AFCEA International has announced two concurrent leadership changes. The association welcomes Lt. Gen. Robert M. “Bob” Shea, USMC (Ret.), as president and chief executive officer (CEO) and Linda Gooden as its new chair of the board of directors. Gen. Shea succeeds Kent R. Schneider, who served as AFCEA’s president and CEO for seven years. Gooden succeeds Al Grasso, who served two years as chairman.
Gen. Shea comes to AFCEA from Smartronix Incorporated, an information technology and engineering solutions provider based in Hollywood, Maryland. He was the company’s executive vice president for seven years. “Bob had an immediate and lasting impact on Smartronix,” says John Parris, Smartronix CEO. “He has been a tremendous leader … it is a consolation knowing that his experiences, talents and connectivity will be leveraged by such an esteemed organization.”
Gen. Shea joined Smartronix shortly after retiring as the director of command, control, communications and computers/cyber (C4) systems, J-6, The Joint Staff. He was the principal adviser to the chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, on all C4 systems matters within the U.S. Defense Department. With 36 years of active-duty military service, Gen. Shea has held various command positions, including deputy commander, U.S. Forces Japan; commander of the Marine Component, Joint Task Force Computer Network Defense; director of the Marine Corps Command and Control Systems School; and commanding officer, 9th Communications Battalion, I Marine Expeditionary Force, during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
Among the general’s previous staff assignments are director for C4 for the Marine Corps, chief information officer of the Marine Corps, director of intelligence for the Marine Corps, the director for command, control and communications (J-6) for the U.S. Pacific Command and various other staff positions in the Marine Corps and the joint community.
The general has been honored with numerous awards throughout his career. They include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Department of Defense Superior Service Medal with gold star in lieu of second award, Legion of Merit with gold star, Department of Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal and Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal with two gold stars.
Gen. Shea also is a director on two corporate boards, an executive partner with a private equity corporation and an adviser/consultant to several telecommunication and defense corporations. He also has served on study panels for the National Academies and the Defense Science Board. He holds a master’s from Central Michigan University, and he attended The Basic School, Advanced Communications Officers’ Course, the Marine Corps Command and Staff College and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University.
Gen. Shea joined AFCEA in 1989 and has served on the association’s board of directors and Executive Committee. The general also has participated in AFCEA chapters as president of the Quantico-Potomac and Hawaii chapters, and he won the Rocky Mountain Chapter Leadership Award. In addition, he has been an active supporter of the association by participating in and speaking at several AFCEA International conferences.
Gen. Shea says he is honored and flattered to be appointed to this position. “When you look at the mission of AFCEA, how can you not be excited about working with an organization whose purpose is to promote international security with our allies and partners?” he asks.
Gooden, the retired executive vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems & Global Solutions business area, will oversee AFCEA’s Executive and Compensation committees and participate on the AFCEA Educational Foundation board of directors. She has contributed to the aerospace and defense community through AFCEA for more than 15 years, has served on the association’s board of directors and has been a member of its Executive and Audit committees. Gooden previously was chair of the association’s Budget and Finance Committee.
She has established herself as a defense community expert. “Linda Gooden is a longtime leader in industry and AFCEA,” says Schneider, outgoing AFCEA president and CEO. “We are delighted to see her move to the position of chair of the AFCEA board of directors and look forward to her leadership in the association and the community.”
Gooden says she has four main priorities as chair: to support AFCEA’s president and CEO; to ensure that programs truly are value-added; to balance the budget; and to listen and act.
“I’d like to make sure that, when we look across at our programs, they’re value-added to our stakeholders, both industry and the government, and that we’re looking to make sure that if we have programs that are no longer relevant, we retire those so we keep our offerings fresh and current,” she says.
Gooden acknowledges, “We’re living in very difficult times right now. You’ve got budget deficits that are larger than we’ve ever seen. We’ve got sequestration that may or may not occur in 2016 because we only have a budget for two years. You look at the changing rules about how government participates, and we’re at a very different time in AFCEA’s history.
“I’d like to be a part of ensuring that we have a strategy and we have our priorities set so that we can continue AFCEA for the next 64 years,” she adds. “My top priority is making sure we remain the premier association for information technology, communications and electronics. Many organizations have struggled during this last downturn. We’d like to make sure that AFCEA does well during this period, both for the organization and for its membership.”
With nearly 40 years working in the aerospace and defense industry, Gooden has amassed various professional honors. Fortune magazine named Gooden as one of the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Business for three consecutive years. Washingtonian magazine recognized her as one of Washington’s Most Powerful Women. An inductee in the Career Communications’ Hall of Fame, Gooden also is in the Maryland Business Hall of Fame.
Other honors include being featured as one of Black Enterprise magazine’s 100 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America in 2009. In 2008, she was named to Corporate Board Member magazine’s Top 50 Women in Technology. She was selected in 2007 as Executive of the Year by the Greater Washington Government Contractor Awards and in 2006 as Black Engineer of the Year by U.S. Black Engineer and Information Technology Magazine.
Before assuming the role of executive vice president at Lockheed Martin, she was president of the company’s Information Technology unit, which she grew from $8 million to $2.5 billion over 10 years. She also was vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Software Support Services and held other positions of increasing responsibility.
Gooden says her expertise will be an asset to AFCEA. “Over the years, I’ve been able to develop strategies to grow into new areas, and I think as we look out into the future, we will probably have to diversify AFCEA in some ways,” she says.
In addition to AFCEA, Gooden actively supports professional, academic and civic organizations, serving on numerous executive boards, including Eisenhower Fellowships’ Board of Trustees; TechAmerica; University System of Maryland Board of Regents; and the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation. President Barack Obama appointed Gooden to the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee in 2010.
Gooden received her degree in computer technology from Youngstown State University; she also holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and an M.B.A. from the University of Maryland.
Gooden describes herself as a “forward thinking” and “decisive” leader. “I’d like to think I’m very fair,” she says. “The underlying foundation of all that is ethics—making decisions that are ethical and fair to everyone that’s involved.”