Byron Risner

Byron Risner

Programs: Aerospace & Defense

Title: Director of Aerospace & Defense Partnerships

Byron Risner is the director of Aerospace & Defense Partnerships for the Haslam School of Business at the University of Tennessee. In this role, Risner is responsible for establishing and maintaining partnerships with both commercial and DoD organizations for Graduate and Executive Education.

Before coming to UT, Risner was the director of business development for Leonardo Electronics US, a U.S. subsidiary of the Leonardo Company located in Arlington, Virginia. There, he was responsible for the strategy, capture and execution for Leonardo’s Avionics and Security Assistance Services lines of business in the United States.

For 10 years, Risner led the company’s effort in conducting DoD and commercial avionics sales and support within the U.S. With an avionics portfolio of over 45 products, he managed programs worth over $45 million that include the CV-22, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, E-2C/D and T-6 aircraft. He also served as the focal point for all SGI security assistance solutions supporting U.S. programs for domestic and international customers. He led the team that established the first operational unmanned aerial system site for the United Nations at Goma airport, Democratic Republic of Congo.

Prior to SGI, Risner served as senior analyst and site lead for Alion Science and Technology. In this position, he provided subject matter expertise in the integration of air-ground operations. He played a key role in the stand-up of the 93rd Air Ground Operations Wing at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, the Air Force wing developed to support Joint Force Commanders and Army operations. Risner honorably served in the U.S. Air Force for 26 years, retiring with the rank of colonel. He accumulated relevant program experience as an Air Force operational F-4E/F-15E aviator, fighter weapons school Instructor, staff officer and air liaison officer. He has extensive joint service experience and commanded at the Detachment, Squadron and Group level.

Byron holds a bachelor’s degree in management from the University of South Florida, a master’s degree in Human Resource Management Systems from Chapman University, a master’s degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College and an Aerospace & Defense MBA from the University of Tennessee. His military education includes Air Command and Staff College, Air War College and U.S. Army War College. He enjoys flying as a private pilot, shooting sports and University of Tennessee football.