MSU alumnus named commander of Air Force lab
Mississippi State University alumnus Maj. Gen. Ted F. Bowlds was named commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, in January. Bowlds graduated in 1975 from the Bagley College of Engineering’s electrical and computer engineering department.
Under Bowlds’ new position, he is responsible for managing the Air Force’s $1.5 billion science and technology program as well as $1.8 billion in customer-funded research and development. As commander, he manages a workforce of about 9,500 people in the lab’s component technology directorates and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.
“The successes of graduates like Maj. Gen. Bowlds reminds us of the exceptional human potential that exists in front of us as we walk into a classroom,” said Jim Harden, professor and head of the electrical and computer engineering department. “While we [faculty] can take no credit, we do feel a linkage to this network of students and faculty that extends throughout a lifetime and often inspires us.”
Bowlds said that his experience at MSU has equipped him not only for
his current position, but his engineering career in general.
“Not only did my time at MSU provide me with an excellent engineering foundation, but it also gave me the desire to learn more and to ask questions,” Bowlds said. “The engineering curriculum at MSU fueled my enthusiasm for science and technology. That same enthusiasm has stayed with me for my entire Air Force career.”
Bowlds added: “In general, I truly enjoyed my time at MSU as an undergraduate student. It was an opportunity to learn electrical engineering, something I wanted to do from an early childhood.”
Bowlds also credits his accomplishments to the Air Force ROTC at MSU.
“ROTC provided me with a great foundation in leadership,”
he said. “Through the interaction with other cadets and the learning
experiences provided by the ROTC curriculum, I had the opportunity to
‘experiment’ with my approach to leadership.”
Bowlds added that the ROTC program gave him a better understanding of what it means to be an Air Force officer.
“That helped in ensuring for me that the Air Force was the right career choice for me,” he said.
Prior to his position as commander of AFRL at Wright-Patterson, Bowlds was assigned to the Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson as Deputy for Acquisition. He has also worked as avionics program manager on the B-2 at Wright-Patterson, bomber branch chief at the Pentagon, Chief of Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile development in the AMRAAM System Program Office at Eglin AFB, and as Commander of the Rome Laboratory in Rome, N.Y.