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Roger Boisjoly-The Challenger Disaster



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Year 1987
Language English

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Roger Boisjoly Curriculum Vitae

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Born April 25,1938 in Lowell. Massachusetts. Received a B.S.G.E. (Mechanical Engineering) degree in 1960 from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell (formerly Lowell Technological Institute). Also enrolled in Continuing Education Courses while in industry and subsequently, seminars in Forensic Engineering Practices and Investigative Methods. Employed 27 years in the United States Aerospace Industry in the primary disciplines of Mechanical Design and Structural Analysis. Pursued a career agenda to go beyond the normal job description of "Designer Only" or "Analysts Only" by participating in a Full Circle of engineering & related disciplines. This career agenda supplied me with many unique experience tools providing a natural transition into Forensic Engineering and Lecturing about Professionalism, Organizational Behavior and Ethics. My final assignment in industry was a Technical Troubleshooter on the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters. As a principal engineer in the telecon meeting with NASA managers, I recommended and defended the original no-launch decision, then vigorously opposed the four Thiokol senior managers who subsequently seized control of the meeting and voted to launch Challenger despite my continual objection. My testimony was vital to exposing the truth about the decision to launch and the organizational misbehavior at both Morton Thiokol and NASA.


Lecturer on Ethics, Professionalism and Organizational Behavior

Ethics and Professionalism Lectures and Seminars, 1/87 to Present

Lectures on Ethics, Professionalism and Organizational Behavior given at many leading Universities, Technical Societies, Corporations and Civic Organizations in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Norway and Argentina. A wide variety of lectures have been given and are available to fulfill a broad spectrum of needs, while keeping a focus on ethics, professionalism and organizational behavior. In the beginning, the two most requested presentations were "The Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster - a paradigm for changing workplace/career ethics" which focuses on the Challenger pre-launch decision process using a timeline of major technical problem discoveries on the booster joints. Also presented is management behavior at Morton Thiokol and NASA prior to and subsequent to launch. "Commencement of a Professional Career" which focuses on: The Task of Selecting an Entry Level Position; Getting Settled in the Position Selected; How to Get Recognition for a High Quantity of Quality Work Output; How to Spot Defined Organizational Trouble & What to Do About It; Examples from Boisjoly's career, showing the importance of developing Ethical Professional Behavior.

Additional lectures having heightened recent appeal along with the previous two are: "The Challenger Disaster & Commencement of a Professional Career" which combines elements from each talk to create the best opportunity for lessons learned to avoid career problems that can often result in career or organizational unethical behavior, if lessons learned are ignored. "What do Engineers Do? - the anatomy of making a widget" explains the inner workings of the engineering profession by using the steps required to take a widget (product) from an idea/concept to a finished product. Some show & tell items are used to demonstrate, explain, & simplify some basic engineering and manufacturing principles used to produce a high volume of identical widgets. "The Overemphasis on Excessive Profits at the expense of Professionalism, Business Ethics & Safe Quality Products" discusses case examples from Boisjoly's Forensic Engineering practice from commercial & consumer products to the stealing of trade secrets and unethical professional behavior. Several defective products are highlighted with video clips and sketches showing the obvious defects and the relatively minor cost effective fixes that were ignored by the manufacturers, even after litigation exposed the defects. "Professional Life After Being Branded a Whistleblower" addresses the recovery details from a destroyed career and how a typical blackball by industry was defeated by creation of a self-employed career. Several vivid examples of corporate mistreatment of a Whistleblower are given to demonstrate the uphill battle necessary to survive the event. "The Importance of Leadership, Teamwork & Information Flow and Ethical Behavior" discusses the 30+ year decline of business ethics in the USA. The consequences are demonstrated by using a brief summary of the Challenger disaster launch decision process. The presentation concludes with recommendations and rationale for what constitutes a productive organization and why teamwork, information flow and ethics are so important for long-term success.

Presentations can be customized for content focus and length from a 1/2 hour Luncheon talk to a 2 hr. main talk plus Q/A. Also available are partial day or multiple day workshops or seminars. Over 550 lectures given since January 1987.

Honors and Awards

1982 CERTIFICATE AND AMERICAN FLAG that was flown on the 2nd Space Shuttle Flight - for my significant contributions
1982 Elected to the position of MAYOR of Willard, Utah
1986 CERTIFICATE OF APPRECIATION from NASA for my support given to the Investigation of the Challenger Disaster.
1987 COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS to the College of Engineering, University of Massachusetts at Lowell
1987 DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARD from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell
1987 PRESIDENTIAL AWARD from the National Space Society for Professional Integrity and Personal Courage
1988 SCIENTIFIC FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY AWARD from the American Association for the Advancement of Science
1988 CITATION OF HONOR AWARD from The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
1989 COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS to the College of Engineering, University of Toledo
1990 ENGINEERING ETHICS AWARD from the National Academy of Forensic Engineers
1990 CAVALLO PRIZE from the Cavallo Foundation for Moral Courage in Business and Government
1991 COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS to the graduating class, GateWay Community College
1994 UTAH ENGINEER OF THE YEAR from Utah Engineers Council and Utah Society of Professional Engineers

Professional Associations

  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • Former Member, Utah Society of Professional Engineers (USPE) & Arizona Society of Professional Engineers (ASPE)
  • Member, Association for Practical & Professional Ethics (APPE)
  • Former Senior Member, National Academy of Forensic Engineers (NAFE), retired from practice in 1997
  • Former Senior Member, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), retired from practice in 1997
  • Former Member, National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), retired from practice in 1997


Registered Professional Engineer in Arizona, Florida (retired) and Utah, by National Examinations


  • Text of talk given at MIT on January 7, 1987, BOOKS AND RELIGION, March/April 1987, Duke University Divinity School
  • NASA, MORTON THIOKOL MUST RETHINK RISK, The Scientist, September 21, 1987
  • ETHICAL DECISIONS, MORTON THIOKOL AND THE SPACE SHUTTLE CHALLENGER DISASTER, ASME paper 87 WA/TS-4, presented at ASME winter meeting December 15, 1987, Boston, Massachusetts
  • ETHICS - TODAYS ACHILLES' HEEL IN THE PROFESSIONS, ASCE paper, 1990 Forum on Education and Development
  • ETHICS: ONE OF TODAY'S BUSINESS DILEMMAS IN THE USA, Careers and the Engineer, 1990 Spring Edition
  • WHERE'S THE TRUE VOICE OF THE EE ?, Electronic Engineering Times, March 25, 1991
  • PROFESSIONAL INTEGRITY & ACCOUNTABILITY, Accounting Horizons, American Accounting Association, March 1993
  • ETHICS- THE #1 INGREDIENT FOR L.T. SUCCESS OF ORGANIZATIONS, Cronista Management Newspaper, July 1995
  • THE SPACE SHUTTLE CHALLENGER DISASTER: A Paradigm for Changing Workplace/Career Ethics, APPE annual mtg. 2/96
  • PROFESSIONAL LIFE AFTER BEING BRANDED A WHISTLEBLOWER: Exposure to bottom-line Profit vs. Corporate Business Ethics, APPE annual meeting, February 1997
  • WHAT DO ENGINEERS DO? - The anatomy of making a widget, APPE annual meeting, February 1999
  • EMPLOYMENT SEARCH WITH A CONSCIENCE, Careers and the Engineer, 1999 Spring Edition
Media Experience, a Sample Listing
Date(s) Media Experience
February 14, 19, 25, May 2, 9, 1986 Testimony to the Presidential Commission investigating the Challenger Disaster
June 17, 18, 1986 Testimony to the House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology investigating the Challenger Disaster
February 10, 1987 ABC TV, GOOD MORNING AMERICA, Washington, D.C.
February 18, 1987 NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO (NPR), interview with Howard Berkes
June 24, August 4, 1987 PBS TV, MacNeil/ Lehrer NEWSHOUR, interview with Elizabeth Brackett
February 22, 1988 LIFE MAGAZINE, interview with Tony Chiu
February 23, 1988 ABC RADIO NETWORK, Owen Spann Show, New York City
February 23, 1988 NBC TV, TODAY SHOW, New York City
July 7, 1988 SIDNEY AUSTRALIA, Channel 9 TV, interview with Peter Wilkinson
September 9, 1988 NEWSWEEK MAGAZINE, interview with Harry Hurt III
June 2, 1989 PBS TV, BILL MOYER'S, THE PUBLIC MIND -- The Truth About Lies episode
August 10, 1990 NBC TV, STORY BEHIND THE STORY, interviews and reenactments
January 10, 1991 NBC TV, TOM BROKAW EVENING NEWS, interview with Robert Bazelle
August 1, 1991 PUBLIC TESTIMONY to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Subcomittee on Investigations and Oversight
January 21, 1996 CBS TV, 60 MINUTES, interview with Lesley Stahl
January 25, 1996 CBS TV, DAN RATHER EVENING NEWS, interview with Scott Pelley
January 26, 1996 NPR, TALK OF THE NATION SCIENCE FRIDAY, interview with Ira Flatow
January 26, 1996 WRKO RADIO BOSTON, interview with hosts Claprood and Whitley
January 27, 1996 MUNICH GERMANY and DUTCH TV, interview with John Elliott
January 29, 1996 WFLA RADIO TAMPA, interview with hosts Jack Harris and Ted Webb
September 19, 1997 STONE CITY FILMS. Challenger Documentary TV Film, London, England
April 24, 2000 OPRAH WINFREY SHOW. People Who Stand For Something, ABC TV
January, 2001 MSNBC 15th ANNIVERSARY PROGRAM. Interview on The Challenger.
January 28, 2001 DISCOVERY CHANNEL. 15th Anniversary. Interview on The Challenger.
April 24, 2002 INSIDE EDITION, stove tipping interview/demo for anti-tipping redesigned door hinge
Cite this page: "Roger Boisjoly Curriculum Vitae" Online Ethics Center for Engineering 8/29/2006 OEC Accessed: Thursday, July 11, 2019 <>