Aerospace engineer luminary honored for a career of leadership and mentorship of women

Palo Alto, CA, July 20 — Celeste Ford, Founder and Board Chair of Stellar Solutions, Inc., the global aerospace engineering services company, will be honored with the NAWBO Silicon Valley Crystal Chair Lifetime Achievement Award tonight at the annual Crystal Chair Gala.  Ford is being recognized for her 38-year career of accomplishments as an industry leader and mentor to women and aspiring entrepreneurs.

“Celeste Ford has been a shining example of women who dedicate themselves not only to the success of their businesses, but also to the success of other women business owners,” said Griselda Quezada-Chavez, President of the Board and International Affairs Director at NAWBO Silicon Valley.

“Celeste is an inspiring and ethical leader whose bold aspirations continue to drive Stellar Solutions’ growth and excellence. We are proud of her leadership in building a culture where our employees can innovate and thrive,” said Michael Lencioni, Stellar Solutions CEO.

Recognized as “Woman of the Year” for her work on the NASA Space Shuttle in 1984, Ford founded Stellar Solutions in 1995 with the singular vision to satisfy customers’ critical needs and create dream jobs for her employees. Today the global company serves customers representing “five points of the star”: Intelligence, Defense, Civil, Commercial and International [Stellar Solutions Aerospace Limited (UK) and Stellar Solutions Aerospace France]. Ford advanced the company’s key competitive advantage that its experts “cross boundaries” of these businesses to create innovative solutions for customers.

Stellar Solutions maintains an extraordinary record of attracting and promoting women.  In an industry still dominated by men, women make up 30% of the company, to include top leadership positions. Three of eight technical Vice Presidents – in Intelligence, Defense and Commercial Programs, in addition to Ford as the Chair of the Board of Directors, are women.  They in turn cultivate a pipeline of award-winning female systems engineers. 

Under Ford’s leadership Stellar Solutions has earned prestigious national awards for business and workplace quality, including the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (2017), Ford’s E. David Spong Lifetime Achievement Award (2020), and Fortune Best Places to Work (since 2014).

For most years in the past two decades, Stellar Solutions has been named as one of the fastest-growing businesses, top women-owned businesses or largest private companies by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

Ford holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Science from Stanford University, both in Aerospace Engineering.  She resides in Portola Valley, CA with her husband Kevin and they have three grown children.

The Crystal Chair Gala is signature event is named for NAWBO’s founding president, Susan Hagar, who said, “Get a seat at the table or build your own table, and make sure to include other women.” 

The NAWBO Silicon Valley Chapter was founded in 1988 as a 501(c)(6) organization which supports and empowers women business owners. It is part of NAWBO California, a federation of the California chapters focusing on statewide legislative actions and public policy issues, corporate relations, and supporting the growth of chapters through education, marketing and public relations. It provides an annual conference and other networking opportunities.

About Stellar Solutions, Inc.  Stellar Solutions is a global aerospace and systems engineering services provider to commercial, defense, intelligence, civil and international sectors.  Stellar Solutions provides rapid-response capabilities related to global surveillance and cyber-security, space exploration, risk management, and technology optimization. These solutions to clients’ critical needs involve 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. Stellar Solutions Foundation supports employees’ community engagement. QuakeFinder, Stellar Solutions’ humanitarian R&D division, pursues earthquake prediction models.