Karen Hawes - Website

Enjoy your time here

If you're in a hurry, just click on this link to downoad my Resume/CV. Otherwise, read on and be sure to check out the section titled "What's on This Page", in the right column. Also, check out my LinkedIn profile.

me-5yrs Here you will find many things regarding my experiences, in the office and on the road. Having traveled extensively and met people around the world, I gained an appreciation for many things, tangible and otherwise unforgettable. I hope you will find what I have provided here to be informative and transformative.


Every year I post and send out a "Year-In-Review" letter (aka "YIR"). They're a fun read and sum up each year nicely, with pictures even! Of course, for more detailed stories and a wider selection of (downloadable) pictures, head on over to my Pictures page. I'm fortunate enough to even have some videos, with me in them to boot! There's one on this page, in the Volunteer Work section; you can also see my collection ov videos on YouTube. Plus, there's an MP3 interview I did with Skydive Radio, which is linked on my News page. Last, but certainly not least, there is my collection of Writings page; where, one day, hope to have more creative-writings to share.

In short, you can read what I've written, hear what I've said, and see what I've done. . . all right here on my website. Short of meeting me in person, you know the scoop!

Don't forget to check out what else is in the right column. I think everyone will find something of interest, not to mention a little entertaining too!

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It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice.


Getting to Know Me


I am both engineer and artist; by nature and by nurture. Having chosen engineering as my professional pursuit, my artistic skills have not been fully developed. On the other hand, I do view science as an art form in itself; especially when you go beyond the top veneer of perceived complexity in science and perceived simplicity of art. My skills in art have helped me understand science, and my understanding of science has helped my artistic skills; the two worlds are more alike than often believed to be.

I possess a wide variety of skills and interests, both technical and non-technical; this includes strong communication, organization, and creative skills, in order to better manage and explain the technical and non-technical problems with which I am tasked. Additionally, I am fluent in French and have experience in disaster-relief and humanitarian-aid work in the US and abroad. I have had several articles published, online and in print, relating to: travel, parachuting, and volunteer work. Public presentations and public relations are another set of skills I often exercise.

I am self-motivated in troubleshooting problems individually, as a team leader, or team participant. I am always searching for smarter ways to get the job done. After nine rewarding years, I resigned from Lockheed Martin in 2005, in order to pursue my interest in humanitarian-aid based work. Since then, I have created a nonprofit organization, named Airdrop Assist, which is continuing to grow as we prepare volunteers for entering highly remote areas by airdrop. In general, I seek to creatively apply and expand my skills in project management, foreign languages, computers, and engineering. You can also download my one-page resume/CV, for a concise summary of my skills and objectives.

More Information

I do a lot of different things and the variety helps keep me aware of the "big picture", while adapting to any given situation. Leadership is a role I am continually developing and, with each opportunity, I learn through doing; this is an ongoing education, for which I work hard at doing my best and learning from my mistakes.

With my career at Lockheed Martin, I had an ongoing exposure to systems engineering, which included all aspects of mechanical engineering, as well as computer programming/hardware, and telecommunication technology. I have had a great number of assignments, throughout Lockheed Martin, which has augmented my awareness of the overall operations for this large corporation.

Languages and Travel
My foreign language skills are primarily a personal pursuit, but have also aided in many aspects of my interactions at work, with my colleagues as well as with the diverse range of clients to this company. This also underscores my travels, which have taken me around the world.

In order to feel confident about traveling solo, and as part of my pursuits with Airdrop Assist, I sought additional training in emergency medicine and ropes. I first sought an EMT-Basic certification and later certififed in Wilderness First Responder. Additionally, the Rope Technician Level I, from OnRope One proved to be very enjoyable as well. All of these certs are expired, mainly due to the cost of renewal. I'd gladly refresh my skills in these areas, should the need arise, but the essential skills remain (with or without the card).

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We must be the change we wish to see in the world.

—M. Gandhi

Volunteer Work


In early 2004, I became a volunteer for Remote Area Medical, which provides no-cost health care around the world but primarily in Guyana and Tennessee. It all started with this article. As an engineer, I offer non-medical skills, which has, in turn, helped me further develop my engineering skills — through real-life applications of solar power and any other basic or non-basic mechanical needs, in remote areas.

Over time, I became increasingly responsible for organizing volunteers who were to enter highly remote areas by airdrop, now known as their RAM Airborne Project. In May 2006, after coordinating the re-design of the RAM website, I became the RAM Airborne Project Director, along with the creation of a new nonprofit school, Airdrop Assist, in order to ensure the quality of volunteer for these unique expeditions.

By mid-2008, it was no longer possible to continue operations, due to a variety of circumstances revolving around foreign-based, federal-level approvals for our work, so I closed up the nonprofit and only regret that we were not allowed to continue our work.

I then decided to pursue a personal interest of my own, without the need to establish a nonprofit, and called it Trash Trip. The goal was to start at the top of North America and travel to the bottom of South America.

I made it to the top of Alaska and drove as far south as Tijuana, Mexico. Along the way, I volunteered on a one-month trip to the middle of the Pacific Ocean, on a 151-foot Brigantine for Project Kaisei, where scientists took samples of the local environment; to investigate the impact of trash on the marine life there. Later, I was invited to assist one of the crew from Kaisei, in his work with Whoel Systems Foundation. I crewed and arranged interviews over the course of nearly 80 days, as we island hopped from the Bahamas to Trinidad. In total, I recorded around 140 interviews, with a range of people from various countries, regarding their views on waste and waste management.

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Trash Trip Engineer and Explorer
TrashTrip Trash Trip was not a sponsored effort, despite having it suggested to me many, many times. As I tell people, I don't want my perspective and opinions to be skewed or viewed as being tainted by a for-profit entity. My views, as expressed on my website, are solely my own. This is a double-edged sword too, because it is more difficult to run the whole show, while traveling non-stop from one end of a continent to the other. I made it on my own, as far as Mexico, by land, and to the Pacific and through the Caribbean Islands by boat.

I was able to collecte around 140 interviews, recorded in audio files (I wanted to shoot video but, as a solo-journalist, this became impractical.) The interviews were largely a success and I made many good acquaintances, along with many new friends, along the road.

Before making it to the bottom of South America, I needed to return to a "real job"; even though, the work I was doing was very fulfilling and non-traditional, it was what felt right to do and I feel fortunate to have been able to have pursued what I did! When I have the time, I plan to write up a summary of what I learned, from the people I met, their stories, and my personal experiences.

Airdrop Assist Nonprofit School Founder
AiA Airdrop Assist was created after working working with RAM, and realizing that there needed to be a screening and training program for volunteers who wished to airdrop into a remote location. Having learned things the hard way, and with the help of two other skilled volunteers, the school core curriculum was created and the first test-course occurred in March 2006. By June 2007, the nonprofit school was awarded tax-exempt status by the federal government. In total, four successful courses were held and much was learned. However, the complexity of coordinating airdrops in foreign countries, coupled with supply and scheduling obstacle back home, it was no longer feasible to continue operations. We gave it our best attempt, at making better volunteers, and do not regret anything we did!

Remote Area Medical Volunteer Work
With Remote Area Medical, RAM, I have worked in all possible roles available: engineer, scrub nurse, paper-pusher, crowd control, document control, laborer, project management, and even website design.

Prior to RAM, I have spent my time volunteering for other organizations: Red Cross, Junior Achievement, Volunteers of Outdoor Colorado, and I've even been a judge at the Delaware Valley Science Fair. It is with great personal satisfaction that I am able to bring my skills to help other people. Nowadays, I am putting my efforts into creating venues for more people to volunteer, with the information (and inspiration) provided with the training at Airdrop Assist.

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Money may be the husk of many things, but not the kernel. It buys you food, but not appetite; medicine, but not health; acquaintances, but not friends; servants, but not loyalty; days of joy, but not peace or happiness.

—H. Ibsen

Employment History


June 2011 — March 2012

Persistent-Threat Detection System
—Senior Field Engineer

  • www.lockheedmartin.com
  • Position placed on-hold in March 2012
  • Awarded Dod Secret security clearance, then awaited opening for internal and DoD training
  • Accepted into position in June 2011, then awaited DoD security clearance

October 2006 — May 2011

Trash Trip, North and South America
Exploring Waste, from coast to coast

  • www.trashtrip.com
  • January — May 2011: Invited to re-join fellow Kaisei crew member, Norton Smith, aboard the boat Imagine to explore waste management The Bahamas and the Caribbean islands, as part of Whole Systems (continued trip from Antigua to Trinidad, then went to Guyana alone.)
  • May — December 2010: Traveled from California to Connecticut, before heading to Omaha, NE in order to prepare for a return to the Caribbean and a continuation of the work started in January 2010
  • January to March 2010: Invited to join fellow Kaisei crew member, Norton Smith, aboard the boat Imagine to explore waste management The Bahamas and the Caribbean islands, as part of Whole Systems (visited 21 islands as far south as Bequia)
  • November 2009: Arrived at Tijuana, Mexico, where I toured their first sanitary landfill
  • October 2009: Invited to crew aboard the boat Imagine, traveling through The Bahamas and Caribbean in early 2010
  • August 2009: Volunteered as medic, website assistant, and able-bodied seaman aboard the ship Kaisei, in order to eplore the North Pacific Gyre with Project Kaisei
  • June 2009: Arrived at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to begin south-bound trek
  • May 2009: Completed first draft of the website, while traveling to Alaska
  • October 2006: Conceived the idea, of traveling from the top of North America to the bottom of South America, to explore the ways waste is handled and viewed

August 2005 — 2008

—Founder and President

  • www.airdropassist.org
  • June 2008: Commenced dissolution proceedings which were completed by December 2008
  • April 2008: Canceled clinic due to scheduling and bureaucratic issues
  • February 2008: Canceled upcoming course due to lack of enrollment Resided in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico to develop plans for San Bernardo clinic to be held in May 2008
  • December 2007: Awarded tax-exempt status under Federal Revenue Code 501c3 Went to San Bernardo, Sonora, Mexico, to assess a potential site for holding an airdrop and medical clinic Held fourth AiA course
  • June 2007: Awarded tax-exempt status under Federal Revenue Code 501c3
  • March 2007: Held the third AiA course
  • February 2007: Gave a one-hour presentation about Airdrop Assist, before the second-largest audience at the PIA Symposium
  • December 2006: Filed for Federal nonprofit status. Held the second AiA course (first under AiA title)
  • June 2006: Incorporated nonprofit in state of Arizona
  • October 2005 — March 2006: Prepared the class curriculum and held the first course

February 2004 Present

Domestic and International Clinics

  • www.ramusa.org
  • February 2007: Katrina-Victims' Health Clinic, held in New Orleans, LA click for details
  • January — July 2006: Initiated and organized the re-design of the RAM website
  • March 2006: Spay & Neuter Clinics throughout southern Baja California Sur, Mexico
  • February 2006: Katrina-Victims' Health Clinic, held in New Orleans, LA click for details
  • June 2005: First airdrop-accessed Health Care clinic, held at Lamb's Mountain in Tennessee click here for pictures
  • February 2005: Vision-Care Clinics and Engineering Assessments throughout refugee camps in Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia click for pictures
  • October 2004: Airstrip repairs at Gunns Strip, near the border of Brazil in southern Guyana click for pictures

August 2003 August 2005

Technical Operations: Mission Command and Control-IX Center
—On-Shift Technical Advisor

June 2002 - August 2003

Engineering Process Improvement Center
—Consultant Senior Systems Test Engineer

  • www.lockheedmartin.com
  • Created the presentation resources for corporate-wide exposure of EPIC programs
  • Worked in support of Model-Centric Design initiative for corporate-wide application

February 2001 - June 2002

Astronautics Division
—Senior Systems Test Engineer

  • www.lockheedmartin.com
  • Working to support the initial payload-phase of an upcoming launch operation
  • Recruited new-hire engineers for corporation through University Relations

February 2001 - February 2002

Technical Operations: Mission Command and Control-IX Center
—On-Shift Technical Advisor

  • www.lockheedmartin.com
  • Supported 24-hour satellite ground-support operations on 12-month TDY assignment
  • Recruited new-hire engineers for corporation through University Relations

May 1996 - February 2001

Astronautics Division: Leadership Development Program
—Senior Systems Test Engineer

  • www.lockheedmartin.com
  • Working to support the initial payload-phase of an upcoming launch operation
  • Developed and performed manual and automated procedures for space hardware
  • Worked on classified and unclassified programs for launch vehicles and satellites
  • Experience with multiple test facilities, for simulating launch and orbit environments
  • Worked with high-pressure, vacuum, and high-volume, fluid-flow tests
  • Recruited new-hire engineers for corporation through University Relations

May 1995 - August 1995

Mid-Size Car Division: Interior Systems Engineering Department
—Student Co-Op

  • www.gm.com
  • Designed and released instruction label involving user-interface design factors
  • Worked with a multi-platform vehicle design team involving GM Europe

May 1994 - December 1994

Mid-Size Car Division: Continuous Improvement Engineering Department
—Student Co-Op

  • www.gm.com
  • Root-caused interior trim and car-body production discrepancies
  • Developed computer application for the CIE group and assembly plant

May 1993 - December 1993

Mid-Size Car Division: Measurements and F-Car Development Department
—Student Co-Op

  • www.gm.com
  • Oversaw the development of an acoustic package for the 1994 Firebird
  • Installed and completed accelerometer and load tests for lab simulation

January 1992 - August 1992

Mid-Size Car Division: Rear-Suspension and Chassis Lab
—Student Co-Op

  • www.gm.com
  • Assisted in setting up and maintaining durability tests for the chassis lab
  • Oversaw inspection of approximately 100 field-cars in Montreal, Canada

More Information

Lockheed Martin Leadership Development Program
This program was implemented in 1999 at the Denver, CO operations, and I was selected as one of the first 11 people to participate. This is part of a heritage GE professional-development program, in order to meet the near-future demands of managerial skills, as the work force approaches a dramatic shift in demographics. Included in this program, the participants attend three week-long seminars, involving various aspects of "soft-skills" and "hard-skills". Additionally, the pursuit of a technical master's degree is required, which I successfully completed in May of 2002, while working full-time and taking the maximum number of courses under the corporate policy, in order to graduate within my goal of less than 3 years. I "graduated" from the "LDP" program in December 2001.

Lockheed Martin Letters of Commendation
Receiving my first commendation in 1997, resulting from my work during my first six months of service at an offsite activity, I had since received additional praise for my committment at work; including my professionalism in working with my colleagues and the site representatives. My annual performance reviews remained high and contributed to my election into the Lockheed Martin "High Potential" and "Engineering Leadership Development" programs. I saved two additional letters, one from the Atlas program in Colorado (which was in the year 2000) and another while I was working at the EPI Center in New Jersey.

Single-Scope Background Investigation (SSBI) Security Clearance
Valid from 1996 to 2005, my clearance was last updated in 2002 and the next scheduled revision was to be in 2007. Due to my resignment from Lockheed Martin, this security clearance expired in early 2006 (six months after leaving work).

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Imagination is more important than knowledge.

—A. Einstein



Master of Science, Interdisciplinary Telecommunications

Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering

Studied French as a second language

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Fluent in French since 1991
My studies in French began in high school and continued in college. After 2 years of studies at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, I applied for studying abroad for one semester. Upon returning, I was able to continue using French as a second language and have since maintained my level of fluency. As time allows, I will also study Spanish as a third language, to further develop my basic skills in this language.

EMT-Basic Certification
Completed in August 2005, and now expired, I received the National Registry certification for Emergency Medical Technician - Basic level. This was in pursuit of my remote-area volunteer work. This also includes pediatric and geriatric pre-hospital care and adult/child CPR and AED.

WFR Certification
Completed in August 2006, and valid until August 2008, I received the Wilderness Medical Institute certification for Wilderness First Responder. This was also in pursuit of my remote-area volunteer work. This includes adult CPR and airway management certification.

Rope Technician — Basic and Level I Training
Completed in May 2006, I completed over 24 hours of Basic Vertical Rope training, with a 200-foot cave descent/ascent, and over 30 hours of Rope Tech I training, with a 150-foot-drop waterfall traverse via a highline rope with an English Reeve system, from On Rope 1. This was in pursuit of my remote-area volunteer work.

Engineer In Training "EIT" Exam
In 1995 I successfully completed the EIT exam with an above-average score. I will need to find the test results to post them here.

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. . . everyone dies, but not everyone lives.

—A. Sachs



Where to start, where to end, how to fill in the space between? Well, I'll give you the rundown here; there's certainly more to discover about me, on this page and others in this website.

I enjoy doing many things and have met many interesting people in pursuit of these interests: skydiving, scuba diving, motorcycling, sailing, skiing, snowboarding, art, photography, guitar, juggling, home repair "DIY" projects, computers, gadgets, and cooking.

There simply are not enough hours in the day, dollars in the bank, or days to live, to learn and enjoy everything I'd like to learn and do! But, that is often the case so we all have to figure out which we want to do, and let the rest slide.

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I started skydiving in 1999 and have since traveled and done at least one skydive in all 50 states and in over a dozen countries on six continents; yes, Antarctica eludes me. I ran for the 2005-2006 USPA Board of Directors, to be one of the eight National Directors; I received 688 votes — putting me in 10th place — not too bad for the first time!

In addition to the sky, there's the water; where I can enjoy some scuba diving. In my few dives, I've been on both coasts of the US, off the east coast of Brazil, the southeast shore of Oahu, and the northeast shore of Bali. I'd rather be taking pictures or, better yet, hunting for fish and "bugs" than meandering around just looking at things.

I have two sisters and a brother; we "three sisters" all have art in our blood. I've never understood how people couldn't draw, until I realized that I couldn't do certain things that others could; for them, it was easy to do whatever it was I couldn't, while they stood in equal awe at how easy it was for me to draw their portrait. That's why there are "natural talents" and "learned talents". My medium-of-choice has been more in the 3-D world, such as working with woods and metals; but in recent years my interests have been drawn towards the digital-medium of image and video manipulation.

I like to build and repair things too. In the past, I worked at a bicycle shop; I spent five summers working in the shop, doing everything but balancing the books (they didn't want a teenager to handle the bookeeping). When I owned a home, I put my heart into it and tricked it out completely; doing all of the wiring, some carpentry (I skipped on drywalling, for a good reason), a little plumbing, and landscaping.

I love to cook — yes, I'm a foodie. I enjoy the sensual nature of cooking and the social celebration of food. Entertaining is the stuff of life and food is the centerpiece of most social events — for good reasons.

In 2005, I learned how to sail and ride a motorcycle. I hope to spend more time doing both. For now, I take up any opportunities to ride and sail; that's one advantage of living on the coast — you can do both in one day.

I dabble in many other things, like skiing and snowboarding (I am an amateur at both); juggling and poi juggling were a phase that I always hope to re-learn as well. I'm sometimes called "Gadget Girl" because I tinker with gadgets and find them fun and easy to explore and exploit for good uses. If I had to pick one instrument to learn, it would be the guitar; unfortunately, after years of trying, I found that my moving around all the time simply made it too difficult. So, I hum and sing to songs (in tune, but hardly worth a performance).

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The secret of health, of mind and body, is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles but to live in the present moment wisely and honestly.


Additional Information


I enjoy writing, which may sound unnatural for an engineer; I think that this misperception is often justified, but not always. For a complete list of what I've written, please view a list of my writings and my annual Year-In-Review letters ( aka "YIR"); don't forget to check out my stories, written about my collection of pictures.

After completing my master's degree in Interdisciplinary Telecommunications and having relevant experience in the field of astronautics, involving various aspects of rockets and satellites, I applied to the NASA Shuttle Program in 2003; for the position of Mission Specialist in the Shuttle Program.

I enjoy programming but I haven't done much in years. The closest I get anymore is in website coding in XHTML — but I am an amateur at best in this skill. In October 2002, I launched my personal website, which you are viewing now; it looked completely different from what you see here, but it was effective. By 2005 it was receiving over 100,000 hits per month from nearly 1,000 unique referrers. The current data for site activity is being populated, starting in late November 2007.

In late 2005, early 2006, I began efforts to re-design the RAM website. With the help of other volunteers, the new website layout was launched in July 2006.

More Information

Published Writer
Contrary to the "norm", as an engineer I enjoy writing — a lot — and I've found that I'm pretty good at it. One day, I hope to write more creative stories, but in the meantime I am working on the skill in general; through more modest efforts. After all, practice does make perfect. Perhaps this is because I love languages, in all forms of expression, and find the written word to be most rewarding; especially in knowing how it will outlast me, once I am gone. This is the power of words, so I try to use them wisely.

Beginning with a published article in 2002, in Parachutist Magazine, I continued with more frequent publications within the skydiving community. I am continuing to develop my skills in writing, which can be enjoyed through my annual YIR letters and other personal pursuits reflected in this website and elsewhere.

Application to NASA Shuttle Program
Two of my co-workers/mentors suggested this idea to me in 2001, as something to consider upon completion of my masters. In addition to my degree, I underwent scuba training, knowing it is expected of any participant in the program.

Upon review of my application, I was denied due to having had LASIK eye surgery (the application only mentioned RK surgery as unallowable). I had to call them to find this out, because my letter of rejection was mailed to my Colorado address, while I was working in California. Of course, knowing the caliber and life-long dedication which most mission specialists have, as compared to my experience which was not as committed to this goal, I feel fortunate to have even been suggested the idea of applying.

"Pro-Amateur" Webmaster
From suggestions by friends, and searching for an easier way to share my pictures and stories (among other interesting information), I started out using basic html code; limiting it to text and links to pictures, my personal website grew quickly.

Hosted by a friend who is a Network Administer, my website's content has grown into a virtual library of information and entertainment for many around the world. In late 2007, I re-designed the layout of this website, using a variety of free sources on the internet and through self-teaching methods of coding in XHTML and CSS.

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The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.

—Chinese proverb

The End. . . and the Future

Trash Without Borders If you've gotten this far, congratulations! I hope you enjoyed my information and perhaps you have found something that I may be able to do for or with you.

My current passion is in developing an awareness campaign. . . about trash (and all of the issues that surround it). When I talk about it with people, everyone is fascinated and they see trash in a different light. I hope to spread that light, to as many people as possible, and make our world a more beautiful place to live. Who'd have thought that trash could be interesting and that people can get excited about it!

This project is totally new and under heavy construction; the idea came to me over time and after many miles of travel. In October 2006, I struck an "Aha!" moment and have been working away at it since. Of course, when I'm ready to reveal it, I will post it on my website. Wish me luck and stay tuned for more!

I'm always open to suggestions and offers, so please feel free to contact me.

In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.

—N. Kazantzakis

Valid CSS! Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict