In 1972, she graduated with honors from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in systems engineering. She was one of two women in her class. This month she was honored for her life achievements, heralded for shattering glass ceilings, and inducted into the Washington Business Hall of Fame.
As the president and CEO of BAE Systems, Linda Hudson is the first woman to run a major corporation in the defense industry. BAE is a global, U.S.-based company with approximately 40,000 employees and $12.75 billion in annual revenue. Before joining BAE, Hudson was officer and vice president of the General Dynamics Corporation. She began her career with the Harris Corporation and Ford Aerospace, leading organizations at Martin Marietta through the Lockheed Martin merger. Along her history-making assent into defense industry leadership, Hudson held a variety of senior management positions in engineering, production operations, program management, and business development. All during a period of significant consolidation in the defense industry, and always as the first woman to do so.
“What’s remarkable about Linda is that she’s used her success to become a champion for diversity and inclusion for people from all walks of life,” said Cammy Abernathy, dean of UF’s College of Engineering. “She has never lost site of her core values, of who she is, and I think it’s remarkable that in spite of all her success, she still stands for the same principles that she stood for at the beginning of her career.”
Founded in 1988 by Junior Achievement of Greater Washington, The Greater Washington Board of Trade, and The Washingtonian, the Washington Business Hall of Fame inducts individuals each year based on the tremendous impact they have made, through business excellence, on the growth and character of the Greater Washington Region.
Dean Abernathy attended the induction ceremony, along with retired Lt. Gen. Franklin L. “Buster” Hagenbeck, who is the director of UF’s Engineering Leadership Institute. Hudson serves on the institute’s advisory board.
This honor is the latest in a number of recognitions that Hudson has received for her engineering leadership example. She was selected for the USO’s 2011 Woman of the Year Distinguished Service Award, and has been featured in numerous periodicals such as the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Forbes. For the past four years, she has been named one of Fortune Magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and Washingtonian Magazine’s Washington’s 100 Most Powerful Women.
Hudson currently serves on the executive committee of the University of Florida Foundation board. She remains active in the alumni and athletic associations and serves on advisory boards for the College of Engineering. Honored as a Distinguished Alumnus, she is a member of the Industrial and Systems Engineering Hall of Fame.