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Michael Kirkpatrick, CEO of DESE Research, Inc., continues a legacy of excellence.

Michael Kirkpatrick, CEO of DESE Research, Inc., continues a legacy of excellence by receiving the Vocational Excellence Award from The Huntsville Rotary Club, previously earned by his father, Wally Kirkpatrick, in 2008-09. This award is presented to Rotarians who are leaders in their vocation and have demonstrated high ethical standards in the workplace, made important contributions to the community through their vocation, and accomplished some outstanding or creative vocational achievement.

With over 29 years of leadership at DESE Research, Inc., and prior experience with esteemed companies like Intergraph and United Technologies, Michael embodies ethical standards, community contribution, and professional achievement. His extensive involvement in organizations like The Nature Conservancy of Alabama and leadership roles in various boards and councils showcase his commitment to continuing the tradition of excellence and giving back to both profession and community.

Mr. Kirkpatrick received a M. S. in Management (Technology) from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, 2000 and a Bachelor of Science, Management from Auburn University, 1981.


His Community and Professional involvement include:

The Nature Conservancy of Alabama, State Board of Directors, 2022 to present

Hudson Alpha Ambassador, 2022 to present

Leadership Alabama, State Board of Directors, 2021 to present

Chairman, City of Guntersville Airport Advisory Board, June 2013 to present

Boy Scouts of America:

Friends of Scouting Fundraising Chairman, 2013 to 2018

Greater Alabama Council Executive Board, 2000 to 2018

Troop Committee Chairman

Life Scout, Order of the Arrow

Leadership Alabama Graduate 2015

Auburn University Research Advisory Council, 2009 to 2020

Auburn Management Information Systems Advisory Council, President, 2009 to 2011

Association of the United States Army, Board of Directors, 2006-2009

Downtown Huntsville Rotary Club, Board of Directors, 2009

Rotary Strive youth mentoring program at Butler High School, 2013-2014

Land Trust of Huntsville and North Alabama, Board of Directors, 2001- 2005

Huntsville Aerospace Marketing Association, President, 2001

Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Class of 2000

President, Graduate Business Student Council, 2000

Chamber of Commerce Member, Huntsville and Guntersville, 2013



Phi Kappa Phi

Beta Gamma Sigma, Honorary Society for Business Colleges

May 2024

The Kirkpatrick Family and DESE Research were recognized by the American Heart Association at the 2024 Heart Ball with the “Heart of the Community Award.” 

The Kirkpatrick family has a long-standing history of philanthropy and community involvement in the Huntsville, Alabama area. Their contributions have been recognized and celebrated at the 2024 Heart Ball where they were honored as recipients of The Heart of the Community award.

Wally Kirkpatrick, the patriarch of the family, was a prominent figure in the community and contributed to various organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America, the United Way of America, and the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He was also responsible for the development of Huntsville's marina and port, Ditto Landing, on the Tennessee River. Wally's philanthropic efforts were recognized and appreciated by many, and his sons, Steve and Michael, are now carrying on his legacy.

Steve Kirkpatrick has been actively involved in community service since the late 1990s, contributing to organizations such as the American Heart Association, AIDS Action Coalition, and Huntsville Wild Game Cookout Committee. He has also served as a member of the board of directors for the United Way of Alabama and the United Way of Madison County. Steve’s dedication to community service has earned him several awards including the DESE Research Inc. Community Service Award for Exceptional Service to the Community.

Michael Kirkpatrick also has a strong commitment to community involvement and has served as the 2020 chairman as well as dedicated more than five years on the Executive Leadership Team for the Huntsville Alabama Heart Association, The Nature Conservancy of Alabama, and Leadership Alabama. He is also an ambassador for Hudson Alpha and was the Chairman of the City of Guntersville Airport Advisory Board. Michael's leadership and dedication to community service have earned several accolades and recognition.

The Kirkpatrick family's philanthropic efforts have significantly impacted the Huntsville community, and their contributions are truly deserving of The Heart of the Community award.

April 2024

DESE Research, Inc. awarded 3-year,
$95 million SWIFT Contract.

The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center (DEVCOM AvMC) has awarded DESE Research, Inc. with a 3-year, $95M contract titled Secure Weapon-system Integration Framework for Technology (SWIFT) for development of Science and Technology solutions to secure mission-critical Aviation and Missile systems.

DESE Research, Inc. will support U.S. Army weapon systems with cyber survivability technologies, cyber assessment methodologies, and Systems Security Engineering (SSE) initiatives that strengthen the defenses of the warfighter. Through advanced Research and Development (R&D), DESE will leverage Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) techniques, Zero Trust Technologies, and quantum resilience algorithms to foster state-of-the-art, risk-based mission assurance capabilities that inject cybersecurity into the entire acquisition lifecycle. SWIFT will be executed by the Cyber Security and System Protection division within DESE along with industry and academic partners such as the University of Alabama in Huntsville Center for Cybersecurity Research and Education.

“The DESE team is excited to lead this important work of providing cyber resiliency to Army weapon systems. We will ensure that U.S. weapons work when needed, even if under cyber-attack from adversaries,” said Michael Kirkpatrick, President and CEO of DESE Research, Inc.

March 2024

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