Aerospace engineering alumnus receives dual honors from AIAA

By Lauren Winton

Published: Oct 22, 2019 2:07:00 PM

Chris Crumbly receives the 2019 Von Braun Award for Excellence in Space Program Management at the 2019 Propulsion and Energy Forum.  From left: Mark S. Whorton, space and missiles group director, and Chris Crumbly.  Chris Crumbly receives the 2019 Von Braun Award for Excellence in Space Program Management at the 2019 Propulsion and Energy Forum. From left: Mark S. Whorton, space and missiles group director, and Chris Crumbly.

Chris Crumbly, ’88 and ‘95 aerospace engineering and member of the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation Board, has received not one, but two awards from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).  

Crumbly, who serves as senior director for Space and Defense Programs at the University of Tennessee Space Institute (UTSI), received both the 2019 Von Braun Award for Excellence in Space Program Management from the AIAA Foundation and the 2019 Earl Pearce Professional of the Year Award from the Greater Huntsville Section of the AIAA. 

The national Von Braun Award for Excellence in Space Program Management recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the management of a significant space program. Crumbly was nominated by Joe Majdalani, the Hugh and Loeda Francis Chair of Excellence in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, for his excellence in furthering human spaceflight through strategic planning and leadership of several key programs within the Space Launch System.

Chris Crumbly receives the 2019 Earl Pearce Professional of the Year Award sponsored by the Greater Huntsville Section of the AIAA.  LTR: Alex Jehle (Section Chair), Chris Crumbly, and Joe Majdalani (Honors and Awards Director)

Chris Crumbly receives the 2019 Earl Pearce Professional of the Year Award sponsored by the Greater Huntsville Section of the AIAA.  From left: Alex Jehle, Chris Crumbly and Joe Majdalani.

 The Earl Pearce Award is presented in recognition of extraordinary dedication, creativity and leadership while engaged in professional activity within the aerospace community. Butch Foster, Jr., professor emeritus of aerospace engineering, nominated Crumbly for his extraordinary leadership, professionalism and development of technical exchange and incubator programs that promote the engineering workforce. 

Prior to his current position, Crumbly also served in leadership positions at the Von Braun Center for Science and Innovation, Teledyne Brown and NASA for more than 25 years. At NASA, he was responsible for managing the development of spacecraft and payload interfaces for SLS and technical innovations that have increased the performance and decreased the cost of America’s next-generation heavy-lifting rockets for human and scientific exploration beyond Earth’s orbit. Crumbly also served as special assistant to NASA’s deputy administrator and senior space policy analyst at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. 

 A native of Rome, Georgia, Crumbly is also a graduate of the program for management development at Harvard University’s Business School. He speaks on the space program frequently with audiences ranging from TEDx to school groups and professional societies. Crumbly serves on several professional and civic boards including the Huntsville Space Club, American Astronautical Society and the Greater Huntsville Section of the AIAA where he serves as the Region II deputy director for public policy. At Auburn, Crumbly previously served on the Auburn Engineering Alumni Council as chair of the research committee and a member of the executive committee. He is immediate past chair of Auburn’s Aerospace Engineering Advisory Council. Crumbly is an associate fellow of AIAA and a past recipient of the 2017 Holger Toftoy Award for Outstanding Technical Management in Astronautics.

Media Contact: Lauren Winton, lmw0090@auburn.edu, 334.844.5519

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