USC Viterbi Industrial and Systems Engineering alumna, Lieutenant General Stayce D. Harris ’81 has been awarded the 2019 Captains of Industry Award, a significant honor from the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE). The award was presented at the IISE annual conference and expo during May in Orlando, Florida.
The IISE Captains of Industry Award is presented annually to those who have used industrial engineering methods to generate significant success in their company and industrial engineers who demonstrate outstanding leadership at a national and international level.
Harris was the first African-American woman to earn the rank of lieutenant general in U.S. Air Force, a rank she achieved when in 2016 she was nominated by President Barack Obama to the post of assistant vice chief of staff and director of the air staff for the United States Air Force.
More recently, Harris has served as Inspector General of the U.S. Air Force from November 2017 – January 2019. In this role she reported to the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force on matters concerning Air Force effectiveness, efficiency and the military discipline of active duty, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard forces. In this position she also oversaw the inspection and evaluation system for all Air Force nuclear and conventional forces.
Harris received a commission in the Air Force through USC’s Air Force ROTC program and served on active duty until joining the Air Force Reserve in 1991.
Harris was also commander of the Air Force Reserve’s 22nd Air Force at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Georgia, where she oversaw more than 15,000 citizen airmen, 105 unit-equipped aircraft and worldwide operational missions. The missions she commanded included specialized hurricane hunter, fire suppression and aerial spray missions.
On February 24, 2001, then a lieutenant colonel, she became the first African-American woman to command an Air Force flying squadron, the 729th Airlift Squadron at March AFB, in California. She later became a wing vice commander, a commander of an air expeditionary group, and subsequently a wing commander of the 459th Air Refueling Wing at Andrews AFB, in Maryland.
In addition to her BS in Industrial and Systems Engineering from USC, Harris holds a Master of Aviation Management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach.
The Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering congratulates Harris on this significant distinction and recognition of her career achievements.