Distinguished Alumni 1997

Richard W. (Dick) Butler, ’72


Aerospace Engineering

Richard W. (Dick) Butler is president of Sverdrup Technology, Inc., and Sr. Vice President and member of the Board of Directors of Sverdrup Corporation. Located in Tullahoma, Tennessee, Sverdrup Technology, Inc. is the advanced technology company of the Sverdrup Corporation,
an international professional services firm. Sverdrup Technology operates aerospace research, development and test centers, and designs and constructs industrial test facilities and technical systems. Mr. Butler is responsible for directing Sverdrup Technology’s operations in four service areas: NASA services, DoD services, test facilities, and technical facilities complexes.

Mr. Butler joined Sverdrup Technology, Inc. (previously ARO, Inc.) in 1965 and has served in progressive management assignments including roles of increasing responsibility with the company’s operating contract organization at the U.S. Air Force’s Arnold Engineering Development Center. He was elected as a member of the Sverdrup Corporation Board of Directors in 1991. In 1993 he was named Executive Vice President of Sverdrup Technology, and President in 1994.

An internationally recognized sailplane designer, modifier, and pilot, Mr. Butler is an authority on low-speed aerodynamics and lightweight structures in high performance sailplanes. He is a three-time national champion of the U.S. Soaring Team and represented the United States four times as pilot for the International Soaring Team in Europe. He serves as a consultant in the area of stability and control of low-speed aircraft, and has authored or co-authored more than 30 papers on aircraft aerodynamics, stability and control, store separation, and wind tunnel performance.

Mr. Butler is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and is a member of the AIAA Technical Management Committee and past member of the AIAA Technical Committee on Atmospheric Flight Mechanics. In 1984 he was honored by AIAA with a special award for his contributions to low-speed aerodynamics. He serves on the Board of Directors for the U.S. Soaring Foundation of America.

Mr. Butler was born in Albertville, Alabama, to J.O. Butler and the Mary Lilian Butler, now deceased. He and his wife, Sarah, reside in Manchester.