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The Dr. Christopher T. Jones Legacy Award is named after the 2016 Black Engineer of the Year, who retired as corporate vice president of Northrop Grumman.

At the 2024 award ceremony, Hank Reed, vice president at Northrop Grumman, announced the honoree for the year, Dr. Gilbert “Chip” Jones III (no relation to Chris Jones).

Gilbert works as a staff engineer systems architect for Northrop Grumman’s Strike Division in the aeronautic sector. He has a diverse aerospace engineering background, including experience in the architecture, development, and operation of many satellite ground systems.

Gilbert was the chief systems engineer for the ground system of a geostationary operational environmental satellite operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which provides crucial weather data for the Western hemisphere.

Since joining Northrop Grumman, Gilbert has been the lead ground systems engineer on many programs and proposals in space systems, including the Habitation and Logistics Outpost of the HALO program.

He was also a lead engineer developing a complex ground system architecture for the human landing systems proposal and the lead ground engineer who won a multimillion-dollar contract as part of the team for the Opus X program.

Gilbert was also an operational ground systems engineer on two missions for a commercial resupply services program, where his team flew cargo to astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Currently, he is leading software definition for a new Strike aircraft training system.

In addition to his impressive engineering accomplishments, Gilbert is committed to helping the next generation in STEM learning and skills development, as well as bringing people together to achieve common goals.

In his acceptance speech, Gilbert said, “Legacy is twofold. It’s the achievements we attain, but it’s also the people we help reach greater heights. In the STEM world, one absolutely cannot succeed alone. My mission is to continue doing my part in helping others succeed. It’s never just about one person. I am honored to accept the Dr. Christopher T. Jones Legacy Award.”

Gilbert expressed gratitude to his many mentors, colleagues, and family members for helping him to continue crafting a lasting legacy in STEM.

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