3 members of the Top 100 in Aerospace and Defense given special awards

May 11, 2017/DBJ The Dayton Business Journal is giving out three special awards as part of its annual Who’s Who in Aerospace and Defense. The editorial board of Dayton Business Journal again selected three individuals for special awards. We are honoring an individual in three different categories - Military Leader, Community Leader and Defense Contractor.

The winners are Lt. Gen. Robert McMurry (Military), John Leland (Community Leader) and Al Wofford (Defense Contractor).


Lt. Gen. Robert McMurry, Commander, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center

Lt. Gen. Robert McMurry Jr. is the new commander of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The organization is the single center responsible for total life cycle management covering all aircraft, engines, munitions and electronic systems.

The Life Cycle Management Center has 26,000 people in 60 locations around the world.

McMurry previously was commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory, also at Wright-Patt.

McMurry entered the Air Force in 1984 through the University of Texas ROTC program. He has served in a variety of engineering, program management, staff and command positions. Among his posts, he served as director, Iraq Security Assistance Mission in Baghdad. He also served as Space Programs Director for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition and vice commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles.

Among his major awards and decorations are:

  • Defense Superior Service Medal
  • Bronze Star
  • Defense Meritorious Service Medal
  • Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters
  • Air Force Commendation Medal
  • Air Force Achievement Medal

As talk of a base consolidation process gets louder, preserving Wright-Patt and its installations is more important than ever.

McMurry addressed the possibility at his swearing in ceremony in early May.

“What I focus on is doing our job today as well as I can, taking advantage of the location I have and the resources that come with that and making sure that we’re doing the best we can to make the best use of taxpayer resources and deliver the best capability for our warfighters,” McMurry said. “If that ever rolls out, we just roll with it and deal with it.”


John Leland, Vice President for Research, University of Dayton; Executive Director, University of Dayton Research Institute

John Leland has been University of Dayton’s vice president for research since 2015 and director of the University of Dayton Research Institute since 2005. Leland sets strategic directions for research and the institute to support the development of its staff, growth in revenues and contribution to the university’s mission.

He has overseen tremendous growth at UDRI. The institute performed $117.6 million in research and development in the 2016 fiscal year — a 20 percent jump from the year before. This comes as a hiring spree has made the institute larger than ever.

UDRI now has roughly 520 employees, marking a 30 percent increase over three to four years ago. It’s been adding program management expertise, people with experience in laser technology and corrosion, as well as sensor technology. It also continues to hire engineers.

In all, UDRI has now done more than $2 billion in research, huge growth from a single, $10,000 contract awarded to UD 60 years ago by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to study aircraft fatigue.

Prior to becoming director, John served as associate director of operations for UDRI and head of the institute’s materials engineering division. He also served as UD’s director for technology partnerships, where he was responsible for the protection and licensing of the university’s patents and other intellectual property. He joined UDRI in 2000 after concluding a Congressional Science Fellowship sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. During his 16 years as a researcher for the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patt, Leland led a research group in the propulsion directorate, where researchers developed thermal management concepts and technologies for high-density power electronics, megawatt lasers and high-powered microwaves for future aircraft.


Al Wofford, President & CEO, CDO Technologies

From a team of two to a team of 300, Al Wofford’s vision has grown CDO Technologies into a leading provider of business and technology solutions. Under his leadership, revenues have increased every year since the company’s inception in 1995. The company has grown to 300 people with offices in Alabama, Illinois, Washington, D.C., and Georgia, in addition to its local headquarters. That marks an increase of 100 workers since 2014. After flying under the radar, it has emerged in the past few years and scored a bevy of contract wins in the data world.

Late last year, the company was named to a $75 million contract for cybersecurity communications system work in support of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. Its work in access control, network support and technology has seen growing work in the Department of Defense and other federal agencies.

In recent years, Wofford has also looked to turn some of its work in the government world into commercial products. But its bread and butter is the defense industry and Wofford has worked to navigate the ever evolving needs of the military.

“You have to change, you have to be nimble,” Wofford said recently. “But at the end of the day, our first task is to support the warfighter.”

Wofford also is active in the Dayton community. He has served on such organizations as the Wright Center of Innovation, I-Zone, Greater Dayton IT Alliance, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, Dayton/Montgomery County Port Authority and Omega Baptist Church. He has an MBA in management from the Golden Gate University and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of South Carolina.