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2020 In-House Counsel Awards: Tyrus R. Ulmer

Public company

Chief Counsel, The Boeing Company

Tyrus R. UlmerFrom toy airplanes to the U.S. Air Force to Boeing, the world’s greatest aerospace company. Tyrus Ulmer always knew he wanted a job connected with airplanes. His career trajectory shows that he truly is all about flying.

After graduating from college, Ulmer joined the U.S. Air Force as an aerospace engineer, working on several different weapons systems in a laboratory setting. Another part of his dream opened before him when he was chosen for the Air Force legal education program.

He attended law school at Saint Louis University, all expenses paid, and then practiced law in the Air Force. Soon, Ulmer’s dream job came along: working on the in-house legal team at The Boeing Company.

“This job is an ideal fit for me,” he said. “I didn’t have a grand plan for this. Being part of the terrific products Boeing builds is my dream come true. Some days, I still ask myself if this is real.”

Ulmer said he appreciates the opportunities he has to support Boeing while the company builds outstanding products, including the fighter aircraft built in St. Louis. He is also fascinated by the technology involved in building and flying autonomous aircraft.

One of Ulmer’s favorite sights is looking out of his window at Boeing and seeing fighter aircraft doing takeoffs at the adjacent St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

“They get to the end of the runway, then they do a max-power takeoff,” he said. “They go straight up and climb and accelerate. I get to look at that every day.”

At Boeing, Ulmer leads a team of attorneys for the services supply chain, the group that supplies parts and consumables to airline and government customers around the world.

“This is one of the largest supply chains in the world,” he said. “It’s a privilege to support that group. Our U.S. government customers include the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and the Air Force.”

Amid all of the challenges of 2020, Ulmer and his team are helping Boeing to navigate the travails resulting from COVID-19 and quarantine, as well as continuing with usual business.

“My goal in how I view things and respond is always to look on the positive side, to look for the good, to assume good intent,” he said. “In this year like no other, we are working to come out on the other side not only surviving but also thriving.”

Leisure time is all about family for Ulmer, although those favorite trips to Disney World are on hold for now. He has earned a pilot’s license and flown in the past, but he much prefers the business of working with planes to actually flying them.

Ulmer said he could have happily continued as an aerospace engineer, but his career as an attorney with Boeing continues to amaze and challenge him every day. Now, that’s living the dream.