For more than 40 years, Rob Steinhoff has been “Mr. Mechanisms” to his colleagues at the Kansas City National Security Campus (KCNSC), managed by Honeywell FM&T – and with good reason. Steinhoff received the Honeywell Aerospace Lifetime Achievement Award Sept. 20 at the Honeywell Technology Awards Night in Phoenix, Arizona. Steinhoff who retired earlier this year as a Chief Engineer and Engineering Fellow, is the first KCNSC employee to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. The prestigious award was presented by Brian Wenig, President, Honeywell Mechanical Systems & Components and Todd Giles, Chief Technology Officer, Honeywell Aerospace.
“Rob guided our mechanisms operation and, more than any other single individual, turned it into the high-functioning, high-performance organization it is today,” said Dan Bowen, Chief Scientist and Sr. Fellow, who worked with Rob for more than 13 years. “There is no one more deserving of this award. Rob is a bedrock for Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies and his legacy in the mechanisms business is unmatched.”
Steinhoff joined what was then called the Bendix Kansas City Division (now the Kansas City National Security Campus, managed by Honeywell FM&T) in 1981, right out of college. He knew from a young age he wanted to be an engineer. He enjoyed taking things apart and putting them back together again, like lots of engineers-in-the-making. That natural curiosity made him the ideal candidate to work in the complicated world of Swiss-watch like micro-mechanical devices that are critical to KCNSC’s nuclear security mission.
Accepting the award, Steinhoff made a special effort to recognize his Kansas City coworkers. “It’s been my privilege to be part of such an outstanding organization,” he said. “The KCNSC team is second to none. Working with such smart and talented people made the job a whole lot easier. I will miss the challenges, but I will miss the people most of all.”
During his tenure at Honeywell, Steinhoff honed his expertise in machining processes, gear manufacturing, complex device assembly, testing processes and failure analysis. His capabilities as a leader were showcased in several areas that extended throughout KCNSC. From a technical perspective, he led tactical and strategic planning for technologies and products, as well as staffing and resource planning.
He also served a three-year assignment with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Science Council in Washington, D.C., where he was KCNSC’s voice on various matters affecting the nuclear security mission. Upon his return to Kansas City, Steinhoff agreed to establish the Chiefs Council to improve the organization’s ability to support early-career and new KCNSC employees.
Steinhoff is known throughout the organization for keeping his commitments and demonstrating teamwork, leadership and a passion for continuous improvement. He has been on both sides of the business, with time spent at design agency partner, Sandia National Laboratories in a designer role, and many years at the KCNSC, a production agency, moving products from development to production, which gave him this unique perspective.