CEO at forefront of sustainable engineering to visit NMSU

April 14, 2011 by Melisa P. Danho, NMSU News Center

Heather Fleming, CEO of Catapult Design. (Courtesy photo.)

When most people think of a CEO someone like Bill Gates or Richard Branson comes to mind. New Mexico State University will bring a CEO who explodes those and other stereotypes to give a presentation about innovation for the developing world April 19.

Heather Fleming is a Navajo woman from New Mexico who started her own product strategy firm, Catapult Design, which creates tools and technologies for disadvantaged communities around the world.

Catapult Design is unique in that it is a nonprofit firm with a goal to engineer inexpensive devices using materials readily available to struggling communities in order to solve common problems.

Many projects have been tackled by Fleming and her firm including developing a low-cost wind turbine to meet electricity needs in Guatemala, working in Tanzania on an LED lighting project to create an alternative to expensive, potentially toxic kerosene lamps and testing and tweaking solar powered mosquito traps for use in places prone to outbreaks of malaria.

Joe Graham, director of Indian Resource Development at NMSU, said he was excited when he heard about Fleming and learned she was a Navajo woman from New Mexico on the cutting edge of engineering and sustainability.

“I believe she can help show local students that their education can be used to evoke real change,” Graham said.

Fleming will be at NMSU speaking about her work with Catapult Design, Engineers Without Borders and social entrepreneurship opportunities in native communities and abroad.

Fleming’s presentation will be at O’Donnell Hall Room 111 at 7:30 p.m. on the NMSU campus. The presentation is part of the Indian Resource Development program’s Tribal Scholars Speaker Series. For more information about the event or the speaker, contact the IRD program at 575-646-1347 or The event is free and open to the public.

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