Alumni Spotlight – Chris Hicks ’99

Webb Education: Tools for Life


Like nearly all Webb Institute alumni, earning that dual bachelor’s degree in Naval Architecture and Marine engineering made for four of the most challenging years of my life. So when graduation day was upon me, I was more than ready for the real world. But first things first, let’s party like it’s 1999…because it was!

I headed back home to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where I hired on at Ingalls Shipbuilding. Honestly, I was expecting it to be a short-lived job; just get my feet wet, so to speak and really just catch my breath after Webb. What I hadn’t expected was for my first job to lead to such interesting opportunities and challenges that I would find myself with the same corporation for the next 20 years.

Webb provided me with the necessary tools to succeed in over a dozen different roles throughout my career, including basic naval architecture tasking, field engineering, research and development, advanced ship design, and project leadership. Beyond the engineering, I had the opportunity to lead hundreds of millions of dollars in program pursuits and lead proposal developments across commercial and government sectors. With the experience gained through my varied roles, and a constant desire to make a significant impact within the company, I was given the opportunity to move into our Corporate Development and Strategy organization, where I am today.


In my current role, I support senior leadership with enterprise strategy and key acquisitions, including those that led to the stand up of a third Huntington Ingalls Industries division, creating a path for growth beyond shipbuilding. My strong technical background and strategic experience has allowed me the opportunity to coordinate our enterprise focus on Unmanned and Autonomous Systems, truly the future of the maritime industry.

Work-Life Balance

Although my career doesn’t always allow me to be home as much as I’d like, I have to say I’ve been blessed. My wife, Jennifer and I have been married for 11 years and live in Mobile, Alabama, with our two amazing daughters, Riley (9) and Kennedy (7). My love for music and water sports continues, and I am fortunate to have outlets that support this. I am honored to be a member of the South Coast Church worship team playing acoustic guitar, an experience that has strengthened much more than musical skills. And living on the Gulf Coast allows me opportunities to surf, wakeboard, windsurf, sail, and much more. Truth is, time does really fly when you’re having fun.


Anyone who knows Webb’s mission knows that this school is unique in what it offers, and few schools can create opportunities and open doors the way Webb can. From life-long friendships around the globe to a fulfilling career chasing my personal aspirations, I’m truly thankful for what Webb has done for me.

Christopher and Jennifer’s daughters, Kennedy and Riley, striking a pose with one of the Webb tigers during this year’s Homecoming.