Shelley Lavender is senior vice president of Strike, Surveillance and Mobility (SSM), a division within Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS), and the St. Louis senior executive. SSM is one of the world’s largest providers of military airpower, serving the United States and allied nations, while continuing to expand globally with steady growth in international sales.
As senior vice president, Lavender manages execution and growth of a portfolio of strike-fighter, surveillance and mobility platforms including the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler, F-15 Eagle, P-8 Poseidon and executive fleet airplanes. She also leads the team responsible for the modernization and modification of several U.S. Department of Defense and international aircraft programs, including various surveillance and reconnaissance, head of state and bomber aircraft.
In addition to leading SSM, Lavender serves as the BDS Program Management leader and works across the enterprise to drive operational improvements leading to world class quality, safety and performance.
Prior to this role, Lavender led the former Boeing Military Aircraft organization within BDS, which included four divisions: Mobility, Surveillance and Engagement; Global Strike; Autonomous Systems; and Vertical Lift. She has also been the vice president and general manager of Integrated Logistics, focused on providing readiness and after-delivery support for a wide variety of military platforms and systems.
Earlier in her career, Lavender served as vice president and general manager of Global Strike, where she was responsible for the execution and growth of a portfolio of strike-fighter and attack helicopter platforms. Her other leadership positions include serving as the vice president/chief engineer for BMA and as program manager for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, where her responsibilities included all aspects of program performance including development and production. She was also the director of Tactical Aircraft Integrated Product Teams and the F/A-18 chief engineer.
Lavender began her aerospace engineering career at Hughes Aircraft Company in El Segundo, Calif., in 1986, as an engineer on the F-15 APG-70 radar program. She joined Boeing in 1988 as an avionics engineer. Over the years she has held a variety of positions of increasing responsibility, including program manager for the T-38 Avionics Upgrade Program and director of Tactical Aircraft Mission Systems in St. Louis.
Lavender holds a Bachelor of Science in computer engineering from the University of Illinois and received a Master’s in Business Administration from Washington University in St. Louis. In recognition of her career achievements, Lavender has been named a distinguished alumna of the Washington University Olin Business School. She is a member of Civic Progress, an organization of the top business leaders in St. Louis who are working to improve the community and business life of the region. Lavender serves on the National Council for the Washington University Olin Business School, the board of directors for The Magic House children’s museum in St. Louis, and the board of commissioners for the St. Louis Science Center. She also served on the board of directors for The United Way of Greater St. Louis.