On Oct. 9, Jillian Gorsuch, Additive Manufacturing Technology Manager at SSL, was honored by the Space & Satellite Professionals International (SSPI) with a 2018 Promise award. This award is given annually to three satellite industry professionals age 35 and under for outstanding achievement in the early stages of their career. Jillian is the eighth Promise Award winner from SSL over the past 13 years of the program, a reflection of the company’s ability to attract exceptional young professionals and nurture their leadership capability.
Jillian is an accomplished Mechanical Engineer who has made significant contributions to the company’s RF payload, ground equipment, and solar array systems. In her current position she is instrumental in promoting the use of Additive Manufacturing in SSL-built spacecraft. She is an evangelist for how 3D printing can reduce mass, improve schedules, and enable new geometries that increase performance and operational life.
We asked Jillian for her thoughts on 10 topics to share with other satellite industry professionals who are just launching their careers.
We work collaboratively at SSL. I enjoy facilitating groups where each member brings different strengths and points of view. Pulling from everyone’s ideas allows the team to reach a more comprehensive solution.
I’ve greatly benefited from mentors throughout my career. Having a mentor who is interested in helping grow and develop your career is invaluable. I have found it rewarding to be able to pass on the lessons that I’ve learned to my departments’ summer interns and young engineers.
The challenges are what make the job exciting; sometimes it takes late nights and lots of coffee. This is a demanding industry and success doesn’t come easily.
When everything seems chaotic, I work to understand each problem before I can figure out the solution. I learned to always face challenges head on. You have to keep working and not give up in order to find creative solutions.
Space is complex, so there is always something to learn and discover. When starting a new project, ask questions, understand what has been done before, and work toward innovative solutions. It’s okay not to have all of the answers at the beginning.
SSL gives its employees opportunities to think outside the box, especially now, in a rapidly changing industry environment. Additive manufacturing is one tool that allows freedom for innovation.
I wouldn’t be successful if I didn’t love what I do. I grew up in a family full of math teachers and engineers and I was encouraged to follow my dreams. My co-workers at SSL are passionate about their fields and are always willing to share their knowledge with others.
I always keep the big picture in mind. The design of every component on the spacecraft is critical. Of equal importance, is understanding how everything comes together as a system. For instance, additive manufacturing provides benefits at a part level but exponentially greater benefits at a system level.
In order to successfully complete complex projects, you have to communicate with a diverse team. Being clear and concise is key. It is also important to listen to every member of the team and understand their perspective.
There are always surprises during a project, even with the best laid plans. Roll with the punches and keep your sense of humor. This will help you and your team stay engaged