Founder, Craig Technologies
2009 Alumni Achievement Award Winner
Major: Computer Science and Computer Science Engineering
Carol Craig '89 says there is a secret to her success: live with no regrets.
"Second guessing wastes precious time," says Craig. "I never ask 'what if …?'."
Her philosophy has served her well, helping her make the decisive choices needed to establish Craig Technologies, which has grown from one employee -- her -- to a national aerospace consulting company with more than 140 employees in less than 10 years.
She credits much of her success to her liberal arts education. Craig graduated with a BA in computer science from Knox and a BS in computer science engineering from the University of Illinois through Knox's 3-2 Engineering Program. In addition, she completed her M.S. in electrical and computer engineering and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in the same field. "I think my liberal arts education set me apart from some of the other engineers. It gave me social skills, writing skills and more of an open mind socially and professionally," she says.
After graduation, Craig went to work for the Department of Defense, where she focused on developing software for aircraft cockpit systems. But she wanted to do more than work on planes for the military. She wanted to join the Navy and fly herself. Craig received a commission through Aviation Officer Candidate School, became a Naval Flight Officer and was the first woman aviator in her P-3 Orion squadron.
A knee injury abruptly ended her naval career.
She intended to go back to the Department of Defense, but began being sought out as a consultant. "Business just kind of snowballed from there. I had so much work I was bringing in my friends to help out," she says.
When Craig’s husband retired from the Navy, the couple settled in Cape Canaveral, Florida, where she could grow her fledgling enterprise. In 2003, she began building a small business with a large business infrastructure, focusing on government programs in aerospace and defense. That infrastructure has allowed Craig Technologies to grow quickly and efficiently. Within five years, she had offices in Cape Canaveral, Pensacola, and Jacksonville, Florida, and Canton, Illinois, where her parents run the administrative office.
Craig says the company probably would have grown even more quickly, but having a son born with a rare genetic disorder, Prader-Willi Syndrome, forced her to refocus her energy. "I think that helped me prioritize." says Craig.
"I don't want to regret that I didn't take my child to the park because I had to attend a meeting with a customer," she adds.
Craig hopes to see her business grow exponentially in the coming years. "We tripled in size each of the last three years. I hope to double that in the next year and half to 300 employees," she says. "We’re ready."
"I think that you can balance anything as long as you understand your priorities."