Director of Business Development at Paragon Space Development
“A Tenacious Leader”
As the head of business development and marketing, Leslie Haas drives growth in the core business and new markets central to Paragon’s strategy. This includes business initiatives, strategic sales and marketing programs, acquisition targeting activities, and ensuring a pipeline of business opportunities to support growth. When she joined the company almost five years ago, her goal was to work to transition the company from providing engineering services for design and analysis and prototype designs to complete environmental control systems design and production. “We have achieved this goal and experienced over 300% growth in recent years. We have a great team at Paragon and I cannot be prouder of the way they have handled the tremendous growth of the company over the last few years.”
According to Leslie, whenever you are a trailblazer or pioneer in new areas, you will always experience pushback, whether you are a woman or a man. It is human nature. “In my career, I have always been focused on launching new products and/or new programs, so I did experience barriers. Whether it was the launch of the International Space Station in the 90s when I was with Rocketdyne or the worldwide launch of the DVD format when I was with Sony,” she says. “My advantage is that I was tenacious, hard-working, and had a “failure is not an option” mentality which served me well. Currently we are working on NASA’s Artemis program which will put the first woman on the moon, which is indicative of how far we have come in the industry from years past. Today I am no longer the only woman in the room and, in many ways, it is now an advantage to be a woman in the aerospace industry.”
Leslie has worked with, championed, and mentored many women over the years. One is now Chief Procurement Officer for a major pharmaceutical company. Another one is Chief Financial Officer for a prominent non-profit in Phoenix. Several others launched their own businesses. “I also speak to young girls about STEM and its importance. Careers in engineering and science provide a platform for making significant change in our world and are becoming increasingly vital to success in life – and the best part is, these areas are in high demand now, which is very promising,” she explains. “For me, inspiring and empowering women to pursue their dreams and accomplish great goals is more than a “check in the box” – it is personal and it is a calling. To that end – and this is advice I would give to anyone, man or woman – I always try to reinforce the idea that to succeed, you must first not be afraid. If you can get over apprehension, you can channel it into a positive force for action, and you can achieve anything.” Armed with this ideology, she has been taking the company to new heights.
Paragon has been at the forefront of systems designed for extreme sea, air, and space environments for over 28 years. Paragon has a successful history of being involved in the design of every human space vehicle since 1999. Examples include Lockheed Martin’s Orion, SpaceX’s Dragon I and II, and Boeing’s Starliner (CST-100).
Since then, Paragon has grown in personnel, design, analysis, manufacturing, and operational capabilities to support the most current and forward-leaning civil and commercial space programs. Presently, Paragon is working on programs that will send the first woman and first person of color to the Moon. “In 2020, we won to two major back-to-back contracts to achieve this goal—the life support systems for the NASA Gateway HALO program with OEM Northrop Grumman and the Human Lunar Landing System with OEM Dynetics”. Paragon has the Humidity Control Assembly on Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner which has an upcoming flight later this year. “We designed, manufactured and delivered our patented xRAD radiators for Sierra Space’s Dream Chaser Cargo Module. The Dream Chaser spaceplane is a multi-mission space utility vehicle designed to transport crew and cargo to low-Earth orbit (LEO) destinations such as the International Space Station. We are also working on multiple NASA-funded In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) technology development contracts.” IEWL
Director of Business Development at
Paragon Space Development
Paragon is the premier provider of environmental controls for extreme and hazardous environments. We design, build, test and operate premier life support systems and leading thermal control products for astronauts, contaminated water divers, and extreme environment adventurers, as well as for unmanned space and terrestrial applications.