C. Douglas Ebersole
Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
For his extraordinary career in technical, policy and managerial leadership, and his accomplishments in weapon systems efforts for the U.S. Air Force
Ask Douglas Ebersole what he loves most about his job, and he will proudly tell you, "the mission of the Air Force."
"It's seeing the impact that we can have on our war fighters," Ebersole says. "In the Air Force Research Lab we provide the emerging technologies for our airmen. Our job is to make sure they never enter a mission with a fair fight."
An accomplished member of the Senior Executive Service in the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), Ebersole is executive director of the lab at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. He has served in a variety of roles, holding titles that range from lead flight technology engineer and platform integration team lead, to chief and director of engineering for numerous programs. Before assuming his current position, he led the Air Force's science and technology program in propulsion, power, and air vehicles for advanced next-generation space, missile and aircraft applications. He oversaw a workforce of 1,800 from military, civilian and contractor areas, and an annual budget of nearly $700 million.
Reflecting on why he chose his profession, Ebersole says he discovered his love for flying at a young age — acquiring his student pilot's license before he even had a driver's license. And for this lover of aircraft, choosing Purdue Engineering was a "no-brainer" — it was actually the only school to which he applied. He credits Purdue's "demanding" program with helping teach discipline and preparation, along with the value of hard work.
"It has an expansive curriculum," he says. "It allowed me to establish a foundation, but also a niche in the 'aero' domain so I could be a little step ahead of the other people coming out of college."
He mentions that he always felt as though he had full access to faculty and that they always put students first. As mentors, he specifically calls out Professor George Palmer, "a legend"; Professor Winthrop Gustafson, "who provided more mentorship outside of the classroom than inside"; and Professor John Sullivan, whom he still sees a couple times each year.
Some of Ebersole's most prominent Purdue memories include showing up to class in the dead of winter in a T-shirt and shorts because he lived just across the street from Grissom Hall. He also recalls fondly the all-night Euchre tournaments with his fraternity brothers, and starting a life with his wife, whom he wed during their junior year.
However, the real benefit of being a Boilermaker, he says, came after graduation.
"There's such a strong family in both accomplishment and numbers," he says. "I can't go to one engineering event where I don't run into at least one Purdue engineer. It binds you together."
Ebersole also serves as the Department of Defense's liaison to the Steering Advisory Council for the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics — established to identify needs and opportunities of the aerospace sector and explore how Purdue can contribute and lead in addressing these needs with curricula and programs for generations of students to come.
|2015-present||Executive Director, Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB), Ohio|
|2013-2015||Director, Aerospace Systems Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, WPAFB|
|2010-2013||Director of Engineering, Joint Strike Fighter Program Office, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Arlington, Virginia|
|2007-2010||Director of Engineering, 478th Aeronautical Systems Wing (F-22), Aeronautical Systems Center, WPAFB|
|2004-2007||Chief Engineer, F-22 SPO, Aeronautical Systems Center, WPAFB|
|2003-2004||Chief, Special Test Mission Division, Directorate of Operations, Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command, WPAFB|
|1999-2003||Chief Engineer, Aeronautical Enterprise Program Office, Aeronautical Systems Center, WPAFB|
|1998-1999||Deputy Director of Engineering and Mission Systems Integrated Product Team Lead, Joint Strike Fighter Support Office, Aeronautical Systems Center, WPAFB|
|1996-1998||Platform Integration Team Lead, Joint Airborne Signals Intelligence Program Office, Aeronautical Systems Center, WPAFB|
|1982-1996||Numerous assignments in Air Force systems program offices, Aeronautical Systems Division (ASD), WPAFB|
|2001||MBA, Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
|1987||MSAE, University of Dayton|
|1982||BSAAE, Purdue University|