Former Aerospace Executive To Speak At SBU Friday

A century of aviation and aerospace in Western New York will be the topic of a Friday talk at St. Bonaventure University’s Walsh Science Center.

Hugh Neeson, a longtime executive in the aerospace industry, will present “Aviation and Aerospace in Western New York: 1914-2014” at 4:30 p.m. in the Walsh Auditorium. The talk is free and open to the public.

Neeson is on the board of directors and executive committee of the Niagara Aerospace Museum, where he also serves as the director of development.

Now retired, Neeson spent 44 years in the aerospace industry with Bell Aircraft, Chrysler Missile Systems, Bell Aerospace-Textron and Lockheed Martin.

In the latter part of his career, he served as vice president of electronic and inertial systems with Bell Aerospace-Textron and culminated his career as director of Niagara Operations with Lockheed Martin.

“Mr. Neeson’s talk will acquaint students and the public with the rich history of the aeronautical industry in Western New York going back to the earliest days of manned flight and continuing into the space age,” said Dr. Jerry Kiefer, chair of the Physics Department.

“Students will learn that the aerospace industry continues to provide opportunities to students in the STEM fields for scientific and technical careers in the region today.”

Neeson has a bachelor’s degree in physics from Canisius College and an MBA from the University at Buffalo. He is the brother of Dr. John Neeson, professor emeritus in the Department of Physics.

Buffalo once had more than 20 aircraft companies in the early part of the 20th century before the consolidation of 12 companies created Curtiss-Wright Corp., the largest aircraft manufacturer in the United States by the end of World War II.

During the war, Curtiss-Wright and Bell Aircraft Corp. produced 30,000 airplanes for the U.S. Armed Forces, according to Hugh Neeson.