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Lisa H. Finneran

Headshot of Lisa Finneran at her desk

B.S., Computer Science, 1985
Induction year: 2022

Lisa H. Finneran grew up with a love for math and science. When it came to deciding where to attend college, she knew she wanted to explore engineering, and she knew Virginia Tech was an “engineering powerhouse.” 

Throughout her time at Virginia Tech, Finneran was active in the Department of Computer Science and led the Virginia Tech Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) as president. ACM is an organization that she is still a member of to this day. Finneran recognizes the continued value of her Virginia Tech education, as well. 

“The foundation of math and science and computer science fundamentals continues to play an important part of my journey,” said Finneran.

Finneran has worked at General Dynamics Mission Systems for nearly 20 years, most recently as vice president of engineering. “I live in the Washington, D.C., area and when 9/11 occurred, it changed the trajectory of my career,” Finneran said. “In working for a defense aerospace organization, our product accomplishments help with the safety and security of our nation every day.”

In 2022, Finneran was recognized with the Department of Computer Science’s Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes outstanding achievements and contributions in research and/or practice. She has served on Virginia Tech advisory boards at both the college and department level, as well as being a member of the Virginia Tech President’s National Capital Region Leadership Council. 

Current town:
Chantilly, VA

Professional roles:

  • Vice President, Engineering, General Dynamics Mission Systems, 2018-present
  • Vice President, Strategic Systems, General Dynamics Mission Systems, 2014-2018
  • Shipboard Systems Director, General Dynamics Mission Systems, 2006-2014
  • Director of Engineering, General Dynamics Mission Systems, 2004-2006
  • Director of Integration, General Dynamics Mission Systems, 2003-2004
  • Senior Vice President and Chief Technical Officer, Software Productivity Consortium, 1999-2003
  • Vice President and Chief Technical Officer, Software Productivity Consortium, 1997-1999
  • Director, Technical Operations, Software Productivity Consortium, 1997
  • Manager, Engineering Software Intensive Systems, Software Productivity Consortium, 1995-1997
  • Member, Technical Staff, Softech, Inc., 1988-1995

Corporate board roles:

  • Chair, General Dynamics Engineering and Technology Council, current
  • Executive Co-Sponsor, General Dynamics Mission Systems Organization for Women Advancement, Recognition and Development, current 
  • Member, Virginia Tech President’s National Capital Region Leadership Council, 1 year 
  • Member, Virginia Tech Computer Science Advisory Panel, 3 years
  • Member, Virginia Tech Engineering Advisory Panel, 3 years
  • Member, Board of Regents for the Strategic Deterrent Coalition, 3 years

Professional awards:

  • Computer Science Distinguished Alumni Award, Virginia Tech – April 2022
  • Annual Corporate Large Market Winner, Women in Technology – 2020
  • Speaker Appreciation Award, Dyncorp Executive Forum – October 2000

Who influenced you during your career and/or time at Virginia Tech?
The entire Computer Science department - so many awesome professors - Dr. Kafura, Dr. Henry, Dr. Fox, Dr. Arthur - just to name a few!

What led you to your chosen profession?
Loved math and science and software in particular was becoming more and more prevalent in everything we do! Who knew 40 years ago that software and computing platforms would be in everything - from coffee makers to deep space applications.

How have you utilized your Virginia Tech degree in your career?
Absolutely. I started my career developing software for US Navy platforms. The foundation of math and science and computer science fundamentals continues to play an important part of my journey.

What advice would you share with your younger self just starting off in your career?
Do not be afraid to take the next step in your career. I always took the next step but I was always afraid I wasn't ready.

What charitable organizations do you currently support and why?
Susan G Komen for the Cure, American Heart Association, and National Brain Tumor Society - all have directly impacted me personally.

Is there a current college initiative that you are passionate about and would like to see it have success?
Love capstone projects and any initiative that helps connect students to industry.

Please note: Inductee spotlight is as of their year of their induction.