C. Michael Petters, president and CEO of Huntington Ingalls Industries and U.S. Army Brigadier General Susan Davidson will deliver the guest commencement addresses Saturday, May 3, to the graduate and undergraduate classes of Saint Leo University. BG Davidson, who will deliver the morning message, and Petters, who will speak in the afternoon, are brother and sister, hailing from Dade City, having grown up in nearby Saint Joseph, just north of San Antonio.
Serving in the military is a Petters family tradition. All six of the Petters children served in the Armed Services.
Petters, who earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1982, served aboard the nuclear-powered submarine USS George Bancroft and spent five years in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He currently serves on the board of directors for the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation and the board of trustees of the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation.
BG Davidson received her commission in 1983 and began active duty in 1986. In the decades since, she had made remarkable contributions to the military by commanding at the company, battalion, and brigade level in peace and war. Among her many assignments, she commanded the 870th Transportation Company including a deployment in support of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm; the 49th movement Control Battalion during Operation Iraqi Freedom; the 599th Transportation Group, and deployed forward to simultaneously serve as commander of the 595th Terminal Transportation Group in Kuwait serving a total of 29 months deployed while in command.
When the siblings entered the service, they were each commissioned by their father, a lieutenant colonel in the Florida National Guard. The future brigadier general was committed to service and her country. However, she was also devoted to her family and community. In 1986, she delayed her commitment to the U.S. Army by three months, so she could help replant the family orange groves (C.J. Petters & Sons Grove and Pasture Service), that had been damaged by a hard freeze.
Petters oversees America’s largest military shipbuilder, Huntington Ingalls Industries, in Newport News, VA where he also serves on the HII board of directors. He assumed his current role in March, 2011. Prior to this appointment and since 2008, Petters served as president of Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding. Previous to this, he served as president of Northrop’s Grumman’s Newport News sector. In 1993, he earned a master’s degree in business administration from the College of William and Mary.
Brigadier General Davidson was a cadet at the New Mexico Military Institute and earned a chemistry degree from New Mexico State University. She holds a Master of Military Art and Science degree in advanced military studies, and a Master of Arts degree in national security and strategic studies. She served as deputy commanding general and director of operations for Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command. In June, 2012, she assumed command of Defense Logistics Agency Distribution, which is the leading provider of global distribution support to America’s military.