New NIUAA Board member Divya Behl, '05, M.S. '08, Urges Importance of Giving Back
By Tony Scott
Divya Behl, ’05, M.S. ‘08, describes her alma mater as being pivotal in her life. As she joins the NIUAA Board of Directors, she praises her time at NIU and stresses the importance of giving back.
“The connections I have made here have fostered many moments in both my private and social life,” she says “The friendships and mentorships have been paramount to helping to define who I am as a person and filling gaps along the way. It is our job as industry partners to continue to give back to those behind us.”
Behl, who earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in industrial and systems engineering from NIU, currently serves as vice president and general manager of Woodward, Inc.’s hydraulics business group, within the company’s aerospace segment. Woodward, Inc., is an independent designer, manufacturer, and service provider of control solutions for the aerospace and industrial markets.
Behl previously held the role of vice president of the program management office and director of the program management office at the company’s systems test facillity. In her current role, she oversees profit and loss accountability for the overall innovation, operations and business strategy for the company’s hydraulics business, which delivers a comprehensive portfolio of world-leading components, controls, and system solutions.
Prior to her experience at Woodward, Behl was vice president of operations and engineering at Driv-Lok, a manufacturer of fasteners and joining components. She also served as director of operations and industrial engineering at Driv-Lok. Prior to Driv-Lok, she was manager of the project management office at Sears Holding Corporation.
Behl is currently a candidate for a Ph.D. in industrial and systems engineering at the University of Texas-Arlington, where she has completed her comprehensive examination and is finishing her dissertation on exploring the relationship between systems thinking and project success.
Behr expressed pride at balancing success at home and at work.
“Raising a family and being a professional at the same time is something that I am so grateful for the honor of being able to do,” she says. “Being a mom to two beautiful children, a wife to an amazing man and at the same time being the leader of a business unit of more than 1200 people is something that I am so proud of. I use the same principles in my life as a homemaker as I do in my life as an executive. Humility, grace and curiosity pave the road for my journey on this path.”
Behl has stayed engaged and involved with her alma mater in many ways through the years, including serving as a member of the Engineering and Technology Alumni Society (ETAS) board of directors, partnering with CEET during career fairs, serving as a mentor and presenter to the Society of Women Engineers, sponsoring and serving as a judge for senior design projects, and attending several sporting events as a loyal Huskie.
In addition to her executive experience, Behl created and hosted the radio show “Weekend Wisdom” on a Dallas FM radio station from 2010 to 2012, sharing tips and tricks to help listeners save time, money and energy.
Behl has served on a number of boards in her academic and professional careers, including the Dean’s Student Advisory Council for the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology, the Society of Women Engineers, the Engineering Speech Club, and the Institute of Industrial Engineers.
Behl has received several honors and awards during her career, including the 2015 STEP Ahead Award from the Manufacturing Institute and the Multicultural Leadership Award in 2015 from the Illinois Diversity Council.
Behl says NIU was incredibly impactful in her professional life.
“Aside from technical teachings, NIU taught me the value of practical learning, teamwork and community involvement,” she said. “It taught me how important the
public/private partnership is and how we help each other constantly. I cannot thank NIU enough for the role it played in my development.”