#SpotlightSaturday Board of Directors: Meet Gil “Waco” Griffin

We are eager to spotlight one of our newest elected Higher Orbits Board of Directors, Gil S. “Waco” Griffin. Gil is the director, of Advanced Space, Multi-Domain Command and Control and Nuclear Enterprise, Global Sales and Marketing. He leads a team that markets advanced products, services, software and applications for Defense, Space & Security’s Phantom Works division. Gil is passionate about STEM outreach for students and recognizes the importance of organizations like Higher Orbits who directly impact future workforce development in the aviation and aerospace industries.

I was able to chat with “Waco” about what gets him #SpaceInspired and how he feels about joining the Higher Orbits team.

Katy Thompson: What Inspires you to serve as a Board of Directors Member for Higher Orbits?

Gil Griffin: Well, the world needs more STEM. Let’s start with that right. On one hand, you have the need for STEM and many many markets out there that the industry serves. Then on the other hand you have the space piece which obviously Higher Orbits is very interested in. I work in a space domain for Boeing and so I'm interested in trying to have more of a pipeline to hire people into. Whether it's at Boeing or in the industry in general. What’s nice, is that is applicable to space, and to a whole lot of other things that STEM serves.

Then the even bigger picture to me is the fact that these students are getting an opportunity that they otherwise likely would not get period. Forget the pipeline, industry, and all that, but the whole other thing is opening up the aperture of what an individual sees in their life and understands that there is a way to proceed down a path. That is pretty special.

KT: It is so cool to see our students go through our program and have that lightbulb moment. Whether it is a direct tie to STEM thinking or a connection between themselves and another dream or career that they felt otherwise was unreachable. That is why I am so excited for our newer board members to be a part of and see their first Go For Launch! events because they truly are incredible.

You mentioned STEM’s role in everyone’s lives, can you talk about your connection with Higher Orbits prior to being a Board Member?

GG: I would start by saying the impact beforehand was fairly immediate. I was able to see what the organization was doing really quickly. I asked Michelle some direct questions about everything that you guys do and how it works, and I got an understanding for it.

I think that it impacts business development too, where less people than you would like have a STEM or technical background… not that everyone has to have one… P.S. I don’t. Where that is desired, the number of people with that background are only so large. It is only so diverse, which probably really isn’t that diverse? An organization like this, IS what makes that better.

KT: Very well said. These things take time, and it is crucial for organizations and individuals within the industry to take the steps to recognize and take action in not only aiding the field but their potential workforce.

This last question is a fun one… if shipping and packaging was not an issue, what three things would you bring if you were traveling to Mars tomorrow?


1) Golf Clubs

Well, I sure do like golf… not sure how I would do that on Mars…

2) Dune Buggy

It would be awfully cool to have a dune buggy… I don’t even have a dune buggy but…

3) Books

Waco offers a unique perspective to our Board of Directors with his position in the industry that benefits from more students in Higher Orbits programs. We are over the moon to have Waco join us and show his #SpaceInspired support!

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