Rodney D. Chipp Memorial Award

Steven Chisholm

The Boeing Company

For consistently demonstrating advocacy for women engineers; for ensuring they are heard and respected; and for actively removing barriers to their advancement.

Steven Chisholm is vice president and functional chief engineer for Mechanical and Structural Engineering for The Boeing Company. He provides functional leadership for more than 8,000 engineers enterprise-wide and is responsible for ensuring the structural integrity of commercial and military products through the integration of people, practices, processes, and tools across all business units. Chisholm was part of the Technical Fellowship at Boeing, pursuing a technical career path, before entering management.

Chisholm has consistently served as an advocate for women engineers through mentorship and the creation of effective programs at Boeing. In 2017, as executive sponsor of the Structures Diversity Council, Chisholm observed an issue caused by unconscious bias. He and the council invited the entire Structures team of nearly 3,000 engineers and managers to learn to recognize unconscious bias through a series of high interaction learning events. He partnered with talented women leaders to host and engage the team. One of those leaders, a mentee, went on to lead successful teams on Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) programs and is currently the president of Boeing Italia.

In 2018, while reviewing diversity metrics, Chisholm noticed the number of women in high-level positions in BCA Structures was low. He took action, launching the Women in Structures Engineering (WiSE) Council, aimed at placing women engineers’ careers on par with their male counterparts. He brought women engineering leaders together and was involved as an executive sponsor, ally, and participant in the program’s development.

Since the WiSE Council launched in 2019, women’s representation within BCA Structures Engineering has increased at almost every level. As the enterprise Mechanical and Structural Engineering (MSE) leader, Chisholm created opportunities to spread the WiSE program across Boeing Defense, Space, & Security and Product Development. He also created an environment where women engineers can reach their full potential wherein hundreds of women engineers have actively participated in strategic mentoring partnerships. In addition, efforts similar to the WiSE program have spread organically throughout Boeing. Without Chisholm’s direct and indirect influence, sponsorship, and involvement, the scale of the WiSE program’s success would not be possible.

As the Boeing Executive Focal for the University of Washington (UW), Chisholm is deeply invested in gender diversity in engineering. His current role with UW spans all departments, and his contributions include identifying women to serve on the board; the creation of a dedicated Boeing executive diversity, equity, and inclusion role; and charitable giving to UW Women in Science and Engineering, Women in Chemical Engineering, and individual diversity scholarships.

Chisholm is a member of the Society of Women Engineers, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). ASME has developed a strong focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, with an emphasis on gender diversity.

With ASME, Chisholm provided leadership in developing a conference to directly address increasing the number of women in mechanical engineering. He was a steering team member, a panel leader, and a closing keynote speaker in this conference series.

He holds a B.S. from the University of Washington and an MBA from Seattle University. Chisholm met his wife in the mechanical engineering department at UW, and the two graduated with engineering degrees at the same time. They have raised two daughters, one of whom is also pursuing an engineering degree.