Patrick M. Shanahan was born on 27 July 1962, in the state of Washington. His father served in Vietnam.
He obtained a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington and two advanced degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): a Master of Science in mechanical engineering and a Master of Business Administration from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.
Shanahan started his career at Boeing Corporation in 1986.
During his time at the aircraft manufacturing corporation, Shanahan was responsible for both civilian and military areas of work. He held senior positions in the 767 programme. He also served as the general manager of the Boeing 757 production programme.
In December of 2004, Shanahan was appointed a vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defence Systems and took part in the development of laser systems during his term.
From 2007 to 2008, he led the Boeing 787 Dreamliner development programme.
Shanahan assumed the position of a senior vice president of Boeing’s Commercial Airplane Programmes in 2008. As senior vice president, he was involved in the financial management of the 737, 747, 767, 777 and 787 programmes.
In April 2016, he was appointed as senior vice president for operations at Boeing.
On July 19, 2017, Shanahan was appointed the 33rd Deputy Defence Secretary.
Patrick Shanahan is a member of the Royal Aeronautical Society, Society of Manufacturing Engineers, and American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Associate.
From 2012 to 2017, Shanahan was a member of the Board of Trustees at University of Washington, serving as its chairman between 2016 and 2017.
The incoming defence secretary is divorced and has three children.