W. Ted Torgerson
Senior Director, Program Integration Office,
U.S. Air Force Advanced Pilot Training (T-7A)
Program, Strike, Surveillance and Mobility,
Boeing Defense, Space & Security
The Boeing Company
For his consummate guidance leading multiple global teams in the development of advanced, next generation key military air vehicle technologies for the United States Air Force and Boeing.
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 four 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.”
Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality.”
Senior Director, Program Integration Office, U.S. Air Force
Advanced Pilot Training (T-7A) Program, Strike, Surveillance and
Mobility, Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS)
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|
Director of Air Vehicle Development, Joint Unmanned Combat Air
System (U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy), BDS
Various roles including: Propulsion, Survivability, Propulsion
Integration, Systems Engineering, Technology Integrator, System
Integration, and Engineering Management, Boeing/McDonnell Douglas
|1983||BSAAE, Purdue University|
|1991||MS Engineering Management, Washington University St. Louis|