Commander, U.S. Navy (Ret.); Executive Director, Defense Alliance
Chip Laingen is the Executive Director of the Defense Alliance, and Communications and R&D Director for Minnesota Wire. Defense Alliance is the region’s defense industry network, with members in 26 states. The Alliance won the Veterans Small Business Champion of the Year Award in 2007, and became one of the nation’s three Advanced Defense Technology Clusters in 2010. He is on the executive commission of the Minnesota Science & Technology Authority, the board of directors for AirSpace Minnesota, and was selected as an Executive Fellow for the University of Minnesota’s Center for Integrative Leadership in 2012. In 2011, he joined the graduate faculty at the University of Minnesota’s Technological Leadership Institute. He is a past President of the Twin Cities Council of the Navy League and is the owner of Laingen Communications.
Commander Laingen is a 21-year Veteran of the U.S. Navy. A 1983 graduate of the University of Minnesota NROTC program, he earned a B. A. degree in International Relations. After being designated a Naval Aviator in 1985, he was assigned to various seagoing squadrons aboard carriers, cruisers, frigates and destroyers, amassing 3,000 fixed and rotary wing flight hours, including combat flight time during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1990-1991. He is also a qualified Officer of the Deck – Underway.
On shore duty, CDR Laingen was assigned to the NROTC Unit, University of Minnesota in 1991, where he served as Third Class Instructor/Assistant Professor of Naval Science and as Executive Officer/Associate Professor of Naval Science. He earned his M. A. Degree in Public Affairs from the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, and was a co-awardee of the Student Leadership Award upon graduation. He was awarded Navy subspecialty codes in General Political Science and Education. He served as one of the two annual Admiral Arthur S. Moreau scholars for Ph. D. study in International Relations and Strategy at the Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, earning the Navy’s National Security sub specialty code and Joint Professional Military Education. CDR Laingen was the Special Assistant and Speechwriter to the Secretary of the Navy during the tenures of the 70th and 71st Secretaries.
His final tour was as the Executive Officer and Commanding Officer of Helicopter Training Squadron Eight in Pensacola, Florida. During his tour as CO the squadron was named the number one advanced squadron among 17 in the naval air training command, and received the Chief of Naval Operations Aviation Safety Award and the Secretary of the Navy Safety Award, as the squadron surpassed 900,000 mishap free flight hours. He retired from active duty in September 2004.
CDR Laingen’s awards include the Meritorious Service Medal with two Gold Stars, the Navy Commendation Medal with three Gold Stars and the Navy Achievement Medal with one Gold Star. He grew up in a Foreign Service family and lived in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Malta, and his hometown of Bethesda, Maryland. He is married to Laura Anne Jaszewski, a former naval officer (General Unrestricted Line) and registered nurse. They have three children, and reside in Woodbury, Minnesota.