Jack Hand, past CEO and chairman of POWER Engineers, and Tom Mueller, CEO of Impulse Space Propulsion and founding member of SpaceX, are the 2021 inductees into the Idaho Technology Council (ITC) Hall of Fame, which is sponsored by Idaho Central Credit Union.
Under Hand’s leadership, POWER Engineers diversified into new markets through a combination of strategic acquisitions and organic growth, bringing it into the food and beverage, federal and international markets. As a result, Hand’s vision helped POWER Engineers increase its gross revenue from $25 million to $460 million and bolster its workforce from 230 to more than 2,400 employees in over 45 offices across North America.
Mueller was a founding member of SpaceX and revolutionized spaceflight with his development of liquid rocket engines. Mueller earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Idaho before starting his career with TRW Inc., where he was a lead engineer of the TR-106 engine. His work attracted the attention of Elon Musk and in 2002, Mueller became a founding employee of SpaceX. As SpaceX’s vice president of propulsion, Mueller led development of the Merlin and Kestrel engines for the Falcon 1, the first liquid fueled orbital rocket launched by a private company. Hand and Mueller will be honored at the 2021 Hall of Fame scheduled for October 21 at the Boise Centre. Jay Larsen, founder and president of the ITC, praised Hand’s leadership and Mueller’s rocket designs, stating these inductees represent how Idaho innovators have made a global impact and them deserving additions to the Hall of Fame.