"For me, Knox was the place that encouraged me to play a varsity sport, serve on the student council, take cl...
Office of Communications
2 East South Street
Galesburg, IL 61401
CEO, Craig Technologies
Major in Computer Science, 3-2 Engineering
Carol Craig '89 is the founder, CEO, and CFO of Craig Technologies, a company that specializes in aerospace and defense manufacturing. Craig leads general operations and helps create strategic engineering solutions for clients such as the Department of Defense, Boeing, and SpaceX.
Craig participated in the 3-2 engineering program at Knox as a computer science major, and earned a bachelor's of science in computer science engineering in partnership with the University of Illinois. She earned her master's degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Before founding Craig Technologies, she was P-3C Orion Naval Flight Officer.
What challenges have you faced as a woman throughout your career and how has Knox equipped you to deal with these challenges?
While many may see me now as one of the few women who has pushed past the stereotypes and succeeded, I still experience gender discrimination in business. It was just in the past year that a gentleman sitting in my 160,000-square-foot manufacturing facility asked me: "Are you familiar with the term 'C Corporation?'" I was shocked and amused, but the question is whether a man would be asked the same question in a high-level business discussion—I doubt it.
Knox College helped me learn to be more open-minded and understanding of others. The liberal arts mindset cultivated thinking out of the box before that was even a buzz-phrase. At Knox, I was oblivious to race, culture, religion or other sometimes polarizing views because of the culture of inclusion and acceptance. The small-town closeness combined with the big city exposure that Knox provided gave me a chance to excel and build confidence in my own abilities while gaining acceptance of other points of view.
Craig Technologies prides itself on being a Minority-Owned, Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned, Economically-Disadvantaged Woman-Owned Small Business, and a Small Disadvantaged Business. Do you have any advice for students who are in some way "disadvantaged" compared to competitors?
Obstacles are obstacles. I like to believe that the only obstacle is yourself. There are very few things that are impossible and most of the problems come from ourselves—and we let that get in the way of success or just doing the things we want to do. Whether you are a woman, minority, or fit any other demographic that faces adversity, I encourage you to embrace the fear and take advantage of your passion, perseverance, and competitiveness to identify on your own what it takes to overcome yourself.
How has your educational background influenced the way you approach your work and the ideals of your business?
I was able to pursue advanced technology courses while earning a top-notch liberal arts education—even while I was still in high school. Both high school and college provided complementary well-rounded courses of study, which has made me a better leader. I was able to continue my music passion at Knox as well. I believe that music is a formula for success and opens your mind to creative possibilities in many other aspects of life. There is no question that my liberal arts exposure helped me excel as an engineer with people skills, which is ultimately what has made me such a successful business leader.
Photo below: Carol Craig meets with Knox Students during StartUp Term, a 10-week immersive experience where students transform original business concepts into real services and products.