THE RIGHT KIND OF CRAZY
ROCK STAR TURNED ROCKET SCIENTIST!

Adam Steltzner

Friday, December 12, 2014
The Ritz-Cartlon, Phoenix
11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Great works require people working together.
In the end, it is all about the people.

At age 20, Adam Steltzner was a college dropout, small-town playboy and bass guitarist in a rock band called Stick Figures. Fast forward 15 years, Steltzner is a Ph.D. engineer and rocket scientist who hasn’t shed his rockabilly swagger or romance of space exploration.

He’s become the poster boy as lead engineer for the Mars Rover Curiosity’s signature component – the “Sky Crane” – a famed landing system, formerly touted as a cockamamie device that Steltzner and his team spent nearly 10 years designing, building, testing, tweaking, retesting and retweaking.

Steltzner's mission was to bring out the best in his team rather than appear the smartest guy in the room. “I didn't want a motivated team, I wanted them on fire with breakthrough thinking,” Steltzner said.

The power of human curiosity can change our world. We are amid a new era in planetary exploration in large part to Steltzner’s audacious goals, unbridled thinking and revolutionary innovation.

His leadership style fosters a culture of collaborative innovation and he proves that with the "Right Kind of Crazy," we can expand boundaries and the limits of human achievement.


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