September 22, 2017 – Yesterday afternoon the Aerospace States Association Chair, New Mexico Lt. Governor John Sanchez announced Lockheed Martin Space Systems’ Joe Rice as the selectee for the association’s 2017 Thomas R. Hobson Distinguished Aerospace Service Award. The award honors a person that has a body of achievements over many years that reflect exemplary support of state base aerospace. The award is named in memory of Thomas R. Hobson, who served as Principal Manager of Government and Public Affairs at Rockwell Collins, headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Rice was selected from five extremely worthy and impressive finalists based on his significant achievements to aerospace. During his career he has contributed to, and recognized, the U. S. states’ and territories’ fundamental and important economic role in strengthening America’s aerospace prowess. Rice has shown enormous capacity, innovation and commitment in bringing government, industry and education stakeholders together to make aerospace in Colorado and the nation stronger, and more competitive.
Rice was instrumental in championing collaboration among Colorado legislators which led to establishing Colorado’s Aerospace & Defense Caucus. He is active in the Colorado Space Business Roundtable, leading efforts to establish the annual “Aerospace Day at the Colorado Capital” event. He developed and executed regular aerospace business development road trips that successfully link aerospace companies and opportunities with suppliers and subcontractors to all parts of Colorado – an initiative he expanded to include similar road trips in Utah, New Mexico, and Alabama. Rice is an ardent supporter of STEM education; supporting a hands-on approach to building the aerospace workforce pipeline by spearheading an innovative Aerospace Internship program to increase training opportunities for young people in rural areas of Colorado.
Rice is a retired Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, a former mayor and a prior State House Representative. He is currently the Director of Government Relations at Lockheed Martin. He exemplifies Mr. Hobson’s desire that the aerospace industry be as strong a contributor to their local and state communities as they are nationally and globally.