Debra D. Facktor is the vice president and general manager of Strategic Operations for Ball Aerospace, where she is responsible for increasing Ball Aerospace’s profile in the market and facilitating collaboration across the company. Facktor is the company’s senior executive in the Washington, DC area and leads Washington Operations, Marketing & Communications, and Strategic Development.
Most recently, Facktor took on the additional responsibility of leading the Commercial Aerospace business unit where she created and executed an integrated company-wide commercial strategy that leverages Ball’s heritage of capabilities in areas such as remote sensing, transformational communications and data analytics. She has since returned her focus to Strategic Operations and Ball’s commitment to deepen its presence and engagement at all levels in the Washington, DC metro area.
Facktor brings over 30 years of experience in the aerospace industry to her current role. Prior to joining Ball in January 2013, she served as the president of DFL Space LLC, an aerospace consulting firm focused on developing innovative business strategies for a wide range of clients. As an industry professor at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ, she led its Masters of Engineering in Technical Leadership program and served as Director of Strategic Programs for the Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC). She was Principal Investigator on the SERC research project “Expedited Systems Engineering for Rapid Capability and Urgent Needs,” sponsored by the U.S. Air Force.
Facktor has extensive business experience including serving as president and an owner of AirLaunch LLC, a small business which won funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the U.S. Air Force to develop an operationally responsive small launch vehicle. She previously served as vice president of Business Development and Strategic Planning for Kistler Aerospace Corporation. Earlier in her career, she was chief of Moscow Operations for ANSER’s Center for International Aerospace Cooperation.
Among other distinctions, Facktor was honored with the University of Michigan 2014 Alumni Merit Award for Aerospace Engineering and as the Women in Aerospace (WIA) “Most Outstanding Member” for 2012. She is the former chair of the board of WIA and founding president of the WIA Foundation. Facktor serves on the board of the American Astronautical Society (AAS), the Future Space Leaders Foundation, and the industry advisory boards of the University of Michigan Aerospace Engineering Department and the Johns Hopkins University Space Systems Engineering program. She is also an appointed member of the FAA’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC). Facktor is a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), a fellow of the AAS and an Academician of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA). She holds both a B.S. and M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan, and is an alumna of the International Space University summer session program in space policy and law.