Gwynne Shotwell, 2018 Ralph Coats Roe Medal

Dec 17, 2018


The Ralph Coats Roe Medal, established in 1972, recognizes an outstanding contribution toward a better public understanding and appreciation of the engineer’s worth to contemporary society.

Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer of SpaceX in Hawthorne, Calif., is recognized for outstanding leadership in innovation for space commercialization; for technical contributions to the design of reusable rockets; and for dedication to the promotion of STEM education.

Ms. Shotwell joined SpaceX in 2002 as vice president of business development and built the Falcon vehicle family manifest to more than 70 launches, representing more than $10 billion in business. In her current position since 2008, Ms. Shotwell is responsible for day-to-day operations and for managing customer and strategic relations. She is also a member of the SpaceX board of directors.

SpaceX supports local science, technology, engineering and math programs as well as national engineering programs and competitions. Ms. Shotwell has helped raise more than $1.4 million for STEM education programs that reach thousands of students nationwide.

Prior to joining SpaceX, Ms. Shotwell spent more than 10 years at The Aerospace Corporation in Segundo, Calif., before serving as director of Microcosm Inc.’s Space Systems Division in Torrance, Calif.

Ms. Shotwell is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and received AIAA’s 2018 Goddard Astronautics Award. Among her other honors, she was appointed to the Export-Import Bank of the United States’ Advisory Committee and the Federal Aviation Administration’s Management Advisory Council in 2014, and was inducted into the Women in Technology International’s Hall of Fame in 2012.

Ms. Shotwell received her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and master’s degree in applied mathematics, with honors, from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., in 1986 and 1988, respectively. She serves as a university trustee and a member of the Advisory Council for Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering.

Video profile produced and written by Roger Torda and edited by Juan Yepes.

© The copyright of this program is owned by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

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