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Robert J. Hanley

Robert Hanley

B.S., Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, 1979

Hanley always loved airplanes as a kid growing up in New York, he said, particularly the F-4 Phantom and the Boeing 747. After studying aerospace engineering at Virginia Tech, he decided to work on fighter aircraft for the Navy, beginning a career in the Department of Defense and U.S. Navy that would span nearly four decades, the last of which Hanley spent as director for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Airworthiness and Cyberspace Directorate. Hanley now serves as the vice president of cyber and engineering systems at Sabre Systems.

Hanley described his time at Virginia Tech as “immensely” impactful. “I used what I learned — and still do — every day in my career working in the Department of Defense and Navy aviation,” he said. “Because of my degree, I eventually became the guy who certified the flight safety and airworthiness of all 4,000-plus Navy and Marine Corps aircraft.”

Hanley has served on the boards of organizations including the National Airworthiness Council and the Joint Academic, Industry, and Government Cyber Focus Group, as chair for both groups. A personal highlight for Hanley was receiving the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award, their highest honor for a civilian, in 2009. He has also served as a member of the Kevin T. Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering advisory board at Virginia Tech since 1996.