The Space and Missile Defense Symposium is always an exciting week for Thompson Gray. This year it was an even bigger event for us because the Symposium chose to honor our CEO, Ron Gray, with the Davidson Award for Lifetime Service. Ron is the 7th recipient of this prestigious award and we had many employees attend the award presentation at the Space and Missile Defense Dinner on August 7, 2019.
Over the past almost 40 years, Ron has worked in the Huntsville area to serve and advance the space and missile defense industries. He began his career in 1981 as a development engineer at Combustion Engineering in Birmingham, Alabama. In 1985, he moved into the space and missile defense market as an engineer with ASG, Inc. supporting the HEDI and ERIS programs as part of the Strategic Defense Initiative. During his tenure at ASG, he moved through the management ranks until being promoted to Vice President and Manager, Missile and Sensor Systems Division in 1995.
In 1998 Ron and his wife, Cindy, founded Gray Research to focus on delivery of superior technical and programmatic solutions to space and missile defense customers. The company grew quickly and was represented on the Inc. 500 list for America’s fastest growing companies for several years. Mr. Gray served as CEO and then President of the company until 2011 when he retired after a successful transition of the business to MacAulay-Brown, Inc.
In 2013, Ron began service as President of Thompson Gray, a successful business providing senior level support to Army financial management systems. He led the company through a period of exceptional growth which still continues today under his leadership as CEO and Richard Manley’s leadership as President. In 2018 Ron created Gray Analytics which has already experienced significant growth in both federal and commercial markets and is poised to be a leading provider of cyber solutions in both areas.
In addition to his professional and technical accomplishments, Ron has been actively involved in civic and philanthropic endeavors. In the mid 1990’s, Ron was instrumental, along with industry leaders, in creating the Army Space and Missile Defense Association and the Space and Missile Defense Symposium serving as President of ASMDA in 2000 and as Chair of the 2nd SMD Symposium. He remained active in both for well over a decade. Ron is also involved in other community efforts and has served on multiple boards over the years including the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees; the Huntsville Madison County Chamber of Commerce; the Von Braun Center for Science and Innovation; the Alabama Aerospace Industry Association; and the Governor’s Tornado Recovery Action Council formed in the aftermath of the 2011 tornado outbreak.
Ron earned a B.S. Degree in Mechanical Engineering from UA in 1981 and holds a patent for improvements in electrode assembly and discharge from his early days at Combustion Engineering. In 2007 Ron was recognized as an Engineering Fellow at the University of Alabama and in 2010 was inducted into the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame.
Ron is highly deserving of this honor and we were proud to have many employees support him at the awards dinner. It is events like this that enhance the community relationships in our company and make it such a wonderful place to work. Congratulations Ron!