Dr. Renso Caporali
Grumman Corporation


Dr. Caporali was born in Batavia, New York in 1933.  He attended Akron Central School in Akron, New York and graduated from there in 1950. He then attended Clarkson College of Technology (now Clarkson University) on a partial academic scholarship and graduated with highest honors with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree in 1954.  After military service, Dr. Caporali returned to Clarkson for one year and graduated in 1960 with a Master of Mechanical Engineering degree.

Dr. Caporali started his professional career with the Linde Air Products Company as a mechanical engineer in June of 1954.  In December of that year, he enlisted in the Navy as a Naval Aviation Cadet.  In September of 1955 he was commissioned as an Ensign and was designated in 1956 as a Naval Aviator.  He then served as a pilot with Airborne Early Warning Squadron 14 until released from active duty in August of 1958.  He remained in the US Navy Reserve and flew as a “weekend warrior” for VP-831 attached to Naval Air Station New York until 1968.
Dr. Caporali began his career with the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation in 1959 as a structural flight test engineer.  In 1961 he competed for and was granted the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences (now part of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics) flight test engineering fellowship for two years of study at Princeton University.  This resulted in three degrees: Master of Aeronautical Engineering in 1962; Master of Arts in Aeronautical Engineering in 1963 and Doctor of Philosophy in Aeronautical Engineering in 1964.

While wrapping up his Princeton studies, Dr. Caporali continued to advance within Grumman.  In 1963 he became Assistant to the Director of Flight Test for Advanced Development.  From 1964 to 1966, he was Assistant Manager of Flight Test Vehicle Technology.  From 1966 to 1968, he was a technical assistant to Grant Hedrick, Vice President of Engineering.  This last position led to his assignment to the F-14 program when Grumman won the competition for that program and on which he held positions of increasing responsibility June 1968 through 1973. In June 1973, he was appointed Director of Design Engineering for the Grumman Aerospace Corporation.  After two years he was named Director of Advanced US Air Force Tactical Aircraft.  In 1975 he became Director of Advanced Systems Technology, a post he held for five years.

In May 1980, Dr. Caporali was elected Vice President of Development for the Grumman Aerospace Corporation.  In September 1983, he was elected Senior Vice President of Technical Operations and assumed responsibility for the corporation’s research, engineering, flight test and integrated logistics support departments.

In February 1985, the Grumman Aerospace Corporation was reorganized into several divisions and he was appointed President of its Aircraft Systems Division.  Election to the Grumman Corporation Board of Directors soon followed.  In June 1988, Dr. Caporali was elected Vice Chairman of Corporate Technology, a position that involved the management and coordination of the technical resources of the entire Grumman Corporation.  He was elected Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Grumman on July 19, 1990.  He held this position until Grumman was acquired by the Northrop Corporation in 1994, to form what is today the Northrop Grumman Corporation.

In 1988, Dr. Caporali was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.  In May of 2000, he was elected to the grade of Honorary Fellow.  He served on the Board of Trustees of Clarkson University and Polytechnic University and on the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Advisory Board of Princeton.  He also served on the NASA Research and Technology Advisory Committee on Aeronautics and the Navy League Industrial Executive Board.3

After the formation of the Northrop Grumman Corporation, Dr. Caporali served on its Board of Directors; however, he soon left to join the Raytheon Corporation as its Senior Vice President for Development.  He subsequently acquired the additional title and responsibility of Chief Engineer.

In 1998, Dr. Caporali retired and he and his wife Norma returned to Western New York from which they had departed in 1956.  They now reside in Clarence, New York.

<< Back to Inductees