Wendi B. Carpenter, age 66, is a retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral (2 star) and a trailblazer of women in Naval Aviation. In October 2011, she completed a distinguished and highly decorated 34-year career, having been the first woman aviator selected to Flag rank. As an aviator, she operated as a mission and aircraft commander in a specialized communications aircraft, deploying with her crew of eighteen throughout the Pacific in support of the nation’s strategic nuclear triad. At more senior ranks, her duty assignments included commanding or serving as deputy in large and complex organizations, often leading thousands of personnel while overseeing worldwide maritime and air operations, logistics (Navy Pentagon), facilities management (Deputy, Navy Region Southeast), and training of strike group and joint forces (Vice Commander SJFHQ, U.S. Joint Forces Command and Deputy, U.S. Second Fleet). She also served in key advisory roles and board positions with private, education, and government organizations and agencies, as well as being heavily involved in developing the Navy’s Strategic Plan (regional and global risk assessment and asset allocation). Her final assignment in the Navy was as “Navy’s Innovator” – the Commander of the Navy Warfare Development Command (NWDC). At the helm of NWDC, she spearheaded the systems development and deployment of unmanned vehicles (air, surface and sub-surface), small satellites, cloud cyber and simulation capability, and other highly sophisticated classified technology innovation. With high level clearances, she oversaw a major R&D budget, partnering closely with NASA, government agencies, the Navy Research Lab, the Warfare Centers, and major university labs to take technology innovation from concept to manufacture. Rear Admiral Carpenter was also often called upon to speak or represent the Navy at key defense industry forums and in coalition and international engagements. Noted for her work with Women in Aviation International, Women in Sea Services Organization, and the U.S. Institute of Peace, she was also a “right-hand” and advisor to the Navy Chief and Vice Chief of Naval Operations on roadmaps and strategies for women and minority recruitment, retention, and career opportunity.
Rear Admiral Carpenter served as the tenth President of the State University of New York Maritime College from 2011 to 2013 and as Special Envoy for Maritime Matters from 2011 to 2013. She was instrumental in developing a concept for new training ships for the state maritime colleges and initiated the pivotal and foundational legislative engagements which resulted in Congressional funding. Rear Admiral Carpenter served as a Strategic Advisor to the Secretary General World Maritime Organization and World Maritime University Board of Governors, a post graduate research institution in maritime and ocean-related studies, from October 2013 to May 2015.
Rear Admiral Carpenter is a member of the Board of Advisors of Kokes Marine Technologies LLC, a marine research and component testing and evaluation company. She previously served on the board of directors of SkyWater Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ: SKYT), a United States based semiconductor engineering facility and foundry, where she was Chair of the Compensation Committee and strategic advisor on government sector opportunities. From 2016-2019, she served as a Member of the Affordable Housing Advisory Council to the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, a United States Federal Home Loan Bank and regularly spoke at forums designed to promote greater opportunity in housing and education for underserved populations. She has served in various capacities with numerous nonprofit organizations also.
Rear Admiral Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Georgia, a Master of Arts in International Relations from Salve Regina University, and she is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval War College, with an emphasis in strategic studies. Rear Admiral Carpenter has also completed numerous executive courses in business, organizational transformation, and diplomacy, including the Capstone Program at the National Defense University and the Senior Policy Course at the NATO School.
Rear Admiral Carpenter is the Principal and Founder of Gold Star Strategies LLC, a boutique consulting firm specializing in executive development, governance, strategic planning, fund-raising work with nonprofits, and business development / legislative strategies on behalf of small companies.