Don Winter

Honorable Donald C. Winter

Honorable Donald C. Winter

Professor of Engineering Practice
  • Donald C. Winter is Professor of Engineering Practice at the University of Michigan. He served as the 74th Secretary of the Navy from January 2006 to March 2009. Previously, Dr. Winter held multiple positions in the aerospace and defense industry as a systems engineer, program manager and corporate executive. Dr. Winter received a doctorate in physics from the University of Michigan in 1972. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 2002, and was the chair of the NAE committee that investigated the Deepwater Horizon incident for the Secretary of the Interior.

    His first position in industry was with TRW Systems where he was mentored by Simon Ramo, one of the founders of TRW, and a principle developer of the construct of systems engineering across engineering and non-engineering domains. After this, Prof. Winter became involved in a wide range of activities including satellite systems, large information technology programs, and ship building activities.

    Throughout his career, many of the issues and challenges associated with the development of very large systems and very complex products have illustrated the need for systems engineering, and he uses many of these as examples in class. As Secretary of the Navy he reviewed many different ongoing development programs such as ships, air craft, and IT systems and found that the programs that used a reasonably developed engineering systems approach were doing far better than those in which the process was short circuited or ignored entirely.

    Professor Winter talks about his long career in systems engineering and its importance in modern engineering education.