Air Force veteran and systems engineering expert to receive lifetime achievement award for professional performance and philanthropic contributions

Palo Alto, CA, August 5 – Laura Pope, Senior Systems Engineer at Stellar Solutions, the global aerospace engineering services company, has been selected to receive the AFCEA Leadership Award for her outstanding contributions to the education and career opportunities for its members and the broader community. This is the culmination and pinnacle of Association honors for Pope who previously earned the AFCEA Meritorious Service Award in 2011, the AFCEA Medal of Merit in 2015, and the AFCEA Women’s Appreciation Award for 2020.

The Awards Reception and Dinner is scheduled for October at the Baltimore Convention Center.

“Laura Pope is an exceptional leader inspiring fellow veterans and the next generation to pursue career opportunities in space, science and engineering.  She is a model of professional accomplishment and service for our industry and our nation,” said Stellar Solutions CEO Michael Lencioni. 

In congratulating Pope, Lieutenant General Robert M. Shea, USMC Retired, President and CEO of AFCEA International, said, “You are part of an elite field of nominees and epitomize the qualities of a true leader. You have set an enviable example of leadership for others in AFCEA, and throughout the IT community, to emulate.”

Pope is a strategic executive serving three of Stellar Solutions’ five sectors – defense, intelligence and civil – with a current focus on supporting the U.S. Space Force and NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.  Before joining Stellar Solutions, Pope, a highly decorated military officer, retired from the US Air Force (USAF) after a distinguished 21-year career. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering from Stanford University and a Master of Science degree in Systems Management from the University of Southern California.

Throughout the 13 years she has been a member of AFCEA, including 12 as a member of the Board of Directors, Pope has been a passionate advocate of philanthropic and educational initiatives to advance STEM training and benefit military and civil service members and their families.  As Vice President of STEM, Pope regularly supports fundraising events and initiatives such as “Cycle for STEM,” the GPS Partnership Council, and Space Industry Days.  She has led initiatives to fund STEM teacher grants and STEM-related scholarships as well as scholarships for local Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadets at seven universities.  She helped establish, and annually reviews candidates for, an AFCEA-LA-named, endowed perpetual El Camino Community College STEM scholarship as well.  During her tenure on the AFCEA-LA Board, she has increased STEM Philanthropy activity by 373%, enabling the AFCEA-LA Chapter to donate over $50,000 per year to the community for STEM education, support and outreach. 

While on active duty in the USAF, Pope served in a variety of roles, including Assistant Chief Scientist for a Space Shuttle laser experiment and program manager for the Global Positioning System (GPS) ground system, where she was nominated for Aviation Week’s 2008 national Laureate award.   She is currently the President of Pope Technical Pursuits, LLC, a woman/veteran-owned small business which provides technology and operational consulting for the semiconductor and electro-optic industry. Pope also serves as advisor to the Honorable Ted Lieu, Congressional Representative for California, to evaluate US military academy candidates, is the Executive Vice President for the Air Force Association (AFA) Chapter #147 Board of Directors, and a member of Women in AFCEA, Women of NASA (WON), American institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).  

“This is a great honor, that I will accept on behalf of our community of military and civil service members, industry members and their families,” Pope said. “I am grateful for the support and sponsorship that Stellar Solutions has always provided to further AFCEA goals, because Stellar shares many of the same goals, with a key tenet of serving its customers’ critical needs while its employees pursue their dream jobs.”

AFCEA provides a forum for military, government and industry communities to collaborate so that technology and strategy align with the needs of those who serve. A professional association for those engaged in defense, security and all related technology disciplines, its membership comprises military, government, industry and academic organizations and individuals worldwide.

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.