L. Lee Johns Lane
BS Chemistry’62; MS’74; PhD’76
Dr. L. Lee Johns Lane holds three degrees from the University of Arkansas and has the special distinction of being the first female to complete a PhD in the College of Engineering at the University of Arkansas.
After completing her undergraduate degree in Chemistry, Lee worked for Dow Chemical Company in Michigan for 10 years before returning to Fayetteville to pursue her Master’s degree in Operations Research and her PhD in Engineering. In 1976 Lee moved to California and joined the faculty at San Diego State and National Universities where she taught courses in systems analysis, computer languages and statistics to undergraduate and graduate students.
Her background and experience helped Lee launch a successful career in the Aerospace Industry beginning at the Corporate Offices of General Dynamics. There she worked as a Contracts and Pricing Manager responsible for evaluating corporate-wide proposals before submission to military customers. She also served as Program Manager over the Electronics Division at General Dynamics Electronics working to identify and direct all research and development activities in the major emphasis areas of the company. She next worked as Program Director at Northrop Electronics, building equipment for the Department of Defense and other defense contractors and managing classified defense programs. In 2002, Lee retired as Vice President and part owner of Autek Systems, a privately held defense company where she was responsible for finance, program performance and human resources.
Lee has served on various boards for organizations including Sippican, Inc., Autek Systems, Arkansas Tech University and the Burnham Institute Cancer Center. She is a member of the Arkansas Academy of Industrial Engineers, the Institute of Industrial Engineering, the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, the American Institute of Industrial Engineers and the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics.
Lee and her husband Sam McCutcheon have eight children between them and reside in Lee’s hometown of Paris, AR. Since retirement she has remained active in the community serving on many boards and committees on the local, state and national levels. She also spends as much time as possible with her three grandchildren.
The results of Lee’s passion and drive can be seen in the number of female students who are completing all levels of education in the College of Engineering who may never know how recently the path for their success was cleared both in academia and industry.