Stellar Solutions Marks 25-Year Milestone as Woman-Owned Aerospace Systems Engineering Services Leader

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Founder Celeste Volz Ford’s vision “to solve customers’ critical needs while realizing employee dream jobs” endures for commercial businesses and government agencies

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Celeste Ford, Chair of the Board of Directors, Stellar Solutions

25 years ago, I founded Stellar Solutions with the vision of delivering high-impact solutions to clients’ critical needs while realizing our employees’ dream jobs. Today these complementary core business principles have never been more important. -- Stellar Solutions Board Chair Celeste Ford

Woman-owned global aerospace and systems engineering provider Stellar Solutions, Inc. is honored to mark its 25-year anniversary during Women’s History Month, extending deep appreciation to the customers and employees that have made this journey possible.

The “star” of Stellar Solutions symbolizes five sectors of business—commercial, defense, intelligence, civil and international, among which the company actively works to “cross boundaries” creatively in pursuit of the best solutions for its clients, delivering aerospace and systems engineering capabilities involving satellites in space, sensors on Earth, and intricate technology connections across multiple frontiers. With physical operations in California, Colorado, the greater Washington DC area, London and France as well as employees throughout the U.S. and the globe, Stellar Solutions has become a recognized leader in delivering end-to-end critical expertise and problem-solving skills to dozens of significant programs.

“25 years ago, I founded Stellar Solutions with the vision of delivering high-impact solutions to clients’ critical needs while realizing our employees’ dream jobs. Today these complementary core business principles have never been more important in upholding the agility and expertise that has made us ‘built to last,’” said Board Chair Celeste Volz Ford.

The company was launched in 1995 based on this compelling vision, and a determination to fill a marketplace need based upon Ford's 17 years of experience as an aerospace engineer and technology manager for programs such as the Space Shuttle Program. Stellar Solutions enlisted an elite cadre of like-minded scientists and engineers within the first year, including the company’s current CEO, Michael Lencioni.

“We are proud of the relationships we have built with our clients over the years with mission focus on their high-performance projects. We have partnered with them to advance, both in times of disruption and innovation, and we will continue to devote ourselves to critical solutions,” Lencioni said. These capabilities have included space situational awareness, continuity of operations, satellite communications, and next-generation defense and cyber systems.

Stellar Solutions works with federal organizations within the Intelligence Community, the Department of Defense (primarily U.S. Air Force), and the Civil Space Community (primarily NASA and NOAA). On the Commercial side, Stellar Solutions has engaged numerous established space systems companies, as well as new entrants to the aerospace industry. The company expanded globally in 2004, strengthening its efforts with International programs. The Government Programs sector was spun off to serve specific Intelligence customers in 2011, and the Defense Support and Cyber group was created in 2014 as a subset of the company’s Defense sector addressing a new critical customer need.

Stellar Solutions maintains an extraordinary record of women in top leadership positions: three of eight technical Vice Presidents as of March are women, in addition to Ford who remains as the Chair of the Board of Directors. These female leaders include Vice President, Defense Programs, Betsy Pimentel; Director of Emerging Space Capabilities, Janet Grondin; Vice President, Commercial Programs, Melissa Farrell; and Vice President, Civil Programs, Amy Chaput.

Key Milestones for Stellar Solutions:

1995: In the first year of business, company secures contracts with pioneering satellite company Space Imaging (now DigitalGlobe) and begins a long history of commercial and defense support.

1998: Stellar Solutions Foundation established to support community-based organizations and charities.

2000: Stellar Ventures launched as an investment enterprise and incubator fostering early-stage technology development and market applications. It was re-launched in 2017 to take advantage of the venture backed disruption to the aerospace industry (“new space”).

2000: Stellar Advisor program initiated to engage experienced senior engineering experts on a part-time basis to complement a full-time workforce.

2001: QuakeFinder is founded as the Humanitarian R&D division of Stellar Solutions. It becomes the world's leading private earthquake forecasting research organization, dedicated to the discovery of methods for warning communities of imminent destructive earthquakes.

2003: QuakeSat, a collaboration between QuakeFinder and Stanford University, is among the first CubeSats ever launched to space--on a two-year proof-of-concept mission for collecting earthquake-precursor signals from orbit. Stellar Solutions becomes the first small business to successfully build, launch and operate its own satellite.

2003: Betsy Pimentel, VP, Defense Programs, joins Stellar Solutions.

2004: Stellar Solutions Aerospace Ltd. is launched for customers in the United Kingdom and Europe, headed by Melissa Farrell, VP, Commercial Programs.

2004: Kevin Girkins joins Stellar Solutions; named VP for new sector, Government Programs, in 2011.

2004: Walt Eilers joins Stellar Solutions; promoted from Director to VP, Intelligence Programs, in 2018.

2009: Celeste Ford receives the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of The Year Award.

2012: Punch Moulton becomes VP of new Stellar Solutions sector, Defense Support and Cyber.

2014: Stellar Solutions wins the first of continuous annual recognitions (2014 – 2019) as a Fortune Magazine Great Place to Work Award for small- and medium-sized businesses.

2017: Stellar Solutions wins the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s highest honor in performance excellence and sustainability.

2018: Stellar Solutions Aerospace France founded to serve customers in overseas markets.

2019: Michael Lencioni is named Stellar Solutions CEO, and Celeste Ford transitions to Chair of the Board of Directors.

2020: Richard Rogers is named first corporate Executive Vice President for Stellar Solutions; Amy Chaput fills position of VP, Civil Programs.

2020: Celeste Ford named a winner of the 2020 Enterprising Women of the Year Awards, an annual tribute that is widely considered one of the most esteemed recognitions for women entrepreneurs.

2020: Stellar Solutions celebrates 25 Years of Service.

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