Lake County SpacePort 

                                                                                       "Ad Astra per Formae"
About Us

Steven W. Jochums

Owner & Operator, Lake County


Steven Jochums was a Senior Staff Engineer in the Renewable Energy business unit of Underwriters Laboratories, LLC. He worked at UL for 27 years and served in many different positions at the company. Steven has worked as both a product safety and performance reliability engineer for UL in relation to the Photovoltaic (solar electric) Power Industries. Additionally, he worked in product assessment for safety in the Power System  Products and Power Supply categories. He was involved with photovoltaic module evaluation and testing from 1997 until 2022, along with category development at the companie's Northbrook Headquarters office. He also served on many different National and International PV safety standards development committees during his career at UL.

Steven became the Primary Designated Engineer for UL 1703 – Photovoltaic Modules and Panels, from 1997 until 2003. During this time, Steven served as a U.S. delegate for IEC Technical Committee 82 (Photovoltaics), Working Group 2, which worked to create and maintain the IEC standards on PV equipment. Steven also served as a U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) representative to the IEC, the IEEE and ANSI.

Steve was presented the UL GM’s Award in 2005 for helping to provide specialized testing for UL PV clients in Northbrook. He attended numerous UL University provided training courses, as well as serving as an instructor to UL University, conducting training sessions for new Photovoltaic Product Engineers from 2007 to 2009. He served as Senior Regional Lead Reviewer for photovoltaic products and helped provide training for UL engineers from seven different countries, to help UL provide more localized service to the PV industry worldwide.  

Steve holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering Technologies from Bradley University and is a Professional Engineer-In-Training in the State of Wisconsin. Steve also holds an Associate’s Degree in General Education from Illinois Central College. 

Prior to joining UL, Steven worked for over 19 years in the consumer electronics industry, in direct consumer sales and marketing at Team Electronics of Peoria (IL), Inc. 

While living in Peoria, Steve was actively involved with the Peoria L5, a local chapter of the L5 Society, which promoted space commercialization, colonization and exploitation for economic benefit of space activities for all mankind.

He worked with the Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences’ planetarium staff in conducting space and model rocketry workshops and events, to increase the intrests and awareness of the space sciences.

Peoria L5 also conducted annual model rocketry events at Illinois Central College in East Peoria during the “Spaceweek” period in July (July 16-24), which commemorated the Apollo 11 First Lunar Landing mission and helped to increase public awareness in space sciences. 

After the Challenger Accident in 1986, Steve and Peoria L5 founder Robin Miller were called upon by local media to serve as “local experts” in space activities during coverage of the event. Peoria L5 also conducted a Challenger Memorial Event at Illinois Central College, which provided information on the causes of the accident as documented in the Rogers Commission Report, as well as information on how the country should respond, by presenting the goals of the National Commission on Space Report as the blueprint for America’s future in space exploration and space exploitation. 

In 1987, a year after the 51-L accident, Peoria L5 hosted a massive Spaceweek event with Lakeview Museum, which featured guest speakers from John Deere Engineering Institute in microgravity metalergical research, McDonnell-Douglas Astronautics on Shuttle-based Zero-G medical product purification, Comcast Corporation on satellite communications, and other presentors on NASA's budget planning and the National Commission on Space report.  The event featured a “Space Banquet,” which offered guests a menu of  Shuttle-based rehydratable foods and included special guest speakers. At the dinner, Steve was presented with the 1987 Peoria L5 Space Pioneer Award for his service and contributions to the space advocacy community. 

Prior to Peoria L5, Steve founded and operated the Illinois Valley Aerospace Club in his hometown of Roanoke, Illinois. The club focused on model rocketry and model aviation, and conducted numerous public launch events in Central Illinois and the suburban Chicago areas, as representatives of model rocket product manufacturer, Estes Industries. IVAC’s crowning achievement was conducting a series of fund raising events from 1977 to 1981, which allowed the club to witness the first launch of the Space Shuttle, STS-1, as invited guests of NASA on April 12, 1981. The organization operated from 1974 until 1984. 

Besides STS-1, Steve has also attended the launches of STS-4 in 1982 and STS-133, the final flight of Orbiter Discovery on February 24, 2011. He has toured the Kennedy Space Center 13 times from 1970 to 2024, and toured the U.S Space & Rocket Center and Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama in 1977, 1981, 1982 and 1993. He also was finally able to visit Space Center Houston and the Johnson Space Center in Texas in 2018 and again in 2020. 

Steve has actively studied, researched and modeled the American Space Program, with an emphasis on both static and flying space modeling since 1966. His scratch-built Shuttle Launch Complex Model in 1/144 scale was used by Revell Corporation in 1984 to illustrate a forthcoming production scale model kit at both the Dallas Hobby Show and the New York Toy Fair. The same model was used as the centerpiece for the Spaceweek 87 event at Peoria’s Lakeview Museum, in memory of the Mission 51-L Crew. Steve continues an active space modeling hobby career, with published articles of both real and fictional spacecraft models in numerous magazines and websites. 

Today, Steve keeps busy working the affairs of the Lake County SpacePort, the home-hobby business he started in 2012, when the re-production of Ed Bisconti's original Shuttle Tile Decals for his own model projects made it clear that other modelers were also trying to find copies of these items. From this simple beginning, the business has grown in over the past 12 years, to provide an entire series of Shuttle-related modeling products, as well as articles for models of the International Space Station and other classic Space Model kits. 

Lake County SpacePort owner, Steve Jochums with former Space Shuttle Launch Director, Bob Sieck at "Shuttle Fest III," Titusville, FL, April 13, 2024.