Former US Navy Deputy Secretary of Defense teaches engineering students about ethics and leadership
Gordan England, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense and Secretary of the Navy, recently visited Texas A&M University to give a lecture on ethics and the principles of leadership to engineering students in the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution.
England served in the George W. Bush administration from 2003-09. He received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1961 and a Master of Business Administration from Texas Christian University in 1975. In addition to his government service, England had a very successful career as an electrical engineer. He started out working on the Project Gemini space program with Honeywell in 1966, and later served as executive vice president of General Dynamics as well as president of Lockheed Fort Worth Co.
England provided insightful anecdotes spanning his career in business and government on defining leadership, best leadership practices and leading technical teams effectively. The most important lesson, England stressed, is understanding that leadership is based on strong moral character and a consistent set of ethics, such as the Aggie core values.
“You cannot be a leader unless you are ethical,” said England. “You have to be ethical all the time, not just at work. You have to make that the touchstone of your life; otherwise, you are not going to be successful.”
England went on to share his personal code of honors: “Never embarrass your mother” and “Be forthright, honest and direct with everyone in every circumstance.” He also shared his 15 principles of leadership. Highlights from his list include providing an environment for every person to excel; improving effectiveness to gain efficiency; encouraging constructive criticism; and being forthright, honest and direct with every person in every circumstance.
At the conclusion of England’s lecture, Dr. Ben Zoghi, Electronic Systems Engineering Technology (ESET) faculty and professor of the engineering leadership class, facilitated an in-depth Q&A with the students and England.