REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (July 26, 2022) – For Dr. Mark Robeson, engineering is not simply a job but a family tradition dating back generations.
Robeson, chief of the Structures Branch for the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center’s Technology Development Directorate, has been elected to serve as the U.S. Southeast Region Vice President of The Vertical Flight Society, the premier professional organization for those who have devoted their careers to vertical flight innovation. Robeson certainly fits that bill.
“I’m a native of the Hampton Roads area of Virginia,” Robeson said. “My paternal grandfather worked at Newport News Shipbuilding and my maternal grandfather was stationed at Fort Eustis, my current duty station. My father was an engineer at NASA Langley Research Center. My older brother Eric was an engineer in Army aviation. I grew up immersed in science, technology and the mechanical. I knew I had enthusiasm for it, and felt I had an aptitude for it. By high school, I was planning to be an engineer.”
Robeson continued his educational journey at Old Dominion University where he performed research at NASA LaRC for his master’s and doctoral degrees and as a National Research Council Post-Doctoral Fellow.
As chief, Robeson keeps busy but says “busy looks satisfyingly different every day.”
“I enjoy the variety of forms that our support for the mission takes. From establishing requirements to brainstorming technology solutions, from mentoring the next generation to interacting with the international vertical lift community, from imagining the possible for the aviation Warfighter 30 years from now to meeting the needs of aviators today.”
He has been a member of the VFS for more than 20 years and as his career has progressed, has seen the benefit of the society in terms of professional development, networking and in providing a larger vertical lift worldview – and looks forward to promoting those benefits as a regional VP. The society has 17 chapters across the world and recently returned to in-person conferencing for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. Robeson said that the mood was jubilant at VFS’s recent Forum 78 in Fort Worth, Texas.
As someone with a job held by only a handful of people worldwide – vertical flight expert –Robeson sees the importance of the VFS and ensuring that the next generation of vertical flight experts has the same career opportunities he had
“When you build those relationships within a community of people that are doing the same kind of work that you're doing, making the same kind of technology development, those relationships carry over to the workplace,” Robeson said. “Because in our jobs, we interact with not only fellow Army employees, but other government agencies … academia … industry. The more you strengthen those relationships, the more that carries over to effectively executing the mission.”
The DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the Army’s research and development focal point for advanced technology in aviation and missile systems. It is part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command. AvMC is responsible for delivering collaborative and innovative aviation and missile capabilities for responsive and cost-effective research, development and life cycle engineering solutions, as required by the Army’s strategic priorities and support to its Cross-Functional Teams.