Taking Flight at UMW

Glen Ackermann works as a program executive for Northrup Grumman, where globe trotting is a given. Photo by Kimmie Barkley ’14

Glen Ackermann works as a program executive for Northrup Grumman, where globe trotting is a given.
Photo by Kimmie Barkley ’14

Call Glen Ackermann the consummate adventurer.

Whether he’s competing in obstacle races or flying half-way around the world, Ackermann lives daringly. His latest venture: seeking a master of business administration at the University of Mary Washington.

“I wanted to keep my mind fresh and active and an MBA is a great thing to have,” said 54-year-old Ackermann, who began taking classes last semester.

During the day, the retired Navy pilot works as a program executive for Northrup Grumman where he travels to Japan every six weeks to meet with potential clients.

When he’s not in Japan, he manages a team in the United States in offices from New York to D.C. This year alone, he has racked up 150,716 miles with United Airlines and that doesn’t include his regular flights to New York.

The Ackermanns took a whitewater rafting trip together as a family.

The Ackermanns took a whitewater rafting trip together as a family.

There is never a typical day for Ackermann, and he likes it that way as evidenced in his choice of extra-curricular activities. He enjoys competing in Spartan races, eight-mile obstacle course races that include climbing and running carrying weights.

“I like to keep challenging myself; it keeps my mind sharp and young,” said Ackermann, whose wife and four children, ranging in age from 19 to 28 come to cheer him on during races.

As a family, the Ackermanns also have faced challenges. Ackermann’s son Glen Connor was diagnosed with an untreatable cancer at age 6. Glen Connor, now 19, has fully recovered after participating in experimental cord blood transplant for Leukemia. Ackermann said the experience has made the family, including Lydia, his wife of 30 years, stronger than ever.

Glen Ackermann, back far right, traveled for many years with his family in tow during his service in the U.S. Navy.

Glen Ackermann, back far right, traveled for many years with his family in tow during his service in the U.S. Navy.

The family even joined together to go on a whitewater rafting trip one year, and three of his children joined him for a local obstacle race called Tribal quest. He’s also not alone in his academic pursuits. Two of his children are still in college, one at Virginia Tech and the other at Longwood University.  Ackermann’s degree will be his third, as he already has a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Old Dominion University and a master’s in international relations from the Navy Post Graduate School in Monterey, Calif.

As Ackermann embarks on his latest adventure at UMW, he also is discovering the joy of becoming a grandparent after just recently welcoming his first grandchild.

His outlook is bright as he looks to new beginnings and new adventures.

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