Student Feature: Tami Katz

Tami Katz with her dog Max and cat Odie.

Tami Katz is a Ph.D. student in systems engineering and a staff consultant systems engineer at Ball Aerospace.

She is currently working on her dissertation “Cost optimization in requirements management for space systems.”

Katz received her B.S. in aerospace engineering from California State Polytechnic University at Pomona and her M.S. in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California.

Where do you work currently?

I am a Staff Consultant Systems Engineer at Ball Aerospace. This is my second time at Ball, I used to work there from 2003-2012, then I left to be a systems engineer on the Dream Chaser space plane at Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC).

After 7 1/2 years I decided to return to Ball last May.  Having worked the last few years as an  SE department manager, I felt the need to go back into a technical systems engineering job again.  Right now I am chief systems engineer for an optical instrument that will be part of a earth observing satellite system.

How do you implement systems-thinking in your job?

I was a systems engineer before I even knew the term existed! I am always looking to the main problem we are trying to solve and determine how the entire project can be designed to address it.

It isn’t about the pieces, it is about the whole and the emergent properties the parts exhibit when working together.  It is also about how the people work together and the tools we use, sometimes a project team can be treated as a system as well (there are interfaces, functions, behaviors, and structure!).

What do you like to do when you aren’t working/taking classes?

I am the chair of the INCOSE requirements working group, helping to develop new practices such as model-based approaches to requirements development and management.   The photo of me was taken just before I presented at the INCOSE symposium (virtually) – I spend a lot of time in my home office and get support from my dog Max and cat Odie.

I am also a Avalanche Hockey season ticket holder (go Avs!), and enjoy spending time with my husband, Mike, and two kids.  My daughter Janelle is a student at UCCS, my son Jason just started CU Boulder, so we have three college students in the family!  We love to ski at Steamboat Springs, or go to the Caribbean and unwind.

Who inspires you?

My kids, particularly now as they navigate college and life through a pandemic.

What’s a fun fact about you people may not know?

I have played hockey for several years with the Denver Women’s Hockey League (DWHL), however I play less often these days due to school.  Maybe next summer I can get back into it!