Gwynne Shotwell is the 2023 Washington Awardee for her leading role spear-heading private enterprise space exploration. She is the President and COO of SpaceX, where she directed the building of the Falcon family of launch vehicles and oversaw approximately 170 launches into orbit. Shotwell has been at SpaceX since 2002 and is a member of its board of directors.
Before joining SpaceX, Shotwell spent more than 10 years at the Aerospace Corporation, eventually getting promoted to Chief Engineer of an MLV-class satellite program. She also managed a landmark study on commercial space transportation for the Federal Aviation Administration and completed an extensive analysis of space policy for NASA’s future investments in space transportation.
Named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020, Shotwell’s achievements have also been recognized by Forbes, Fortune, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. In 2020, she was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering, the premier engineering organization in the country.
Through leadership in both corporate and external STEM programs, Shotwell has helped raise more than $1.8 million for STEM programs reaching thousands of students nationwide. She received, with honors, her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northwestern University in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mathematics