Director and CEO, Software Engineering Institute
Dr. Paul D. Nielsen is director and chief executive officer of the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), a global leader in advancing software and cybersecurity to solve the nation’s toughest problems through focused research, development, and transition to the broad software engineering community. The SEI is a key innovator in areas central to U.S. Department of Defense and civilian government operation in the cyberspace domain, including software architecture, software product lines, interoperability, the integration of software-intensive systems, network and system resilience, and the increasing overlap of software and systems engineering. The SEI also provides direct support to more than 50 U.S. government entities in their efforts to efficiently and effectively acquire and sustain new software and systems.
Since joining the SEI in August 2004, Nielsen has overseen the development and expansion of CERT, which is responsible for the SEI’s network/cybersecurity efforts, and the growth of the SEI to an organization with more than 700 employees and operating revenues of $145 million annually. In addition, he has overseen an increase in research activities related to software architecture, complex systems, and cybersecurity to address both present and future challenges. In all areas, he has expanded interactions with key stakeholders, customers, and the global software engineering community. In 2012, Nielsen oversaw the successful spinout of the CMMI product suite and its partner network to the CMMI Institute, a subsidiary of Carnegie Innovations, Carnegie Mellon University’s technology commercialization enterprise.
Prior to joining the SEI in 2004, Nielsen served in the U.S. Air Force, retiring as a major general and commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory after 32 years of distinguished service. Nielsen is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and a fellow of both the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). In 2011, he received the Aerospace Software Engineering Award from AIAA, and in 2004, AIAA awarded him the Hap Arnold Award for Excellence in Aeronautical Program Management. In 2014, he was recognized by the Pittsburgh Business Times with a Diamond Award as one of the region’s top CEOs. And in 2016, AFCEA awarded him their Distinguished Award for Excellence in Engineering.
Nielsen earned a BS in physics from the U.S. Air Force Academy, an MBA from the University of New Mexico, and an MS and a PhD in applied science from the University of California, Davis.