Susan Ruth is a talented engineer and supervisor who brought these same skills to SAMPE. After SAMPE expanded internationally, Susan was our first female international president. (Peggy Moore was the first woman to serve as SAMPE’s president.) Her unique global vision was critical as she implemented a program of growth and consolidation for all the international sectors of SAMPE. Susan also understood and promoted the student-related activities of SAMPE realizing that new, young members were a key to SAMPE’s long-term growth and strength.
Susan was especially interested in providing a strong voice and feeling of belonging to SAMPE’s non-North American members. For many years, she hosted annual parties at her home, with special attention to international members on the day following the SAMPE exposition and conference in Anaheim or Long Beach. Members from all over the world marveled at the models of space ships, naval ships and paraphernalia of Star Wars and Star Trek that Susan and her husband made and collected. It was always a fun evening of good food and interesting conversation.
Susan saw the advantages of SAMPE becoming more directly involved in the space programs (was it the Star Trek effect?) and she led SAMPE to much tighter interactions with this important sector. Susan was a section leader at her company and used this position to invite several college students to work for the Aerospace Corporation as interns. She taught them how to think long-term and strategically as well as how to perform complex and difficult engineering systems analyses. She strengthened the student organizations in SAMPE and always was a kind advocate for student events.
In that international spirit, Susan worked to reconcile the breach that had occurred between SAMPE and the people in India who had formed I-SAMPE. Susan became good friends with the leadership of I-SAMPE and made several attempts to draw them into the SAMPE organization.
Just before Susan’s presidency, there was a major downturn in the aerospace industry and it caused SAMPE to lose money. However, Susan quickly reacted and was able to pull SAMPE to a breakeven financial position.
Susan was a pioneer for women in SAMPE and also was an example for everyone on how to think strategically and globally. A compassionate and perceptive as a leader, we thank her for her service.