About Carol Craig
“I don’t like being told I can’t do something,” says Carol Craig, Founder and CEO of Craig Technologies, a quickly-growing engineering, technology and manufacturing business that she grew from a single person consultancy in 1999 to the over 400 associates across 20 states serving both government and commercial customers today. Carol describes herself as an accidental entrepreneur and
Unconventional CEOTM saying, “I had no thought of ever owning or running a business. I just wanted to develop software in a corner somewhere!”
Adopted as an infant born of Cuban descent, Carol was raised in a rural community in Central Illinois and was able to succeed with the help of a strong support system, “I was blessed to be adopted by parents who believed that children should have equal chances for success, no matter what their economic situation or class in life.” Setting the pace for her future in engineering, Carol admits, “I walked the line between being the good girl and the bad one – luckily my parents recognized that fact and kept me so busy with activities that I didn’t have time to get into too much trouble.”
Going on to compete in track and field, Carol broke records and graduated with a BA in Computer Science from Knox College and earned a BS in Computer Science Engineering from the University of Illinois in a unique dual-enrollment program. Following graduation and working with the Naval Air Warfare Center-Indianapolis as a civil servant, Carol challenged herself to become a Naval Flight Officer despite suffering from chronic motion sickness and an initial fear of flying, “It’s better to suck it up and power through.” Carol was the first female aviator to join her P-3C Orion squadron and learned to eventually transfer military discipline and know-how to her entrepreneurial career.
Carol continued with her engineering work after being medically discharged from the Navy following a training injury. She went on to earn an MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and is now pursuing a PhD in Systems Engineering at Florida Tech. “I don’t really like school, but I like to know what I’m talking about,” Carol says when asked often about being an overachiever.
In 2011, Carol’s intrepid spirit guided her to diversify the business from engineering and technical services to precision manufacturing and negotiated and executed a 5-year unfunded Space Act Agreement with NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in 2012 to maintain and use 1,600 pieces of specialty manufacturing and test equipment previously used during the Shuttle program. This entrepreneurial venture combined with her existing stellar management team contributed to Craig Technologies being named the 2014/15 Small Business Subcontractor of the Year by NASA’s Kennedy Space Center
Carol’s business success has garnered a number of prestigious corporate and individual awards including ranking #8 in the list of 2013 Best Companies to Work For by Florida Trend, and recognition by the National Defense Industrial Association’s (NDIA) as the 2013 Kathleen P. Sridhar Small Business Executive of the Year. In 2012, Carol received the Technology Executive of the Year Congressional Medal of Merit from US Congressman Bill Posey.
Carol believes that corporate support of civic initiatives is imperative to economic development. She challenges other business leaders to engage their time and resources for the benefit of social integrity and the future of the marketplace. “I try to lead by example,” she says, and effectively added Community to Craig Technologies’ core corporate values. She serves in leadership roles on numerous civic boards to include the Economic Development Commission of the Space Coast and Career Source Brevard, as well as the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise Florida. She was the 2016 Board Chair for United Way of Brevard and the first woman in its history to chair a campaign and then become chair of the board.
Additionally, Carol reaches out to other women and young girls through active involvement in organizations like Junior Achievement and the Women’s Business Center that encourage growth and development of woman-owned businesses and entrepreneurship, “Women entrepreneurs should never apologize for who they are – being a mother or having family priorities. The very attributes inherent to women are the ones that make us successful. Be true to yourself and be yourself– you can do it all.”
Personally, Carol has overcome challenges and found success because of her optimism and strong sense of duty. “My focus has always been to help those who can’t help themselves.” Immediately after learning her son, Danny, was born with the rare genetic disorder Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) in 2001, Carol faced the challenge head-on to meet the complications of and focused on learning anything and everything about treatments and research for PWS. She founded the Danny Craig Foundation in 2010 to raise and administer funds for multiple organizations that focus on researching children’s medical disorders and improving the quality of life of children with special needs.
Carol and her husband, CAPT John W. Craig, USN, enjoy family travel with Danny and daughter Gillian, cheering on the Orlando Magic, and attending church in Merritt Island where Carol sings in the choir and plays piano.