Class of 1954, 1987
A native New Mexican, Lt. Gen. Leo Marquez attended New Mexico State University’s Air Force ROTC program and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in zoology in 1954.
He received his master’s degree in business administration from George Washington University, was a distinguished graduate of the Air Command and Staff College and the National Defense College, and earned an MBA from the Advanced Management Program for Executives, Carnegie Mellon University.
He served his country for 33 years as a U.S. Air Force officer, and most of his time spent in the aircraft maintenance, supply, transportation and program management. Affectionately known as the “Godfather” of maintenance, Marquez revolutionized the Air Force’s approach to aircraft maintenance, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the occupation. Other career highlights include the implementation of the Air Force Combat Ammunitions Center as well as the maintenance badge that all Air Force maintainers now wear above their hearts.
Marquez received many honors, including the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with one oak leaf cluster and the Bronze Star with V for valor for combat in the Republic of Vietnam. The Lt. Gen. Leo Marquez Award of Maintenance Excellence was named in his honor. It is given to civilian and military Air Force maintenance personnel in recognition of superior service.
After he retired from the military, Marquez held several high profile positions, including corporate vice president of an environmental engineering company, board chairman and CEO of an aerospace company, and CEO of his own consulting company specializing in airlines and defense matters. He was an NMSU distinguished alumnus and received an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree in 1987.