2018 Accolades Luncheon
Accolades 25th Business Leader of the Year Award Luncheon
Annually since 1993, the Accolades Business Leader of the Year & Annual Awards luncheon has been hosted to celebrate the accomplishments of the Southern Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce, its members, supporters and the women in the business community overall.
LIEUTENANT GENERAL (RET) SUSAN J. HELMS, USAF
Lt Gen (R) Helms was commissioned from the US Air Force Academy in 1980, and upon graduation, she served as an F-15 and F-16 weapons separation engineer and a flight test engineer. Following completion of her Masters of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University, she served on the Faculty of the US Air Force Academy in the Department of Aeronautics. She was subsequently selected to attend the USAF Test Pilot School, Flight Test Engineer Course, Edwards AFB, CA, completing the year long school as a Distinguished Graduate. After graduation, she served as project officer on the CF-18 aircraft as a U.S. Air Force Exchange Officer to the Canadian Aerospace Engineering Test Establishment, at Cold Lake AFB, Alberta, Canada. As a flight test engineer, Lt Gen (R) Helms has flown in 30 types of U.S. and Canadian military aircraft.
Selected by NASA in January 1990, Lt Gen (R) Helms became an astronaut in July 1991. On Jan. 13, 1993, then an Air Force major and a member of the space shuttle Endeavour crew, she became the first U.S. military woman in space. She flew on STS-54 (1993), STS-64 (1994), STS-78 (1996) and STS-101 (2000), and served aboard the International Space Station (ISS) as a member of the Expedition-2 crew (2001). A veteran of five space flights, Lt Gen (R) Helms has logged 211 days in space, and accomplished a spacewalk of eight hours, 56 minutes, a world record that stands today.
After 12 years at NASA, Lt Gen (R) Helms transferred to Air Force Space Command in 2002. Over the next 12 years, she served in numerous staff positions and commanded the 45th Space Wing at Cape Canaveral AFS, FL. Her staff assignments include tours at Headquarters Air Force Space Command, Air Education and Training Command, and U.S. Strategic Command, where she was the Director of Plans and Policy (J5). Upon promotion to Lieutenant General, she commanded the 14th Air Force (AF Space Command) and the Joint Functional Component Command for Space (US Strategic Command), in a dualhat position at Vandenberg AFB, CA. As the U.S. Air Force?s operational space component to USSTRATCOM, Lt Gen Helms led more than 20,500 personnel responsible for providing missile warning, space superiority, space situational awareness, satellite operations, space launch and range operations. As Commander, JFCC SPACE, she directed all assigned and attached space forces providing tailored, responsive, local and global space effects in support of national and combatant commander objectives. Lt Gen Helms retired from military service in 2014.
Since retirement, General Helms has spent her time on Board work, consulting and speeches. General Helms is currently on the Board of Trustees for the Aerospace Corporation, and on the Board of Directors for Concho Resources, Inc. (CXO). She currently serves as a member of the NASA Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, and in 2014, was appointed by President Obama to a two year term as a Trustee, Board of Trustees, Woodrow Wilson International Center, a bipartisan think tank in Washington DC. She has established her own consulting company, Orbital Visions, LLC, in Colorado Springs, CO.