Stephen Welby ChE’87

Stephen Welby is the Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. IEEE and its members inspire a global community to innovate for a better tomorrow with more than 423,000 members in over 160 countries, and through its highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities. IEEE is the trusted “voice” for engineering, computing, and technology around the globe.

Prior to joining IEEE, in 2015 Stephen was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the US Senate as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering.  In this role, he served as the chief technology officer for the U.S. Department of Defense, leading one of the largest and most complex research, development, and engineering organizations in the world. As ASD(R&E), Mr. Welby was responsible for the Department’s strategies and supporting plans to develop and leverage the technologies needed to protect U.S. national security. He oversaw matters ranging from investments in basic science and capability prototyping to research and engineering at the Department’s laboratories, promoted coordination and cooperation across the DoD and with other federal and non-federal agencies and organizations, and ensured technical exchange with allied and friendly nations.  He oversaw a $12.5B annual investment portfolio, managed internal and collaborative research and engineering efforts, drove a culture that valued innovation, and supported the department’s global technical engagement.

Prior to this role, Mr. Welby had been appointed by the President to serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Engineering, developing policy for and overseeing the efforts of the world’s largest engineering workforce. Mr. Welby was the department’s senior engineer for all non-construction development efforts, overseeing design reviews for major investments in aviation, space systems, surface vessels and submarines, land vehicles, communications systems, major software developments

Stephen has more than three decades of government and industrial experience in technology and product development, including senior leadership positions at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).  His technical experience at DARPA includes development of leading edge aeronautical and space systems, robotics, machine learning systems, high-performance software, and novel sensor systems. Among other efforts, Mr. Welby led teams supporting autonomous air and land vehicles (including support for the DARPA grand challenge self-driving vehicle prize competitions), supported the NASA-DoD Orbital Express On-Orbit Servicing demonstration mission and oversaw the efforts that led to the first successful US commercial orbital space launch (the SpaceX Falcon One).

Stephen holds a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, a masters degree in business administration from the Texas A&M University, a masters degree in computer science from The Johns Hopkins University and a masters degree in applied mathematics from The Johns Hopkins University.

Mr. Welby is the recipient of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service (the highest award that is presented by the US Secretary of Defense to a private citizen), the Secretary of Defense Exceptional Public Service Award, the Secretary of Defense Exceptional Civilian Service Award, the Department of the Army Achievement Medal for Civilian Service and NDIA Lieutenant General Thomas Ferguson Jr Award for Individual Excellence in Systems Engineering.

He is a fellow of the IEEE. He is the 2021 recipient of the CUAA Gano Dunn Award.