Four-star United States Air Force General Joe Lengyel was the keynote speaker for a University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Haslam College of Business event on Thursday, April 6.
Lengyel (ADMBA, ’11) spoke to nearly 100 people at the Aerospace and Defense Advisory Board welcome dinner at Club LeConte. As chief of the National Guard Bureau, the general commands the approximately 450,000 Army and Air National Guard service members in the U.S. and is one of the seven Joint Chiefs of Staff members.
The Aerospace and Defense Advisory Board is comprised of 20 leaders from top government and private industry employers. Students in the college’s Aerospace and Defense MBA class of 2017, university professors, military members and veterans from across campus also were in attendance.
“I was fortunate in that I was able to apply what I learned here at UT when I returned to the National Guard,” Lengyel told guests. “I wrote a paper on how to improve how we manage the careers of our most senior military leaders using innovative techniques from the business world. It was a pretty good paper. The best part was that I was able to introduce those practices when I got back to the Guard and we’re using them today. I want more of our future Guard leaders to be able to take advantage of the kind of education that I got here.”
Jim Wansley, director of the Aerospace and Defense MBA program, said that having the general back was an honor for the program. “It was great to see Joe return to share his insights on national security and explain how his learning at Haslam helped prepare him for his vital responsibilities at the Pentagon,” Wansley said.
Andy White, director of Haslam’s Aerospace and Defense Business Institute, pointed out that the college serves hundreds of rising aerospace and defense leaders every year.
“They are doing great things with the knowledge they gain in our program,” White said. “It’s great whenever they can come back and share their experiences and perspective with our current students and faculty members.”
Read more about the general in his official Air Force biography.
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The Aerospace and Defense Business Institute includes UT’s broad portfolio of business education, training and research programs for the industry. Nearly 350 of the industry’s top leaders have graduated from the Aerospace and Defense MBA program. Thousands more have participated in the college’s executive education short courses. Haslam professors have done significant research work to improve business processes and outcomes for the industry. The institute is working with aerospace and defense employers to place UT students into internships and careers in the industry.