Dynetics Executive Vice President Steve Cook was inducted into The State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame, alongside seven individuals and a project during a recent ceremony at the Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa in Birmingham.
For more than 25 years, Cook has had a passion for space exploration. From growing up in Minnesota to settling in Huntsville, he selected Alabama as his home. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he earned a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering and mechanics.
Cook enjoyed a long and successful career at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. He served as the deputy manager of NASA's Marshall's Space Transportation Programs and Projects Office where he planned and directed research, technology, and development activities for future generations of space transportation. For more ambitious scientific exploration missions of the solar system, he oversaw advanced propulsion systems. Following that, Cook was the manager of the Ares Projects Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville from 2005-2009. He was responsible for overall project management and direction of NASA's Ares I and V launch vehicles.
Today, he is the executive vice president of Corporate Development at Dynetics, Inc. He initiates, supports, and integrates strategies, partnerships, emerging business opportunities, and new cutting-edge products. He is also the president of Dynetics Technical Solutions. Cook joined the company in 2009 as the director of space technologies. He led Dynetics' efforts in launch systems, orbital spacecraft and analysis, planetary exploration, and nanotechnology research until 2013.
Cook has been actively involved in many different boards and professional organizations. He served his country as a member of President Donald Trump's NASA Transition Team in 2017-2018. Cook also currently serves on the Space Transportation Committee of the International Astronautical Federation; the Space Transportation Technical Committee of the AIAA, where he is a fellow; and the Industrial Advisory Committee for the Aerospace Engineering Department at the University of Alabama. He is also the individual and team development chair for the Pancreatic Cancer Network in Alabama. He was a member of the Leadership Greater Huntsville Flagship program, Class 14.
His accolades include the NASA Outstanding Achievement Medal in 1999 for exceptional accomplishments in the area of space transportation, a nominee in 2000 for the Rotary Stellar Award, NASA Exceptional Service Medal in 2006 for his outstanding efforts as a member of the Exploration Systems Architecture Study; the Holger Toftoy Award in 2006 from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal in 2007 for his exemplary management of the Exploration Launch Projects Office, the Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Award in 2009, and the 2018 Werhner von Braun Community Service Award.
During the ceremony, Cook mentioned, "I believe we leave two things in this life--a reputation and a legacy. Today--let's each make it our mission and leave a legacy to help get our young people involved in STEM activities. What we need to do is think about how we can take what we've done and use it to encourage the next generation. I want to do more than just inspire them. I want to make a meaningful impact in their lives."
The other 2019 inductees included Lowell Christy, Dorothy Davidson, Tanya Fratto, Carl Register, Jonathan Sharpe, Zeke Smith and Norman Tew and the project that was honored was the I-22 interstate system.
Dynetics inductees include Marc Bendickson, former CEO and current chairman of the board of directors, Mike DeMaioribus, retired executive vice president of business operations and Ronnie Chronister, senior vice president of contracts.
Founded by proclamation of the governor, the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame honors, preserves and perpetuates the outstanding accomplishments and contributions of individuals, projects and corporations/institutions that brought and continue to bring significant recognition to the state. The Hall of Fame is overseen by engineering colleges and schools at Auburn University, Alabama A&M University, the University of Alabama, Tuskegee University, University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of Alabama in Huntsville and the University of South Alabama.