Reaching high Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2010

Aa s a young man in southeast Texas, near the Mexican border, Edelmiro “Ed” Muniz remembers picking cotton in the fields and watching shiny metal machines soar overhead. Back then, few people would have guessed that Muniz would become an aerospace engineer and start MEI Technologies Inc., which today ranks as a top global organization for space manufacturing.

He received a degree in engineering and served for 20 years in the U.S. Air Force, where as his last assignment before retirement, he served as commander of the First Manned Space Flight Control Squadron at the Johnson Space Center of NASA in Houston.

After retirement, he realized he wasn’t done with aerospace engineering and decided to start a company in 1992. As a new entrepreneur, he landed his first contract with the Air Force. But soon after taking on the Air Force contract, Muniz realized that his engineering background didn’t provide the know-how for running a business. So he sought assistance from the Small Business Administration’s Business Development Program, which taught him how to maintain a profitable model and also fostered MEI’s commitment to helping small businesses in the industry.

That experience helped Muniz realize the importance of creating solid relationships, which has helped him grow the company — an advanced technology company serving the civil, commercial and defense industries — to offices in eight states and more than 800 employees.

Muniz’s visionary nature can also be seen through his leadership to make aerospace engineering more commercial and less focused on the traditional channels of space flight at a time when government spending for the industry is declining.

How to reach: MEI Technologies Inc., (281) 283-6045 or