Published: May 1, 2019

Congratulations to Steve Jolly and Scott Palo for being recognized with 2019 College of Engineering and Applied Science Distinguished Engineering Alumni Awards (DEAA).

DEAA honors graduates and friends who have distinguished themselves through outstanding personal qualities, knowledge, and significant contributions to their fields. Award winners may fall into several categories: Education, Research and Invention, Government Service, Industry and Commerce, and Private Practice.

Palo, a professor of aerospace engineering sciences and an alumnus of the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering, is being recognized in the Education category. Jolly is being honored for Industry and Commerce. A longtime employee of Lockheed Martin, Jolly is a graduate of Smead Aerospace and remains active with the department.

They were both recognized during the annual DEAA ceremony this week.

Steve JollySteve Jolly (AeroEngr'82, PhD'92)

Category: Industry & Commerce

Steve Jolly is an extremely proud and accomplished graduate from CU Boulder, having received a BS and PhD in aerospace engineering. He also served as an adjunct professor before joining Lockheed Martin, where he is now the chief engineer for the Commercial Civil Space line of business.

Jolly has held important positions in some of the most influential space exploration and weather programs of this generation. He was the chief engineer and principal scientist for the GOES-R program and chief engineer and deputy PM for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. He was program manager for the Mars Science Lab Aeroshell. He has served as a member of the entry, descent and landing systems engineering team and critical events risk process for Phoenix, Stardust and Genesis and served on the National Research Council’s Entry, Descent and Landing panel. He was chief systems engineer for Mars Sample Return and co-inventor of the original concept for the MSL Sky Crane. He has served in the NASA Human Exploration Operations Mission Division and Orion as an independent advisor and tiger team lead for entry, descent and landing, and most recently for the Mars Base Camp architecture and science mission.

In 2007, he received the NASA Public Service Medal for distinguished service. He is also a member of the board of directors for the Space Science Institute and is the past chair of the American Astronautical Society’s Rocky Mountain Guidance and Control Section.

Jolly is a longtime member and current chair of the Smead Aerospace Engineering Advisory Board. Jolly’s in-depth participation with the Lockheed Martin Corporate University Engagement office and various offices within the College of Engineering and Applied Science has led to meaningful relationships and enduring support for CU. His tireless support and advocacy to complete the research agreement between CU Boulder and Lockheed Martin has allowed for very fruitful technical collaborations between LM engineers and CU researchers.

Jolly also has been engaged in emphasizing radio frequency education within Smead Aerospace and the entire college through partnerships with Lockheed Martin. He has cultivated thoughtful mentors, coaches and funding for aerospace engineering senior projects and organized Lockheed Martin alumni support and tours of company facilities for students. Jolly directs Lockheed Martin philanthropic funds to the BOLD Center, SpaceGrant, CU Boulder’s Society of Women Engineers chapter and other student-led organizations. Jolly is considered a key collaborator with LASP, the NASA MAVEN mission to Mars being one of the most successful projects undertaken by LASP and Lockheed Martin.

Scott PaloScott Palo (MElEngr'90, PhD'94)

Category: Education

Scott Palo received his MS and PhD degrees in electrical engineering from CU Boulder in 1990 and 1994, respectively. After a postdoc stint at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, he joined the Ann and H.J. Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences as a research associate. From there, he progressed to assistant research professor (1999), assistant professor (2001), associate professor (2008) and professor (2013).

From 2014-17, Palo was associate dean for research in the College of Engineering and Applied Science. Since 2010, he has consulted for Blue Canyon Technologies, a Boulder aerospace company founded by CU alumni in 2008 that designs, builds, tests, launches and operates small satellites. This led to an opportunity to start a new BCT subsidiary company, Blue Cubed Communications Corporation, where Palo now serves as president and CEO. BCT was recognized by Inc. magazine in 2016 as the No. 1 fastest growing small engineering company in the country.

Palo’s achievements as a CU alumnus pertain to his service and leadership at the department, college and campus levels at CU Boulder; his effectiveness in representing the campus to external constituencies; his activities at the national and international levels within his research community; and his work advancing teaching and research innovations in the engineering arena.

Palo has earned a reputation for promoting use of ground-based observing networks, space-based networks and small satellites. Thanks to in part to his advocacy, funding agencies are now buying into the concept of small satellites and networked observations. He has done much to advance small satellites as a viable means of making some of the key measurements needed to advance our understanding of near-Earth space.