Published: Feb. 14, 2024

Diana Manning
Diana Manning, 2024 Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award recipient

Engineering Alumni Awards

2024 Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award recipient

Diana Manning (MechEngr'84) received her degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder in 1984 and has used that knowledge to obtain over 35 years of experience working primarily in the aerospace industry. Her career spans several areas such as design, analysis and systems integration in addition to leadership roles. Most of those 35 years, Manning worked at The Boeing Company, working primarily with jet engines and other propulsion systems. While at Boeing, she worked on all of the Seattle-based commercial models, contributing to Boeing’s success in the creation and operation of 747, 757, 767, 777 and 787 aircraft, and finishing as the chief propulsion engineer for 787 before retiring in 2017. Manning also spent time as a consultant at Base 2 Solutions/Belcan, an engineering services firm. She used her experiences to ensure her clients successfully completed various engineering projects, ranging from autonomous cars and large airplane freighters to rocket engines. 

During those 35 years in industry, Manning witnessed many changes in the technical world. Not only has technology changed and expanded, but the makeup of the workforce has shifted as well. Beyond Manning’s strong technical knowledge, she also understands the complexity of working with people. Her servant leadership style contributed immensely to her success in delivering positive results at Boeing. This success was amplified by her focus on employee development and mentorship, particularly in support of those she worked with in professional and personal matters.

In June 2022, Manning retired from Belcan. She keeps busy on various projects, including volunteering in several organizations (either as a board member or advisor) and as a mentor. She volunteered as a tutor in her local school district and coached underprivileged youth on problem-solving skills, helping to prepare them for college. Manning’s impact on developing future generations of engineers is clear through her community and professional activities, but she has also had an important impact on mechanical engineering students and the department at CU Boulder. As one of only a few women members of the Paul M. Rady Department of Mechanical Engineering’s advisory board, Manning has maintained her position as a vocal advocate for underserved and underrepresented members of the department. She consistently advocates for women and underrepresented minority faculty, staff, and students during meetings and with her actions. Notably, Manning was one of the contributing voices for the development of a course that is now required for professional master’s students in the department. She has generously given her time and expertise to this course, participating as a guest speaker every semester that it’s been taught. One of the most notable points of feedback received from a student after having her in a class session was, “This was one of the rare times where I actually did not want class to end.” These are just a few examples of the impactful work Manning has contributed to the department, the college and her community. She firmly believes engineering is the gateway to a better future, both for those working within it and society as a whole. Manning  is passionate about sharing her many years of experience, both in engineering and management, with those just beginning their journeys.