Buy Your Tickets Now for the Pioneers Fall Banquet!

It is that time of year again! Buy your tickets now for the Missile, Space, and Range Pioneers Fall Banquet!

October 25th, 2019

Courtyard by Marriott Cocoa Beach

5:30 PM Social Hour | 7:00 PM Dinner

Join us at the Courtyard by Marriott in Cocoa Beach, Florida, as we we honor modern day women pioneers.

Our event will feature a panel with Carol Craig, Founder and CEO of Craig Technologies, Kelly DeFazio, Program Director for Production of the Orion Spacecraft at Lockheed Martin, and Gretchen Sauerman, Vice President for Research/Corporate and Government Relations at the Florida Institute of Technology. Our panel moderator is Emilee Speck, Space Journalist for the Orlando CBS station, News 6 WKMG, and its website,

The Weiss School will also be updating the Pioneers on their Wolverine CubeSat Development Team and other projects.

Corporate tables are available on request. Please contact

This event is open to the public. There will be a sit down dinner and a cash bar. Social hour begins at 5:30 and dinner will be served at 7:00.

Tickets are limited so purchase yours today!

Student and

Active Military Tickets


Student/Active Military









Meet our Speakers!

Carol Craig

A self-described accidental entrepreneur and Unconventional CEO®, Carol Craig is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Craig Technologies, headquartered in Cape Canaveral, FL. Growing Craig Technologies from one person in 1999 to nearly 400 associates with steadily increasing revenues, Craig Technologies and its subsidiaries Craig Technologies Aerospace Solutions (CTAS) and GCC, LLC lead nationwide operations with employees in over 20 different states.

As CEO, Carol oversees corporate operations to ensure quality service-delivery for her commercial and government customers, offering commercial space operations onboard the International Space Station, design engineering, precision machining and fabrication, avionics development, systems engineering and integration, software design and development, information technology support, training and courseware development, integrated logistics and range operations support.

In January of 2018, following the successful conclusion of a non-reimbursable five-year Space Act Agreement (SAA) with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Craig Technologies finalized the relocation of its Headquarters, Engineering, and Manufacturing divisions. The new facilities include a 30,000-square foot campus that houses corporate, engineering and avionics staff. The engineering division provides quality in-house Design Engineering services from up-front analysis to integration, assembly and test in support of customers such as the Department of Defense, NASA, Boeing, General Dynamics Electric Boat, and Sierra Nevada Corporation.

Craig Technologies’ avionics division, which is a part of CTAS, spans an 12,000-square foot area and produces a wide range of space system flight and ground cables and electronic chassis for such customers as Blue Origin, Sierra Nevada, and NASA.

Craig Technologies’ manufacturing division, is housed in a 20,000-square foot precision manufacturing facility also located in Cape Canaveral.  The manufacturing operation provides engineers, technicians and state of the art equipment to support precision machining, fabrication and assembly for prototypes, test articles, one-offs, and low-rate initial production up through high volume swiss screw machining production for companies such as Boeing, United Launch Alliance, Northrup Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Harris, Pacific Scientific, NASA and other government agencies.

As a P-3C Orion Naval Flight Officer, Carol was the first female aviator to join her P-3C Orion squadron. She holds a BA in Computer Science from Knox College, a BS in Computer Science Engineering from the University of Illinois, and an MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Ms. Craig is pursuing a PhD in Systems Engineering at Florida Tech in Melbourne, FL.

In 2017, Carol was the recipient of the 2017 “Making a Difference” award by The American Business Women’s Association Oceanside Charter Chapter. In 2016, Carol received a Special Congressional Recognition award from Congressman Bill Posey during Hispanic Heritage month for her outstanding and invaluable service to the local community. In 2015, Carol was selected as the Small Business Administration’s Small Business Person of the Year for the State of Florida and South Florida District, and was recognized as the national first runner-up finalist in Washington, DC. The National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) recognized Carol with the Kathleen P. Sridhar Small Business Executive of the Year Award in 2013, and she received the prestigious 2013 HENAAC Entrepreneur of the Year Award by the Great Minds in STEM. In 2008, the Society of Women Engineers recognized Carol as Entrepreneur of the Year.

Carol has also been featured in several publications, including The University of Illinois Alumni Magazine, Florida Trend, Washington Technology,, Orlando Business Journal, and Florida Today.

Kelly DeFazio

Kelly DeFazio is the Program Director for Production of the Lockheed Martin Spacecraft Orion in support of NASA’s Space Exploration Plan to the Moon and Beyond. Her responsibilities include leading the Supply Chain (External and Internal); Assembly Test & Launch Ops (ATLO); and Production Engineering Organizations.

2015-2018: Kelly served as the Director of F35 Production Engineering for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. Her responsibilities include manufacturing engineering, test engineering, manufacturing planning, and root cause and corrective action across all F35 production sites. She also managed the producibility and affordability projects for F35 cost reduction.

2011-2014: Kelly was appointed as the Courtland Site Director for LM Space Company (LMSC) in Alabama. Her responsibilities included Procurement thru Assembly Integration & Test (AI&T) and delivery of Missile Systems. In addition, she managed and maintained the 660+ Acre ordnance rated facility with over 125K Sq Ft of production floor space.

2005-2010: Kelly held a series of increasingly responsible technical and managerial positions including Program Manager for the LV-2 product line and for the Re-Entry Vehicles within the Targets and Countermeasures Programs (LMSC) in Huntsville, AL. As program manager, she led a multifunctional domestic and international team including: systems engineers, design teams, subcontract management, and finance & business operations.

2001-2005: Kelly served as a Titan IV Launch Conductor at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. In 1988, she joined Lockheed Martin and held a succession of increasingly responsible positions ranging from electrical systems engineer to Titan IV Program Engineer. During her career she participated in 42 launch campaigns.

Kelly earned her Bachelor’s degree in Engineering (Electrical) and her Master’s degree in Business Administration (Management) from the University of Central Florida.

Gretchen Sauerman

Gretchen Sauerman currently serves as Vice President for Research/Corporate and Government Relations at the Florida Institute of Technology (Florida Tech). During her time at Florida Tech, Gretchen has served in leadership roles related to university-industry engagement, including the founding of CAMID, the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Innovative Design, and UCAS, the University-Corporation Alliance for Success.

Gretchen graduated from the University of Florida with a BS in Mathematics and an MS in Industrial and Systems Engineering. After graduation, she started her career at General Dynamics, Space Systems Division in San Diego working on Atlas and Titan Centaur programs, before returning to Florida to work in other sectors including environmental engineering and energy engineering.

In her current role at Florida Tech, she is a core team member of the university’s WiSTEM (Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) initiative, led by the university’s “first lady,” Dr. Mary Helen McCay. The WiSTEM initiative provides training and leadership opportunities to female students, faculty and staff, to respond to growing pressures from industry partners for workforce diversity.

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