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Diversity/Careers in Engineering & Information Technology
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February/March 2010

Diversity/Careers February/March 2010 Issue




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Diversity In Action

Ball Aerospace needs scientists, engineers and IT pros

The company supports critical missions of national agencies like the DoD, NASA and NOAA; it also works in commercial areas for civilian companies


There are always openings for mid- and senior-level engineers, says Toya Speckman of the HR/diversity group.From national defense to space exploration to commercial ventures, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp offers services to many clients. It needs a broad contingent of scientists, engineers and IT pros to accomplish its missions.

Types of jobs available depend on current needs, says Toya Speckman of the company’s HR and diversity group. “A lot depends on the programs and contracts we have, and they, of course, keep changing,” she explains.

There may be RF engineer positions in Colorado or jobs for intelligence analysts in Ohio or New Mexico. Since IT is a support organization, hiring levels don’t fluctuate greatly. But the needed skill mix changes with contracts, so different IT skills could be needed at any time.

Ball Aerospace supports critical missions of national agencies like the DoD, NASA and NOAA. It develops and manufactures spacecraft, advanced instruments and sensors, components, data exploitation systems and RF solutions for strategic, tactical and scientific applications.

Ball Aerospace needs scientists and engineers in mechanical, electrical, optical, RF and systems fields. Intelligence analysts are also needed: a good career for some vets.

The company’s robust intern program leads to the hiring of new college grads, but there are always open positions for mid- and senior-career-level engineers, Speckman says. She notes that one Ball techie recently won a NSBE leadership award, and two others have received honors from the national Women in Aerospace organization (www.womeninaerospace.org).

Ball Aerospace is heavily involved in diversity outreach, working through the Mexican American Engineering Society, the Society of Women Engineers, Women in Aerospace, the National Society of Black Engineers, the Asian Engineering Society and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society.

Speckman attends the Thurgood Marshall leadership conference to look for top engineering students from HBCUs. “We look for interns through that conference, and these kids are phenomenal!” she says. The company employs as many as fifty interns each year for a ten-week summer experience.

Last year Ball Aerospace worked with United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing. Students were actually involved in the launch of a space vehicle at the end of the summer. The company is also involved in multicultural engineering programs at several Colorado colleges.

In 2009 every company manager took “respect in the workplace” training, Speckman reports. “Diversity is one of our strategic objectives. We’ve brought it to the forefront so it’s on everybody’s mind,” she says.

The company has an executive diversity council, in place since 2006, with the VP of engineering as one of its co-chairs. Employee resource groups, set up last year, also work on education and awareness. So far the company has African American, women’s and veterans’ groups; others will start up this year.

The groups are involved in recruiting, retention, mentoring and more. Mentoring within the company is currently informal, but the groups will probably set up their own systems as they go along.

The women’s group has a particularly strong representation, Speckman says. Women at all company levels are involved.

Ball Aerospace has been working on succession planning for a number of years. Reviews take a variety of formats, including formal reviews and development planning.

Employees enjoy a good work/life balance, ranging from domestic partner benefits to the possibility of flextime and on-site gyms at three Colorado facilities.

Volunteer activities are encouraged. Some engineers go to schools to offer educational program outreach. Others attend career days, mentor students and help out in robotics contests. “We also helped make a video to encourage kids to go into STEM careers and take
a look at the aerospace industry,” Speckman says.

D/C



Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp

www.ballaerospace.com

Headquarters: Boulder, CO
Employees: 3,000
Revenues: $746.5 million in 2008
Business: Aerospace and other technological services for government agencies

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