2012 ENE Outstanding Alumni Awards

Rick Kosdrosky


Program Manager, Special Projects, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program   Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company

RICK KOSDROSKY ENROLLED AT PURDUE on an Air Force ROTC scholarship, combining interests in aviation and electronics that he’d developed during his childhood in Cleveland, Ohio. He had become both a pilot and a ham radio operator during his high school years, and expected to serve as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force after completing his degree in electrical engineering.
Drawn to learn more about software (the School of Electrical Engineering’s computer-related curriculum was very hardware-oriented at that time), Kosdrosky met with Professor Dick Grace, then head of Interdisciplinary Engineering, and discovered that he could tailor-make
a major in IDE that better suited his interests. He made the switch from electrical engineering, becoming the first student to pursue a computer engineering degree through IDE.
Outside the classroom, Kosdrosky was an oarsman on the Purdue Crew and became president of the Purdue Sports Car Club. (To this day, he says, he’s completely consumed with racing cars. He is a multi-time amateur road-racing champion.)
As the Vietnam War wound down, the need for pilots diminished, and on graduating Kosdrosky began a career in the defense industry, specifically developing avionics for military airplanes. After working on the F-18 Hornet fighter aircraft at McDonnell Douglas, he joined General Dynamics as a software design engineer and remained with the organization after it was acquired by Lockheed Martin. In his current role as Program Manager for Special Projects on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program, he directs the incorporation of advanced technologies on the United States’ next-generation stealth fighter aircraft for the Navy, Air Force, Marines, and allies.
Kosdrosky serves on the board of directors for Purdue’s Engineering Alumni Association and on the industrial advisory council for the School of Engineering Education. As Lockheed Martin’s corporate relations liaison to Purdue, he is a familiar face on campus in recruiting
and relationship development activities.