Former secretary of Navy speaks with engineering students

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Gordon England, former secretary of the Navy, spoke to students in the Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M University on the importance of ethics in engineering and business. England spoke to Dr. Ben Zoghi’s Engineering Leadership – Emotional Intelligence class on Nov. 19.

“He has done a remarkable job from an engineering perspective,” Zoghi stated. “He brings a wealth of knowledge from a technology standpoint with a local, national and global perspective. We are honored to have him with us.”

secnav2.jpgAfter retiring from his prolific career in industry and government, England now spends his time advising small businesses and lecturing to university students. He works with students to help develop the next generation of leaders and to help them understand the legacy each will leave behind in their lives.

During the lecture, England stressed the importance of engineering students having “soft skills” to advance in their careers. He said the technical skills are taught in college and those will continue to be developed during the course of a career, but the “soft skills” will make the difference. He described the “soft skills” as interpersonal communications and having a strong moral and ethical stance.

England wove stories from his childhood and his career into his lecture to emphasize and demonstrate how his ethical compass helped him through difficult situations and in building respect in industry. He talked on being honest with his employees and treating everyone with dignity. England provided guidance to students on how to maintain their ethical stance with his personal ethics test, “would you be proud to tell your mom/spouse/boss about it?”

“Jobs and careers will change 20 times in your lifetime; the landscape will change,” England stated, “but the principles and core values are constant.”

England served as the 29th Deputy Secretary of Defense from January 2006 to February 2009. Prior to that he was the 72nd and 73rd Secretary of the Navy and the first Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

England served as executive vice president of General Dynamics Corporation from 1997 until 2001 and prior to that he served as executive vice president of the Combat Systems Group, president of General Dynamics Fort Worth aircraft company (later Lockheed), president of General Dynamics Land Systems Company and as the principal of a mergers and acquisition consulting company.

England graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and earned a master’s degree in business administration from the M.J. Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University.