Joseph L. Lengyel Q&A

Written by: 
Meredith Moriak Wright

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Joseph L. Lengyel

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Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel ('81)Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel ('81)
Washington, D.C.

Lessons learned:
One of the greatest lessons I've learned is how to address complex issues and problem solve. Maybe it goes back to chemistry. There's a certain logic; a dependable process you can often apply to find out why things happen. You get the facts, try and understand the environment and you can manage to some desired outcome. I'm often told that I'm good with people. I think that comes from working throughout your life in various situations and being able to adapt, which I learned growing up in an Air Force family.

Interaction with other alums:
A few years ago, I was invited to the Saudi Embassy for a function. I read the biography of the Saudi ambassador, Adel Al-Jubeir ('82), and discovered he also is a UNT grad. I met him that night and learned that we were at UNT at the same time. 

Outside of work:
I enjoy golfing and playing with my kids and my grandkids. My oldest son lives in Denver and is in school. My middle son is active duty Air Force based in Burlington, Vt., and is married with three kids — ages 4, 2 and 1. My daughter is a senior in high school.

Latest read:
I recently finished reading Joseph J. Ellis' His Excellency: George Washington. I enjoyed the authors attempt to try and convey how George Washington thought about things and his leadership and personal motivations where of interest to me. He was a very important person in our nation's history and was a very effective leader, surrounding himself with very capable people.

I was born in the Northeast, but we ended up in Texas about the time I went to college. We planted the flag in San Antonio, and I've considered that home since 1978.

Military careers:
There's a diversity of opportunity in the military. You can be a doctor, pilot, scientist or person involved with financial matters. Any job you can imagine in the public sector, we pretty much have in the military. It's a great way to get trained.

Service first:
I encourage people to find some way to give back. There are many ways to serve. It might be taking care of people in your community, in the Peace Corps or in the military. It's a wonderful thing to do something that helps others.

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