Boeing’s Chuck Dabundo ’84 Named 2018 Engineering Leader of the Year

Chuck Dabundo
Chuck Dabundo ’84

The College of Engineering bestowed its Engineering Leader of the Year (ELOY) award on alumnus Chuck Dabundo ’84 last week during its annual ceremony with 125 university leaders, trustees, faculty, alumni, and friends in attendance.

Among those delivering remarks at The Union League was President John Fry, who said the College’s signature award is “one way we proudly highlight Drexel’s long tradition of excellence in engineering education.” He added that Dabundo’s accomplishments “are shaped by a deep commitment to innovation and its transformative societal impact.”

Dabundo is Vice President and Program Manager of Cargo Helicopter Programs at the Boeing Company, where he leads production and modernization efforts for US Army and Special Operations Forces Chinook programs both here and in 20 countries. Previous to that role, Dabundo served as Vice President and Chief Engineer for Boeing Military Aircraft, where he led engineering across all BMA platforms.

Dabundo graduated Drexel with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. He went on to earn his MS in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering from Princeton University. Dabundo serves on the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics Industrial Advisory Board here at CoE.  In addition, he is on the board of the American Helicopter Museum and Education Center, and is a member of the Association of the United States Army and the American Helicopter Society. He is married to Kathy Dabundo, whom he met while they were both students at CoE. The couple have four children.

“The evening was a great success and represented the qualities we value most in our engineers as demonstrated by Chuck’s leadership, innovation, and creative problem solving,” said CoE’s Interim Dean Giuseppe Palmese of the event.

Chuck Dabundo ’84 with President John Fry and Interim Dean Giuseppe Palmese
Chuck Dabundo ’84 (center) with President John Fry and Interim Dean Giuseppe Palmese.

“As the face of Boeing’s Chinook program, Chuck deals with many constituencies, from the US government to army personnel to clients here and in the 20 countries that use Boeing products. They expect the latest technology married to the best performance. Chuck embodies that leadership,” Palmese added. “In his own speech, Chuck directed his comments to the people that the technology affects. He offered three vignettes that showed his commitment to curiosity, his attention to the operational safety of the Chinook systems, and his passion for his job.”

One of those vignettes became a highlight of the evening, as Dabundo told the story of a Chinook that was deployed to rescue a group of school children who had gotten lost in the mountains of Colorado while on a school field trip.

CoE also singled out undergraduate Molly Cuka of the Pennoni Honors College as the year’s rising young engineer. Cuka is pursuing her BS in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Business Administration. She is completing her third co-op with the Boeing Company, where she works on the V-22 Osprey program.

For the past 15 years, the College of Engineering has been selecting for the ELOY award an individual who exemplifies excellence in his or her field. The winner must demonstrate leadership in the development of technology-based solutions to societal problems, and serve as an example of outstanding achievement for current and future generations of engineers.

The ELOY event also serves as a fundraiser for CoE. This year, it raised over $100,000 for the Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics Design Fund.

The Boeing Company and Lockheed Martin were Honor Level Sponsors for the evening.

As the 2018 ELOY Award winner, Dabundo joins a list of distinguished CoE alumni. Among them are 2017 recipient C.R. “Chuck” Pennoni, 2016 recipient Philip Rinaldi, 2009 recipient Chris Ferguson, and 2006 recipient Robert Koerner, all of whom attended this year’s ceremony.