Emerging Leader

Erin Shaw

Northrop Grumman Corporation

For collaborative leadership that brings stellar results; for ensuring that team members have opportunities for growth; and for creating an inclusive environment in which all can thrive.

Erin Shaw serves as director of engineering in Northrop Grumman’s Strategic Space Systems Division. As chief engineer for the Advanced Mission Programs Payload project, she oversees a team of 600 engineers and manufacturing personnel, leading them through the conceptual design, detailed design, manufacturing, and testing for a wide variety and large quantity of spacecraft payload hardware. Shaw has more than a decade of experience in spacecraft mission development and systems engineering.

In this role, Shaw successfully led production efficiency improvements that resulted in achieving target-level throughput for flight hardware. Her collaborative leadership resulted in significantly reduced risk for critical path flight hardware deliveries. Her leadership was also critical to demonstrating the design maturity at the Advanced Mission Program Critical Design Review in December 2021, a major incentive milestone vital to program and business unit financial performance targets.

In her prior role as a systems engineer in Northrop Grumman’s Space Systems Resiliency and Rapid Prototyping business unit, Shaw influenced the company’s capture strategy while developing a proposal for a rapid, mission demonstration, small-satellite program the company won in 2019, growing the division portfolio by millions of dollars.

With a collaborative leadership style, she has implemented several initiatives with the payload project to continuously evaluate the way her team operates. For example, she created a “payload opportunity forum,” which asks all team members to challenge the way their work is being done and share ideas. In 2021, eight of those ideas were implemented and have eliminated 14 months from the hardware production schedule and reduced development costs.

Shaw has an Aerospace Project Management certificate from the Caltech Center for Technology and Management Education and is a graduate of the Northrop Grumman Women in Leadership Cohort program. She is the Northrop Grumman representative on the California Polytechnic, San Luis Obispo Aerospace Engineering Industry Advisory Board.

In addition to her engineering achievements, Shaw builds diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) into the culture of her team, her program, and the Strategic Space Systems Division as a whole. She chairs the Women in Payload organization, which supports, prepares, and drives professional development for women engineers. Shaw leads DE&I initiatives for the entire business unit to create an engaged, inclusive workplace. She is also a frequent speaker at events supporting women in STEM held within Northrop Grumman and at the global level within the industry.

Shaw holds a B.S. and an M.S. in aerospace engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Outside of work, she is a yoga instructor and enjoys mountain biking and camping with her husband, two children, and their dog in the Southern California mountains near her home.