Paul Clawson has two favorite places to be: Alaska and Florida. His short list, honed after 20 years with the U.S. Air Force and 14 years with Boeing, embodies who Clawson is and what he loves — variety and challenge.
“My favorite thing about my current position is every day brings something new,” Clawson said. “I view new challenges as opportunities to succeed. That’s what keeps me going.”
Clawson serves as Boeing site leader at Fort Greely, Alaska, a U.S. Army garrison for “America’s Arctic Warriors.” He oversees all company operations at the site, working with customers and teams across Boeing to ensure the safety and quality of the products and services Boeing delivers for programs such as Ground-based Midcourse Defense, or GMD.
A self-proclaimed nomad, Clawson said his journey to Alaska, and to his current position, came with multiple stops along the way. Starting his career as an Air Force aircraft maintenance technician, Clawson lived in places including England and Florida before spending his final eight years of military service in Anchorage, Alaska.
“Landing in Alaska in December after coming from a warm Florida November was quite a shock to the system for my wife, two sons and me,” Clawson said. “This was a time my perspective on challenges came into play. I knew we would figure it out and grow to appreciate it.”
Trading in water skis for snow skis, the Clawson family embraced their new location, learning to love the outdoors even when, as Clawson described, “the weather is less than ideal.”
When Clawson chose to retire from the military in 2008, he set his eyes on the next adventure.
“I talked to an HR recruiter at Boeing, and he asked if I was open to relocation,” Clawson said. “I told him I was up for the challenge.”
With that, Clawson accepted a position across the country in Huntsville, Alabama, as a support planning and management analyst for Boeing’s Missile and Weapon Systems division.
“I call those my steady years,” Clawson said. “My wife and I put our nomad ways on hold until after our sons graduated high school.”
With his nest at home empty, Clawson heard Boeing was seeking a temporary leader for their Alaska sites and eagerly volunteered. Soon after, he found himself leading Fort Greely and other Boeing Alaska sites through the COVID-19 pandemic’s early stages.
“I reminded myself that even though this was a significant challenge, it was also an opportunity to keep people safe and the warfighter mission-ready,” Clawson said.
Working with Boeing’s Government Operations team and various Alaska agencies, Clawson helped create the regional Boeing health plan and submit it to the Alaska governor’s office. He worked directly with each of the agencies to ensure the program, mission and warfighter remained successful throughout the pandemic.
“In my career with the Air Force and now Boeing, I’ve always known what I do matters to a very important mission — protecting this country and its warfighters,” said Clawson. “The mission is why I’m here, and it’s what I work to protect.”
What was supposed to be a temporary assignment became a permanent position, and Clawson relocated to Alaska — for now.
“I love it here, but my wife and I agree that we need to see more of the U.S.,” Clawson said. “We’ll spend the first part of my retirement driving our RV around the country and exploring.”
As for the second part of his retirement? Clawson plans to spend time with his grandson and take on his biggest challenge yet: settling in one place.
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By Sarah Powers