Bob Rutherford — Mentor of the Year

Aerospace Consultant

Bob Rutherford is an independent defense aerospace consultant. His background includes over 40 years of engineering, business development, flight test, and program management in both the public and private sectors. Bob earned his B.S. in aerospace engineering from the University of Arizona before embarking on a 30-year career in carrier-based naval aviation flying operational light attack and strike fighter aircraft worldwide and is a veteran of several Southwest Asia campaigns. He is an experienced practitioner and has served as a senior leader in deployed naval combat operations, defense acquisition, and broad-spectrum aerospace systems development. As a former Navy test pilot, Bob has flown extensive developmental and operational flight test, particularly carrier suitability and weapons system integration and test. He is a graduate of the UK’s RAF Empire Test Pilot School. After retiring from the Navy, Bob joined the private sector and worked in the defense aerospace industry for 10 years where his focus was on military unmanned aerial systems (UAS) development & test, UAS airspace integration policy, and program management. He held leadership roles in Northrop Grumman’s Fire Scout, Triton and X-47B UAS programs. As an undergrad at the UA, Bob enjoyed activity in many student organizations including ASUA and Bobcats. Bob’s hobbies include skiing and other outdoor sports.  Bob remains active as a board member of several nonprofits and serves as a pro bono STEM tutor for local high school students in AP physics and calculus.

Top Goals for Mentoring:

  • Help mentees develop professional and life skills.
  • Help mentees grow their professional networks by making connections to others in my field.
  • Help mentees gain career skills for their industry of interest.