Alabamians who live in Huntsville know it’s not unusual for their neighbors, friends and other folks they meet around town to have the letters Ph.D behind their names and work in engineering, defense, tech and science fields that have helped the city earn its reputation as the smartest city in Alabama.
One of those Huntsville-area Ph.Ds is Patti Dare of Boeing, who earned her doctorate in chemistry from the University of South Florida. She now leads global sales and marketing for the company’s Strategic Deterrent Systems business, which includes its Minuteman programs, the Boeing Guidance Repair Center, Ground Based Strategic Deterrence (GBSD), and other intercontinental ballistic missile efforts, according to the company.
Dare, a 2018 Yellowhammer Woman of Impact, led the successful campaign to win one of the two government contracts awarded this past August to design and develop the next generation of ICBMs to replace the Minuteman system.
The project has brought hundreds of new jobs to Alabama and will continue to grow over the projected 50-year life of the program, according to company materials.
“I am so humbled and honored to have the opportunity to help protect our nation and lead this campaign … which will bring high wage, high tech, clean industry jobs to Alabama,” Dare said in a statement about the contract. “This mission is so critical to our generation and the generations to come – we need to get the best capability into the warfighter’s hands as quickly as possible and affordably. I am up for the challenge with this very talented government, Boeing and industry team.”
Dare’s diverse industry experience at various corporations is an asset, considering her responsibilities include “leveraging capabilities, expertise and resources” not just within Boeing but across the industry, according to a company bio.
Before joining Boeing, Dare was chief operating officer for Davidson Technologies, where she was responsible for programs in missiles, aerospace, cybersecurity and intelligence markets, as well as company growth and overall strategic vision.
Dare also served as a program director at Lockheed Martin, and among other achievements and responsibilities she was “responsible for the design, build, test and launch of targets and countermeasures supporting the Missile Defense Agency with 100% mission success,” the bio says.
Dare began her career at Honeywell International as a senior materials engineer and progressed to the positions of program manager for missile activities and business development manager for missiles and interceptors and special programs.
Dare credits her successful career trajectory to education, setting high goals and the people who helped her along the way.
“I had great mentors, coaches, people willing to take a chance on me, and an awesome support structure with family and friends,” Dare told Yellowhammer News. “I was very blessed having an encouraging and supportive family.”
Dare was born in Ohio and was the middle child between two brothers in a family that moved frequently for her father’s career.
When asked about leading as a woman in her industry, Dare said she’s learned some important lessons.
“Focus on the mission and the positive,” she said. “You need to gain respect. Relationships and communication are key. Asking for help is okay. Be yourself. Little things can make a big difference, and it’s not always about you or your career.”
Dare, who serves on the board for the U.S. Space & Rocket Center Education Foundation and on the University of Alabama in Huntsville engineering board, said the best life and work advice she could give is to try to find work-life balance, to mentor and help others, and to address problems “head-on.”
“Find things that make you happy,” she said. “Take time to think and reflect, find people you admire, respect and want to learn from, and share your lessons learned.”
Dare will be among 20 Alabama women, including Gov. Kay Ivey, honored in a March 29 awards event in Birmingham that will benefit Big Oak Ranch. Event details and registration may be found here.