Rodney D. Chipp Memorial Award

Ball Aerospace

For celebrating the achievements of women engineers; for championing their advancement in the aerospace industry; and for grounding its corporate success in an increasingly diverse workforce.

Topping Forbes’ list of 10 Best Employers for Diversity in 2019, Ball Aerospace has a robust and growing diversity, equity, and inclusion program. One of its flagships, the Women’s Ball Network (WBN), empowers women with networks, resources, and skills to fulfill career aspirations, connect with their communities, and foster an environment of support. WBN hosts numerous events, including the popular power hours, networking and learning opportunities that often include men’s participation. WBN also hosts an annual women’s summit, a self-nominated event that connects employees who identify as female, and fosters community through workshops, networking, and speakers.

Ball also partners with the Brooke Owens Fellowship, a national nonprofit program recognizing exceptional undergraduate women and other gender minorities with space and aviation internships, senior mentorship, and a lifelong professional network, as well as the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship, which connects Black students to the aerospace industry.

The company strives to enroll women in industry organizations; in 2022, more than 400 employees belonged to more than 35 organizations, with at least five organizations, including SWE, Women in Aerospace, and the National Society of Black Engineers, focused specifically on women and diversity. In addition, the company bestows 10 awards annually to recognize Ball employees for their contributions to the industry, with a goal to have more than 30% of nominations be diverse candidates. These efforts have made a huge impact on the advancement and recognition of women at Ball.

External thought leadership is also valuable to Ball, whose chief engineer regularly speaks on her nontraditional career path and breaking barriers for women in leadership. The company also shares the successes of women engineers on some of the most successful and complex missions and programs in the industry. For example, employees have shared their compelling stories working on the James Webb Space Telescope in several “Women of Webb” forums.

Deeply committed to STEM outreach, Ball Aerospace and The Ball Foundation support numerous STEM programs focused on inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers — particularly those focused on diverse or underrepresented groups.

Ball encourages SWE involvement for both women and men, and sponsors membership for any interested employee. Ball partnered with SWE’s Rocky Mountain Section on its first-ever women in aerospace event, and has supported the section’s Girls Exploring Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math event since 2003. Women at Ball have volunteered in workshops such as Squishy Circuits (electrical engineering), Bounce the Light (optical engineering), The Heat Is On! (materials and thermal engineering), and the iPhone Drop (test engineering). Heather Doty, past SWE president and a senior project engineer at Ball, was recently highlighted during Women’s History Month.

Ball Aerospace is an industry-leading manufacturer of instruments, sensors, and spacecraft for government, commercial, and nonprofit customers.