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This is the sixteenth volume in the series of Memorial Tributes compiled by the National Academy of Engineering as a personal remembrance of the lives and outstanding achievements of its members and international members. These volumes are intended to stand as an enduring record of the many contributions of engineers and engineering to the benefit of humankind. In most cases, the authors of the tributes are contemporaries or colleagues who had personal knowledge of the interests and the engineering accomplishments of the deceased.
REPRINTED WITH THE PERMISSION OF BOSTON COLLEGE
SUBMITTED BY THE NAE HOME SECRETARY
JOSEPH B. REAGAN died unexpectedly on August 14, 2011, leaving behind a loving family, friends, and associates who are still coping with the loss of a brilliant mind and an even greater man. Joe was born in November 26, 1934, in Somerville, Massachusetts.
Dr. Reagan received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in physics from Boston College in 1956 and 1959, respectively. He received his Ph.D. degree in space science from Stanford University in 1975. He also attended Pennsylvania State University’s Executive Management Program in 1981, the Lockheed Management Institute in 1977, the Lockheed Advanced Institute in 1983, the Lockheed Executive Institute in 1985, and the Lockheed Senior Management Institute in 1986.
His last position was as an independent consultant to senior management in industry and the U S. government as principal of JBR Associates. From 1991 until his retirement in 1996, he was a vice president of the Lockheed Martin Corporation and a vice president and general manager in the Missiles and Space Company.
He was responsible for the technical and management direction of the Research and Development Division of the Palo Alto Laboratories in California, where some 750 scientists and engineers engaged in advanced technology development in the fields of physical science, space science, materials, optics and electro-optics, software engineering, intelligent systems, cryogenics, and guidance and control. He was responsible for annual research and development contract revenues of $100 million from government agencies, in addition to a comparable amount in support of major lockheed Martin corporate programs.
Dr. Reagan joined Lockheed in January 1959 as a scientist. He led the Space Instrumentation Group for 10 years and was responsible for the development and on-orbit deployment of over 20 scientific satellite payloads for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), including 7 major scientific payloads carried piggyback aboard the world’s first photoreconnaissance satellites known as Discoverer/Corona.
Dr. Reagan conducted personal research in the areas of radiation belt particles, solar particle events, and the effects of particle precipitation on the neutral atmosphere and the ionosphere. He was the principal or coprincipal author of over 110 published papers and the principal author of four chapters in technical books. He was an invited speaker at national and international scientific conferences on 10 occasions.
He was an expert consultant to several U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and NASA committees in the area of radiation belt physics and radiation effects on space and terrestrial operational systems. As the principal investigator of four scientific space missions and coinvestigator on 13 other missions, Dr. Reagan was responsible for the development and successful deployment of complex space instrumentation.
Dr. Reagan was manager of the Lockheed Space Payloads Program from 1973 until he became manager of the Space Sciences Laboratory in 1975. He became director of Electronic Sciences in 1984 and director of the Physical and Electronic Sciences Laboratory in 1985. In June 1986 he became the deputy general manager of the Research and Development Division and in 1988 vice president and assistant general manager. In January 1991, Dr. Reagan became vice president and general manager of the Research and Development Division of the Missiles and Space Company and a vice president of Lockheed Corporation.
Upon his retirement in January 1996, Dr. Reagan became the technology panel leader of the Naval Studies Board (NSB), an element of the Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications of the National Research Council. In this role he led 18 scientists and engineers from academia and industry in a major 18-month study entitled “Technology for Future Naval Forces: The United States Navy and Marine corps, 2000–2035, Becoming a 21st Century Force.”
For this study commissioned by the Navy’s chief of naval operations, the technology panel attempted to forecast trends in the most important technologies that would impact Navy and Marine Corps operations over the next 35 years. In 1998, Dr. Reagan participated in another major study, “Recapitalizing the Navy: A Strategy for Managing the Infrastructure,” which advised the Navy on how to recapitalize and modernize for the future while maintaining fleet readiness. In 1999 he was one of the leaders of a study entitled “Network-Centric Naval forces: A Transition Strategy for Enhancing Operational Capabilities.” This study focused on the transition of the Navy from a platform-centric force to one based on network-centric operations.
In 1999 he was a committee member of an NSB study called “Review of the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Technical Vision for Uninhabited Combat Air Vehicles.” In 2001 he was chairman of an NSB committee study of ONR’s Aircraft Technology Program and followed up in 2004 as chairman of a committee study entitled “Identification of Promising Naval Aviation Science and Technology.” In 2003 he was a member of a classified NSB study on the Navy’s Needs in Space for Providing Future Capabilities.
In 1998, Dr. Reagan was appointed NSB’s vice chair. In 1999 he was selected to be vice chairman, an office he held until his mandatory retirement from the board in 2004. Dr. Reagan was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1998. He was a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics since 1990 and was the “Outstanding Engineer in Astronautics” of the San Francisco chapter in 1988. He was also a member of the American Geophysical Union and the National Physics Honor Society—Sigma Pi Sigma—where he served on the Development Committee from 2004 to 2006.
He received the NASA Group Achievement Award for his work on the Pioneer Venus program. In 1992 he was awarded the Silver Knight of Management by the Lockheed Management Association. In 1993 he received the Outstanding Alumni Award in Science from his alma mater, Boston College. He was a member of both the Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley engineering schools’ advisory councils from 1992 to 1996.
Dr. Reagan also participated as an ad hoc member of the U.S. Air Force Scientific Advisory Board. From May 2002 to November 2003, he was a member of the National Research Council’s review of NASA’s aerospace technology enterprise, which produced a report titled An Assessment of NASA’s Pioneering Revolutionary Technology Program. From November 2007 until October 2008, he was a member of the National Research Council’s Space Studies Board workshop, which produced a report titled Severe Space Weather Events— Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts. From July 2005 to June 2007, Dr. Reagan was chairman of the Aerospace Engineering Section of the National Academy of Engineering.
Dr. Reagan served from 1987 to 1992 and from 1993 to 2004 as director of Southwall Technologies, Inc., a public company located in Palo Alto, California. Southwall is a high-technology company that specializes in producing wide-web, transparent thin films that are used to control ultraviolet, visible, and infrared solar radiation in such applications as industrial and residential windows, antiglare screens for liquid crystal displays, and laminated glass for cars. Dr. Reagan was a member of the Finance Committee and chairman of the Human Resources Committee and served for a time as chairman of the Board of Directors.
He was also director of the Technology Museum of innovation (the TECH) in San Jose from 1992 to 2004, where he served as chairman of the Exhibits Committee and as a member of the executive, education, finance, and corporate development committees.
From July 2004 until December 2008, Dr. Reagan was a director of SM&A, a public company in Newport Beach, California, that supports the development of proposals for major business opportunities, such as major DOD programs, where he was a member of the Finance Committee and chairman of the Human resources committee. He also served as director of Planning Systems, Inc., in McLean, Virginia, from 1989 to 1991. He was also a member of the Senior Advisory Council of the Industry Initiative for Science and Math Education in Cupertino, California, starting in 1986.
Joe and Dottie literally traveled the world, including visits to Europe, Russia, China, Australia, South America, and the Middle East. They especially enjoyed family vacations to destinations such as Fiji, Hawaii, Mexico, Canada, and, of course, Joe’s beloved Napa Valley. He loved fine wine and shared many exceptional vintages with family and friends. Joe indulged his passion for fine woodworking in his retirement, creating many special one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture for his family.
Dr. Reagan is survived by his high school sweetheart and loving wife of 54 years, Dorothy; his seven children and their spouses—Patrick, Michael (Kate), Kevin (Maria), Kathleen (Orlando), Brian, John (Tahmineh), and Maureen; four grandchildren—Christina, Kaitlin, Tea, and Riley; his sister, Rita Duffy; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his sister Helen and granddaughter Lauren.