Celeste Ford - 2018 SPIE Women in Optics Planner
Stellar Solutions, Inc., USA
Country of Birth: USA
In high school I was strong in math and science so I was advised to study engineering in college although I had no knowledge of what a career in that field would be about. When I saw "aerospace" at the top of the list of types of engineering I was sold as I wanted to learn something new and different.
I am the CEO and founder of a global provider of aerospace engineering services. My role is strategic in nature and I meet with lots of people supporting a variety of programs in both government (Mars mission, spy satellites, etc.) and commercial (ex. Internet in the sky) and we plan how our company can have high impact and solve their critical needs. We align those needs with our employees’ dream jobs. It doesn't get better than that: getting up every day to do cool important work that you love.
Removing obstacles is my job description. There have been many, and the excitement is to figure out how to solve the problem, not just worry about it or admire it. Probably the biggest challenge was starting a company, though I wish someone had told me to start my business sooner! Twenty-two years later I'm still thrilled with the result: a stellar team and stellar customers.
Engineering is a family-friendly field. You are judged by getting a project done well, not by how many hours you log in. It is results oriented. I have three grown children and that kind of support and environment at work made it possible to focus on the family as well.