Mr. David W. Thompson (MS '78)
Dave Thompson was president and CEO of Orbital ATK Inc., and co-founder of one of its predecessors, Orbital Sciences Corporation.
Before its sale to Northrop Grumman in 2018, Orbital ATK was a Fortune 500 global aerospace and defense systems company with annual revenues over $5 billion and a workforce of 14,000 employees. The company developed and manufactured launch vehicles and rocket propulsion systems, missile products and armament systems, and satellites and related space systems for government, commercial, and international customers.
Before co-founding Orbital in 1982, Thompson was special assistant to the president of Hughes Aircraft Company's Missile Systems Group and was a project manager and engineer on advanced rocket engines at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. As a college student, he worked on the first Mars landing missions at JPL and on space shuttle projects at NASA's Langley Research Center and Johnson Space Center.
As a result of his work at Orbital, Thompson was awarded the National Medal of Technology, was honored as Virginia's Industrialist of the Year, and received the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum Trophy. He was also awarded the International von Kármán Wings Award by the Aerospace Historical Society.
Thompson is an honorary fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and served as its president from 2009 to 2010. He is also a fellow of the American Astronautical Society and Royal Aeronautical Society, and is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and the International Academy of Astronautics.
He received a bachelor's degree in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT, a master's degree in aeronautics from Caltech, and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He was honored with Caltech's Distinguished Alumni Award and Harvard's Alumni Achievement Award.
Standing Committees: Executive, chair; Advancement and Institute Relations; Audit, Compliance and Risk; Executive Compensation; Finance, Facilities, and Infrastructure; Governance and Nominating; Investment; Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Student Experience; and Technology Transfer and Innovation