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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives

Steve Parker

Chief Operating Officer

Boeing Defense, Space & Security

Location: St. Louis, MO

Founded: 1916

Industry: Aviation & Aerospace

In his role as chief operating officer for Boeing Defense, Space & Security, Steve Parker oversees 16,500 employees at Boeing’s St. Louis operations and leads the execution and business growth of a $6 billion portfolio of fighter and bomber weapon systems.

“What I do at Boeing and what Boeing does for our customers is to solve their hardest and most challenging problems,” Parker said. “And as it relates to me, the tougher the problem, the better. In order to tackle these challenges head-on, through close collaboration we must work closely with the customer to understand and identify their problem, then identify and validate proposed solutions and ultimately implement those solutions with complete transparency.”

Boeing is a leading global aerospace company that develops, manufactures and services commercial airplanes, defense products and space systems for customers in more than 150 countries.

Parker has helped bring to reality the first digitally designed and produced training jet for the United States Air Force. A typical aircraft is designed in 10 years; the T-7A Red Hawk trainer took 36 months. Quality in the build process has helped join the forward and aft fuselage in less than 30 minutes, which is 95% faster than a traditional join. This led to the company receiving Aviation Week magazine’s prestigious Game Changer award in 2019.

Parker had a vision to adapt this technology for use on legacy jets, not just newly designed jets. He challenged the F-15 team in St. Louis to convert the nose cone, wing and fuselage to a digital design, enabling faster and cleaner build times. This effort was also recognized by Aviation Week magazine’s Program Excellence Awards as the 2022 OEM Production winner.

“In short, Parker not only drives the execution of these programs, he has a major impact on the success of Boeing’s defense portfolio and a long-term significant impact on the St. Louis region,” Parker’s team said. “The modernization programs he oversees are complex, and he’s recognized by senior Boeing leadership for ensuring that production lines run lean, efficient and deliver first-time quality so Boeing meets its commitments to the Department of Defense.”

Parker led teams that built and maintained iconic aircraft around the globe, such as the C-17 Globemaster, F/A-18 Super Hornet, H-47 Chinook and F-15 Eagle. His ascension through the ranks from mechanic to COO is attributed to his focus on operational expertise, technical excellence, delivering first-time quality to customers and ability to lead and inspire large groups, Parker’s team said, adding, “If you ask him to sum up what he does best, his response is straightforward: fix things.”

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Did you know?

Parker enjoys music and has been a member of a heavy rock band. He also enjoys mountain biking in the St. Louis area and motor cross. Rock on!


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