Alumni Spotlight: Lt. Gen. Wendy Masiello
November 6, 2017 | By: Chelsea Grunden
Lt. Gen. Wendy M. Masiello graduated from the Rawls College with her B.B.A. in Marketing in 1980. A retired Three-Star General of the United States Air Force, Masiello began her own consulting company in August 2017 and was appointed to the KBR's Board of Directors, where she serves on the Audit and the Health, Safety, Security, Environment and Social Responsibility Committees. Previously, she served as the director of the Defense Contract Management Agency for the U.S. Air Force.
She was commissioned in December 1980 as a distinguished graduate of the ROTC program at Texas Tech. In 1984, she earned her M.S. in Logistics Management from the Air Force Institute of Technology and in 1999, she earned her M.S. in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at National Defense University. She furthered her education through participation in programs such as the Harvard Kennedy School's Senior Managers.
Masiello grew up in Lubbock and she said Texas Tech was always her first choice for college. She said her favorite thing about being a Rawls College student was the energy of the campus. She said it was a great opportunity to be part of a large organization that, despite the magnitude of it, still made students feel like they were part of a family with people who cared about you. Masiello began college studying accounting, but she realized that her marketing classes interested her more than a numbers-based curriculum.
"For marketing, you needed to know something about accounting, something about product placement, things about production efficiencies, etc.," she said. "I preferred acquiring the broader knowledge base that was required for marketing."
While at Texas Tech, Masiello participated in Angel Flight, which was a service organization for Air Force ROTC. She said she loved the sense of adventure offered by an Air Force career, but became seriously interested in an Air Force commission after one of the officers from the ROTC detachment showed her the new pay scales for officers, which demonstrated that men and women were paid the exact same amount.
"To me, this was really appealing," she said. "Pay disparity was an issue in the late 1970s, much as it is today. Published pay scales for Federal employment presented an incredible sense of fairness that told me that I would get compensated for my efforts and at the same rate as someone with my skills and experience."
Through her 36-year career in the Air Force, Masiello applied her Rawls College degree in the acquisition career field. She was responsible for buying satellites, missiles, aircraft and a variety of services to include test range operations and even support troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. She also attained assistant professor at the Air Force Institute of Technology and served as executive director for the National Reconnaissance Office Inspector General. As she progressed in her career, Masiello served as the director of contracting at two major Air Force acquisition centers, was the senior contracting professional in the Air Force as the deputy assistant secretary for contracting for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition and culminated her career as the director of the Defense Contract Management Agency.
Masiello said her experiences at the Rawls College gave her the confidence to embrace her adventure with the Air Force and showed her she had something meaningful to contribute.
"The college encouraged me every step of the way," she said. "As a shy student, I was encouraged by good grades, but the kind words from the remarkable educators made me feel like I had a voice that was worth hearing. When you get that type of encouragement, it prepares you to go into the big world and gives you the courage to be your best."
Her military awards and decorations include Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Achievement Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
Other achievements include a 2011 Federal 100 Award, 2012 Secretary of Air Force Small Business Program General Officer Outstanding Leadership, 2014 Greater Washington Government Contractor Awards "Public Sector Partner of the Year," 2015 Ellis Island Medal of Honor and the 2015 and 2016 Wash100 Awards from Executive Mosaic. In 2017, Masiello was recognized as a Texas Tech University Distinguished Alumna.
Masiello said throughout her career and still today she takes advantage of every opportunity to learn and improve both as a professional and as a person. She said that continuous learning keeps her mentally agile, up-to-date on technology and techniques, invigorated for positive change and better prepared to serve her employees, peers, bosses and taxpayers.
"Throughout my career, I believed I owed it to my boss to be the best I could be. I owed it to my peers to be the best I could be. I owed it to the people who worked for me to be the best I could possibly be. And, I owed that to the taxpayer, who was paying that equal-pay paycheck every month, to be the best I could be. And they all deserved nothing less," she said.