Scott Carson oral history interview
Retired Boeing executive Scott Carson is interviewed about his life and career. He discusses his lifelong interest in aviation and his nearly four decades at the Boeing Company, from his initial job as an engineering aid to his role as CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. He also shares stories about his father, Boeing test pilot Harold Carmen “Kit” Carson. Topics discussed include his personal background, his experiences with Boeing Defense and Boeing Commercial, his involvement with various aircraft projects, and his thoughts on career planning.
Scott Edward Carson is a retired Boeing executive whose career with the company spans almost four decades, from the 1970s to the early 2000s. He was born in August 1946 in Seattle, Washington, to Boeing test pilot Harold Carmen “Kit” Carson and his wife, Virginia. As a child, he flew sailplanes with his father and his friends, which fostered an early interest in aviation. At age 17, he performed his first solo flight, flying a Cessna 140.
Carson attended high school in Mercer Island, Washington and also took classes at Edison Technical School (Seattle, Washington) during his summer breaks. After graduating in 1964, he joined the United States Air Force. He served in Thailand as an armament crew chief with the 1st Air Commando 609th Special Operations Squadron. He completed his tour in December 1967 and was discharged in 1968.
In November 1968, Carson joined the Boeing Company as an engineering aid on the 747 project. Laid off in 1970 as part of the company’s “big crunch,” he then returned to school to pursue his bachelor’s degree in business administration. He graduated from Washington State University in 1972 and, after a brief stint with Safeco Insurance, rejoined the Boeing Company in 1973.
Over the course of his career, Carson held a number of different positions in both the Defense and Commercial divisions of the company. His roles included financial analyst for the B-1 Bomber Avionics program, a manager of the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) project, Executive Vice President of Business Resources for Boeing Space and Defense, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Boeing Commercial, President of Connexion by Boeing, Vice President of Sales, and Chief Executive Officer and President of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. He retired from the company in 2009.
Carson and his wife Linda are strong supporters of Washington State University. Scott serves on the Board of Regents and as a trustee of the WSU Foundation. In 2005, he and Linda founded the Carson Center for Student Success. In 2014, the university renamed its business school the Carson College of Business.
Biographical information derived from interview, from a news article published by Washington State University, and from additional information provided by interviewee.
Hollenbeck, Cindy. “Scott Carson awarded WSU Foundation’s top honor.” Washington State University. Accessed September 9, 2019. https://news.wsu.edu/2017/10/06/scott-carson-award/