Walt Downing is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Southwest Research Institute (SwRI®) in San Antonio, Texas. He joined SwRI in 1979 as an engineer in the field of automated testing. He established and led the SwRI Aerospace and Training Systems Division before moving into executive management in 1998. He serves on the SwRI Board of Directors, the Board of Signature Science, LLC (SwRI’s wholly-owned subsidiary in Austin, Texas) and the Board of SwARC Automotive Research Lab (SwRI’s joint-venture in Tianjin, China).
Walt graduated from Southern Methodist University with a BSEE and the University of Texas at San Antonio with an MBA. He has executive certificates in management and leadership from the University of Texas at Austin and MIT Sloan School of Management. He is a registered professional engineer in the states of Texas and Florida.
Walt is a Life Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and Eta Kappa Nu (HKN). He is the past president of the Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society, currently is a member of the Technical Activities Board Societies and Councils Review Committee, vice chair of the IEEE Lone Star Section, government relations coordinator for IEEE Region 5, and serves as an ABET program evaluator. He is a member of the University of Texas at San Antonio advisory councils for the College of Engineering and Integrated Design, the College of Business, and to the Office of the Vice President for Research, Economic Development, and Knowledge Enterprise.