Lockheed Martin Corporation
Vice President and Managing Director of Missile Defense
CLASS OF 1965
David Kier wanted to fly from the time he was in high school. As soon as I was old enough to take flight lessons, I began doing odd jobs around the neighborhood so that I could earn money to learn, he says. It is no surprise that he joined the U.S. Army reserves with hopes of becoming a pilot, but due to his below par eyesight, he was prevented from flying for the military. Still wanting to be involved in flight, he joined NASA and moved into the business of flight testing. He concluded his 35-year national service career by serving concurrently as the deputy director of the National Reconnaissance Office and principal deputy assistant secretary of the air force for space. He has since moved on to the private sector, joining Lockheed Martin in 2001, where he is now vice president and managing director of missile defense. (Unfortunately, most of his major achievements are classified!)
Kier is an entrepreneur who enjoys discovering innovative ways to provide for national protection through new and existing technologies. Most recently, he has been working on Lockheed Martin's huge airships, which some day may hover, without tethers, for more than three months at a time to provide radar coverage of missile approaches to the United States. Through this work with Lockheed Martin, Kier has the potential to influence American international policy as well as that of other countries.
While working with the intelligence community, Kier says that he must always have a critical eye. I heard a lot when I was in intelligence, a lot of information that was non-factual or just speculation, he says. It caused me to think critically before making a decision. According to Kier, critical thinking is the most important skill that one can learn a skill that is taught effectively at Washington & Jefferson College. W&J professors are incredibly knowledgeable in their field, enjoy interacting with the students, and are demanding but fair, explains Kier.