Robert C. Winn to Receive 2017 AIAA Distinguished Service Award Written 20 March 2017

John Blacksten

Honored for Over Three Decades of Exemplary Service and Leadership to AIAA

March 20, 2017 – Reston, Va. – Robert C. Winn, an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Fellow, and chairman of the board, a principal of the firm, and director of aviation at Engineering Systems Inc. (ESI), Colorado Springs, Colorado, has won the 2017 AIAA Distinguished Service Award. Winn will receive the award on May 3 during the AIAA Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.

The award honors Winn for “over three decades of exemplary service and leadership to AIAA including 11 years on the Board of Directors as Director–At-Large, as Vice President, Technical Activities, and as Vice President, Finance.”

“Bob has been a long-standing volunteer and leader in AIAA in a myriad of roles: section officer, a member of the Technical Activities Committee, a member of the Institute Development Committee, Vice President of Finance, and a member of the AIAA Foundation’s Board of Trustees,” said Sandy Magnus, AIAA executive director. “In these and the many other committees and activities that he has participated in, Robert C. Winn has rendered extraordinary service to AIAA. He has given selflessly of his time and knowledge, and has always looked for ways to strengthen the Institute, helping AIAA remain a strong and relevant part of the aerospace community. AIAA sincerely thanks him for all that he has done for the Institute thus far, and we look forward to his continued service in the years to come.”

Winn has held several leadership roles in AIAA over the years. He began his service as a section officer in the AIAA Rocky Mountain Section. In 1984, he became a member of the Terrestrial Energy Systems Technical Committee (TC). In 1990, he became a member of the Technical Activities Committee’s (TAC) New Initiatives Subcommittee. He went on to serve as the director of TAC in the field of energy conservation, and in 2001 he became the vice president of TAC. In 2004, seeing a need for AIAA to expand its scope of interest to include emerging technologies, Winn created the Emerging Technologies Standing Committee, an initiative he chaired until 2006. In 2005, Winn became a Director–At-Large on the AIAA Board of Directors. Winn also served on the Institute’s Finance Committee, Institute Development Committee, and Compensation Committee. He served as the Institute’s vice president of finance from 2011 to 2015. He currently serves as a member of both the Investment Subcommittee and the Ethics Committee. He has served as a trustee of the AIAA Foundation, and he is an AIAA Distinguished Lecturer.

Winn’s career in aerospace has spanned both military service and service in private industry. He started his career in the U.S. Air Force as an instructor pilot on the T-37 jet trainer as well as other aircraft. He later served as a C-130 aircraft commander with the 61st Tactical Airlift Squadron. In 1976, he began teaching at the U.S. Air Force Academy, leaving briefly to become chief scientist at the U.S. Air Force European Office of Aerospace R&D. Retiring from the U.S. Air Force in 1991, Winn was a private consultant before he joined ESI in 1994 as a senior consultant. He became principal engineer and director of Colorado operations for ESI in 2002, and chairman of ESI’s board of directors in 2009.

Winn’s prior honors include the 2009 AIAA Energy Systems Award, a 2003 SAE International Certificate of Achievement for Accident Reconstruction, a 2001 AIAA Sustained Service Award, and the 1986 Daley Award for the Outstanding Member of the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Department of Aeronautics. Winn is also a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

For more information about the AIAA Distinguished Service Award, or the AIAA Honors and Awards program, please contact Patricia Carr at or 703.264.7523.

About AIAA 
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is the world’s largest aerospace technical society. With nearly 30,000 individual members from 85 countries, and 95 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information,, or follow us on Twitter @AIAA.


American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics 
12700 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 200, Reston, VA 20191-5807  
Phone: 703.264.7558 Fax: 703.264.7551