Scott Fancher

Senior Vice President and General Manager, Airplane Development, Boeing Commercial Airplanes
BSEE '81

For his tremendous responsibility as a top executive at the largest aerospace company in the world and his efforts to provide Purdue engineering students valuable professional experience at The Boeing Company

Scott Fancher's journey with Purdue has come full circle. A generation after being recruited by McDonnell Douglas as an electrical engineering undergraduate in 1977, he now takes time to recruit at Purdue for The Boeing Company.

"For the last couple of years I've put an effort into being on campus once or twice a year," he says. "We have an accelerated hiring program that gives students on-the-spot offers early in the fall, then we bring them here to Puget Sound where they choose where in the company they want to work. We had 27 Purdue recruits this year — more than from any other university."

As part of his extensive experience and responsibilities at Boeing, he sees the importance of continuing to bring in new talent through these recruiting efforts. As senior vice president and general manager of airplane development, he leads the design, development, testing and certification of Boeing's next generation of commercial airplanes, including the 737 MAX, 767 Tanker, 777X, and 787-10. During more than 35 years with Boeing, he has worked in many product categories including commercial aircraft, tactical aircraft, airborne reconnaissance, missile defense, spacecraft, launch vehicles, advanced electro-optics and communication systems development.

Fancher has been with Boeing since long before its 1996 merger with McDonnell Douglas.

"I first joined the company while it was still McDonnell Douglas as a co-op engineer," Fancher says. "When I was choosing a college, I wanted a top-notch co-op program, which Purdue had."

While on campus between his co-op semesters, one course in particular challenged Fancher in a way he says he'll never forget.

"EE 440 is seared into my brain," he says. "It was the hardest undergraduate course I took. It provided great insight into statistical communication theory — an area I was interested in. It gave me the bug for that area of electrical engineering."

That fascination combined with his drive to achieve contributed to Fancher's long-sustained success.

"Purdue really prepared me well to deal with highly complex issues," he says. "The key to success, I believe, is the ability to manage a very complex environment and to navigate through that complexity to find solutions."

"System thinking is key. I've worked in every product line we have at Boeing and have very seldom had two jobs in a row in one product line. My ability to navigate that began at Purdue."

Career Highlights

2012-present Senior Vice President and General Manager, Airplane Development, Boeing Commercial Airplanes
2012 Vice President and General Manager, 777 and 777X Programs, Boeing Commercial Airplanes
2008–2012 Vice President and General Manager, 787 Program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes
2007–2008 Vice President and General Manager, Boeing Missile Defense System, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems
1977–2007 Various positions, The Boeing Company
1992 MBA, Washington University
1984 MSEE, Washington University
1981 BSEE, Purdue University