Surveillance and Mobility
Boeing Defense, Space & Security
The Boeing Company


Whether he was assigned to be in charge or not, William “Ted” Torgerson learned during his years at Purdue that he was able to lead others toward success — success they could all share and enjoy together.

“The basis of that ability came through servant leadership, an ability to help others in being successful and being recognized for their part, and engaging and valuing their portion of the job,” Torgerson says.

Reviewing his subsequent 36 years of consistent success in aerospace engineering for The Boeing Company, it would be logical to assume Torgerson had been at the top of his class from the beginning. Not so, he says.

“There was absolutely a moment in the spring of my sophomore year when I still had not gotten it; I was struggling with C grades, and I was considering dropping out and going into the service. Then it hit me; I had not committed fully to what I was doing. I had not fully engaged and was just going through the motions. That day I made the commitment to be a great aerospace engineer and to put in the effort to make it real!”

Two of Torgerson’s professors, Winthrop Gustafson and J.R. Osborn, helped him do just that. “Professor Osborn gave me the opportunity to do research for him, believing in me before I believed in myself.”

For this reason, Torgerson advises current students to build relationships with their professors. “These people are the greatest treasure at Purdue. They want to help you succeed. I would have overcome my challenges sooner had I done that proactively.”

It didn’t take long before Torgerson’s self-belief led to a series of positions with Boeing, each with increased responsibility and complexity. He has been a part of the development of 4 aircraft systems from paper concept to flight, including the X-45A, X-45C (i.e. Phantom Ray), and the T-X Development aircraft. For his accomplishments he has been recognized by Purdue as an Outstanding Aerospace Engineer and he received the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Aircraft Design Award.

Today, as Boeing’s senior director for program integration, Torgerson oversees the execution of the U.S. Air Force Advanced Pilot Training Program and the T-7A Red Hawk. Leading up to this role, he managed the development of Boeing’s self-funded T-X aircraft and training system in partnership with Saab. This included the development of the winning bid for the Air Force’s next jet trainer program replacing the T-38C. As a result, Boeing will supply over 351 aircraft and 46 simulators valued at over $9 billion. After the award of this contract to the Boeing/Saab team, Saab selected West Lafayette and Purdue’s Discovery Park District for the location of their U.S. based production facility for the center/aft fuselage of the T-7A aircraft.

“We were given a challenge to develop the new T-X aircraft in a three-year period, with an international partner to compete against two existing aircraft for the award,” Torgerson says. “Leading the team to gain the belief that it could be done, to overcome difficulties in development, in bridging the cultures of our team — U.S. and Swedish — developing or implementing ideas and technologies from around the company, and in embracing true model-based/digital engineering across the value stream were critical highlights and success stories in winning the T-7A program.”

Career Highlights

2018-Present Senior Director, Program Integration Office, U.S. Air Force Advanced Pilot Training (T-7A) Program, Strike, Surveillance and Mobility, Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS)
2013-2018 Senior Director, Program Manager T-X Development, Strike, Surveillance and Mobility, BDS
2011-2013 Senior Director, Proprietary Programs, Phantom Works, BDS
2010-2011 Director, Program Manager – Proprietary Programs, Phantom Works, BDS
2007-2010 Director, Special Programs Phantom Works, BDS
2005-2007 Director of Air Vehicle Development, Joint Unmanned Combat Air System (U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy), BDS
1983-2005 Various roles including: Propulsion, Survivability, Propulsion Integration, Systems Engineering, Technology Integrator, System Integration, and Engineering Management, Boeing/McDonnell Douglas