Lockheed Aeronautics VP Michele Evans Dies

Michele A. Evans, Lockheed Martin’s executive vice president for aeronautics, died Jan. 1, the company announced Jan. 2. Evans went on medical leave Nov. 17 due to an unnamed illness, which the company said was a “non-COVID related medical issue.” Gregory M. Ulmer, Lockheed F-35 vice president and program manager, had been adding Evans’ duties to his own since Dec. 1, and will continue in that capacity until a permanent successor is named.

Evans, 54, succeeded Orlando P. Carvalho as VP of aeronautics in 2018, having been his deputy. The Aero business is a $20 billion enterprise with about 25,000 employees, and includes the C-5, C-130, F-16, F-22, F-35, and U-2 product lines, as well as unmanned aerial systems and other intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems. She also oversaw the company’s Skunk Works advanced development company.

On her watch, the company successfully transitioned its F-16 production work from Fort Worth, Texas, to Greenville, S.C.; negotiated lower unit costs with the government for the F-35 fighter and oversaw additional F-35 foreign sales. She also presided over Lockheed’s offer of an F-35 performance-based logistics contract with the government—which so far has not been accepted—and led Aero to winning several hypersonics contracts. Evans also built stronger ties with Airbus to offer that company’s Multi-Role Tanker Transport for U.S Air Force service.

Evans had a 34-year career in the aerospace and defense industry. At Lockheed she was VP and general manager of integrated warfare systems and sensors, as well as VP for C4ISR and undersea systems businesses, and VP for business development in mission systems and training. She had been responsible for Lockheed’s A-10 business, and for avionics on the C-130 and F-35 programs, and the Littoral Combat Ship. The company said she was the executive manager “on multiple domestic and international campaign wins.” She also served as the Chairman of the Board of a Lockheed-Sikorsky joint venture providing logistics support for maritime H-60 helicopters.

Former Lockheed CEO Marillyn A. Hewson, upon Evans’ appointment to the Aero job in 2018, noted Evans’ record of leadership and said her appointment “demonstrates the importance of our talent development and succession planning.”  

Evans held a Bachelors of Science in mechanical engineering, cum laude, from Clarkson University, and served on the board of the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum. She was also “actively involved in Lockheed Martin’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, serving as the executive sponsor for the Women’s Impact Network and Leadership Forum,” the company said in a press release.

Evans also served on the board of Cheniere Energy.