ME Alumna Gretchen McClain Gives Gould Lecture
September 22, 2016
Gretchen McClain, NASA’s former chief director of the International Space Station program and University of Utah mechanical engineering alumna, gave this year’s William R. and Erlyn J. Gould Distinguished Lecture on Technology and The Quality of Life.
Held Sept. 21, 2016, at the Marriott Library Gould Auditorium, her lecture was titled, “Space Innovation = SUM (Talent + Leadership + Vision) = Progress: Why Society Needs the Creativity and Collaboration of Space Exploration Today More Than Ever.” Watch the full video here.
McClain is an accomplished business leader who thrives on energizing organizations and building businesses by enhancing innovation and developing exceptional leadership talent. She has more than 25 years of global experience in both Fortune 500 corporations and government service, including serving as founding CEO of an S&P 500 global water technology company, Xylem Inc., and as NASA’s chief director of the International Space Station. She has been awarded the NASA Distinguished Service Medal and the “Fortune 1000 CEO.”
McClain will share her insights on the value of creating technologies that have come from our space programs, as well as the many other advances that the space exploration has contributed to business and society — from the ways we innovate and problem solve, to the ways we create social value and collaborate. She will share her experiences overseeing the first joint U.S.-Soviet missions and the building of the International Space Station, and serving as a top business executive, where she saw space technologies and problem solving advance global business and improve our way of living. She will also pose critical questions on the future of space exploration.
She is actively involved in advocating for the technology, water, and environmental spheres, as well as women in STEM. She serves as a member of United Technologies Corporation Innovation Advisory Council; University of Utah College of Engineering National Advisory Council; the Environment and Water Technologies International Advisory Panel for Singapore’s Public Utilities Board; and the America’s Water Steering committee at the Columbia Water Center at Columbia University. She also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Intermountain Healthcare Central Region.
A graduate from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering, McClain received the University’s prestigious Founders Award in 2015.