Underwriters Laboratories has welcomed Dr. Charlotte M. Farmer as senior vice president and chief operating officer (COO). Farmer will guide strategic growth and drive enterprise excellence by leading operations and building out a global infrastructure of partners.
Selected from a national search of top executive talent, Farmer will report to President and CEO Terrence R. Brady. She will provide essential leadership in achieving Underwriters Laboratories’ goal of building a vibrant, adaptive campus of the future where breakthroughs across a broad range of safety science initiatives occur regularly and frequently. “We are delighted that Dr. Farmer has joined the Underwriters Laboratories executive team,” Brady said. “She has the technical skill, extensive network, and a track record of successes that we need to shepherd Underwriters Laboratories through our ambitious growth agenda. As we expand the breadth, depth, and impact of our safety mission, her considerable strategic and transformation leadership expertise will help shape our organization’s trajectory.”
As Farmer builds the support systems necessary for Underwriters Laboratories to investigate a wide array of safety challenges and emerging threats, she will partner with executives across several sectors to forge relationships with universities, nongovernmental organizations, and government agencies. “I am thrilled to be a part of the Underwriters Laboratories family,” Farmer said. “The organization is a storied brand whose mission is vital not only to understanding and exploring global safety challenges, but also at a global scale in the advancement of transformative research, standards development, and partner collaborations. Having led operations at another nationally recognized research and development organization, I’m both humbled and excited by the enormity of Underwriters Laboratories’ mission as a preeminent safety science organization and look forward to extending the reach and impact of our safety science work.”
Farmer comes to Underwriters Laboratories after a decade at The MITRE Corporation, where she directed operations for 8,000 employees. She also worked directly with major federal government clients to foster technological innovation through laboratories and processes that helped speed ideas to market. During times of significant national stresses such as the pandemic and terrorism, she reached out rapidly to principals in high-tech and related industries, academia, and government, forming agile coalitions that built resources to help counteract the threats.
Farmer graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Tennessee Technological University. She holds a Master of Science in chemical engineering from the University of Tennessee, an MBA from the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School at Chapel Hill, and a Doctor of Engineering from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Among many professional honors, Farmer was named a 2021 Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International and included in Savoy Magazine’s listing of Most Influential Black Executives in Corporate America in 2020.
She currently serves as board chair of Mobility Unlimited Technology Worldwide, a nonprofit startup that performs research and data collection to safely adapt spaces for wheelchair users, blind citizens, and mobility aid users. She also holds board membership or advisory roles with HireVue®, Crittenton Services of Greater Washington, and The National GEM Consortium.