Gordie Russell, Program Manager, Air Force Programs, Orbital ATK


Interview with Gordie Russell,
Program Manager, Air Force Programs
Orbital ATK


Industry: Aerospace
Founded: 1982
Employees: 3,514
Chamber Member Since: 1985
Website: www.orbitalatk.com

Orbital ATK is a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies. The company designs, builds and delivers space, defense and aviation systems for customers around the world, both as a prime contractor and merchant supplier.  Its main products include launch vehicles and related propulsion systems; missile products, subsystems and defense electronics; precision weapons, armament systems and ammunition; satellites and associated space components and services; and advanced aerospace structures. Headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, Orbital ATK employs approximately 13,000 people across the U.S. and in several international locations.

Q: What is Orbital ATK doing that you are most excited about?

A: I am most excited about Orbital ATK’s involvement in NASA’s Space Launch System, helping send American astronauts into space and their support of the Air Force’s ICBM programs, helping keep America safe.

Q: How is the aerospace industry changing and how is Orbital ATK reacting?

A: The aerospace industry is heading in a direction of trying to become more affordable.  Affordability is crucial to the American government and therefore to corporations. Orbital ATK is leading the way in innovation and efficiencies to help ensure they produce the most cost effective product while maintaining the highest levels of safety.

Q: What is the company’s biggest challenge and how are you addressing it?

A: I would say that Orbital ATK’s biggest challenge is to remain a competitor in the aerospace industry by keeping costs down while producing the world’s best solid rocket motors and more.  In a world of government contracts where the lowest bidder is king, Orbital ATK has been implementing new technologies and evaluating all processes in order to remove waste.

Q: What are some of the ways Orbital ATK engages with the Ogden-Weber community?

A: Orbital ATK has really increased their involvement with the Ogden-Weber Chamber this past year.  Representatives from the company have joined the Board of Governors and have been attending monthly networking meetings.  This year, Orbital ATK hosted the Chamber’s annual Board of Governors Retreat, joined Nubiz and attended the Nubiz Symposium and participated in the annual golf tournament. 

Q: What is something people might be surprised to learn about Orbital ATK?

A: Orbital ATK is known for large solid rocket motors, like those seen on the Space Shuttle vehicle. However, Orbital ATK is involved in much more than that.  Orbital ATK has produced the motors for Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles for over 50 years, they have a large composites division that produces everything from rocket motor cases to the skeletons of large commercial airplanes.

Q: What is the vision for the future at Orbital ATK?

A: Orbital ATK’s vision is to deliver products, systems and careers that inspire; reliable systems that defend our freedom; technologies that enable humankind to explore and discover; and, products that bring millions of people together each day.

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