Payload Pioneers 2023: Stephanie DelPozzo

Stephanie DelPozzo is making a name for herself in the business of space as an associate specializing in aerospace and defense at Nextfed, an M&A firm.

Getting her start: Despite growing up in “the shadows of Kennedy Space Center,” DelPozzo didn’t initially believe a career in space was for her because she wanted to pursue policy and economics, not science and engineering. But when the discussion turned to space in one of her economics classes at Florida State University, she realized she could combine her two passions.

Bridging the gap: DelPozzo went on to receive a master’s degree from George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute, but noticed that different parts of the space community were focused on science, policy, or finance—and they rarely overlapped.

“In my career, I have acted as a liaison between these three groups to help scientists understand how to scale production in their new ventures, translate technical needs and possibilities within the defense and intelligence communities, and guide financiers to technology and groups who need investment to continue operations,” she said. 

Big bucks: DelPozzo has closed 40+ M&A deals in the past two years at Nextfed, and has encouraged “traditionally stodgy aerospace executives to rethink how markets evolve, what good talent looks like, and how the government can enable the private sector,” according to her nomination from Caleb Williams, a VP at Quilty Space.

She’s done it all while advocating for prioritizing mental health and working to make the DC space community more inclusive for sober people like herself, including pushing organizations to consider social events that are not centered around alcohol.

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