Halford, Hardy, Honeycutt Named 2015 Women of the Year

From left are Dana Potter Honeycutt, Jennifer Lombardi Halford, and Joyce Hardy, the winners of this year’s Women of the Year award. (Photo: Elisa Haber)

The Aerospace Women’s Committee named Jennifer Lombardi Halford, Joyce Hardy, and Dana Potter Honeycutt as this year’s Women of the Year during a lunchtime ceremony Aug. 24 in El Segundo.

This marks the 43rd year of the WOTY awards. The awards presentation is one of several events the AWC holds in honor of Women’s Week, which is traditionally celebrated at the end of August to commemorate Women’s Equality Day, the anniversary of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. This year’s Women’s Week theme is “Embracing Challenges, Leading the Charge.”

“The Aerospace Women’s Committee is celebrating 43 years of successfully ‘embracing challenges, leading the charge,’” said Yogita Shah, AWC national vice president and engineering specialist, Software Systems Analysis Department. “Women are leading the way in every sector, and they are in positions where their decisions will shape the future and drive change.”

“It’s a theme that feels particularly appropriate given the current state of women in the U.S. workforce – particularly, the STEM workforce,” said Dr. Wanda Austin, Aerospace president and CEO. “Though we have made progress over the years, women still struggle to receive equal pay and to gain equitable representation in STEM fields. As an engineer, I am particularly concerned with what we are doing to impact the next generation of scientists and engineers in this country.

“It is our job to reverse these trends, to overcome our biases, and most importantly, to inspire young students and professionals to stick with STEM, not just for a career but for their personal development,” she said.

The WOTY award recognizes women at Aerospace who stand out in five categories: job performance, company activities, community involvement, professional/career/educational achievements, and leadership and initiatives that contribute to the advancement of the company.

“It amazes me the accomplishments of these Aerospace women; it really astounds me,” said Kimberly Locke, chair of the WOTY selection committee, 2012 WOTY recipient, and communications specialist, Organizational Communications.

Jennifer Lombardi Halford

Dr. David Gorney, executive vice president, and Juliett Davitian, AWC national president, look on as another winner is announced. (Photo: Elisa Haber)

Dr. David Gorney, executive vice president, and Juliett Davitian, AWC national president, look on as another winner is announced. (Photo: Elisa Haber)

Halford, EIS director, Applications Development Department, joined Aerospace in 2002, and began her career here as a member of the technical staff in the Computers and Software Department working on space tracking and surveillance software.

STEM outreach has played heavily into Halford’s career. She was first introduced to Aerospace as an intern, and eventually grew within the company to run an extensive intern program within her department. Since 2005, she has volunteered as the Aerospace Corporate Mentor at the UCLA Computer Science Department, is a member of the UCLA Woman’s Business Connection, and served on the Young Professionals / University advisory board for Aviation Week.

Halford considers herself a perpetual student. She holds four degrees from UCLA, with Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in computer science, a Bachelor of Arts degree in business economics, and an MBA. She is also a world-class athlete, having competed internationally in both surfing and beach volleyball.

Joyce Hardy

Hardy has been with Aerospace for 18 years, is a member of Aerospace Library and Information Management Services; supports Aerospace Project West Wing (PWW); and coordinates the activities of the Hardy Technical Intelligence Research Center, which she is credited for creating. She is also responsible for developing and maintaining a comprehensive intelligence information resource and providing professional research services.

“Joyce re-architected the intelligence data management philosophy of the intelligence library and introduced rigorous and modern library and information management practices and tools,” said Dr. Malina Hills, vice president, Space Program Operations, who introduced Hardy during the ceremony. “She is – as one customer put it – ‘worth her weight in gold.’”

While working with PWW, Hardy worked with the National Archives and Records Administration to gain special access to materials in no fewer than 10 presidential libraries. Her work added around 3,000 special access documents to the material previously collected by PWW.

She is active within her community, having served as a president of the PTA, president of the Britton Middle School Band Boosters, and as chair of the Morgan Hill Fourth of July parade. She was even named grand marshal of the parade in 1990.

Dana Potter Honeycutt

Honeycutt, senior project leader, Technical Training and Development Department, grew up in an engineering family, with a father who worked as an electrical engineer with Hughes Aircraft Company. When she was faced with a choice between engineering and music, she chose the STEM route and was offered a place with NASA as a co-op student. While continuing to work toward her master’s degree, she was offered a position with NASA working on the space station, but chose to follow in her father’s footsteps by accepting a position with Hughes. She was not yet done with NASA though, and later attended Space Camp.

She came to Aerospace in 1999 and started within the National Systems Group. After transferring to Strategic Space Operation at Schriever Air Force Base in 2002, she was introduced to the world of space control and joined the newly formed National Security Space Institute. Now, as a member of The Aerospace Institute, she supports the key areas of space protection, cyber, and ground.

Honeycutt became involved in local STEM activities after she and her husband made the decision to homeschool their two daughters. Within Aerospace, she focused on expanding STEM outreach and became a teacher liaison with the Space Foundation to provide educational opportunities to local K through 12 students. She also was responsible for helping stand up the Colorado chapter of the AWC in 2008.

Honeycutt almost did not make it to the WOTY ceremony as she is on vacation with her family. As chance would have it, they happened to be on the road to Napa Valley from their home in Colorado, and were able to detour to the El Segundo campus just in time for her to accept her award in person with her family present.

Austin commended all three recipients, saying, “You are dedicated to your work and you consistently perform at a high level when faced with tremendous challenges. Yet you also pay it forward. You take time to mentor the next generation. You volunteer in your communities, and you actively shape and enhance the culture of this company. You engage. You don’t sit back and wait for an invitation to get involved. You lead by example.”

—Heather Golden