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Masters with Masters 12 (Jack Boyd and Hans Mark)

>>Ed Hoffman: Hello, and welcome to Masters with Masters. I am Ed Hoffman, the NASA Chief Knowledge Officer and the Director for our Academy of Program/Project & Engineering Leadership. These Masters with Masters events bring together expert practitioners and leaders to share their lessons, their experiences, and their reflections on NASA and the broader aerospace community. And this is a particular and extraordinary event, from my standpoint, in that we have two legendary leaders for NASA and the aerospace community with us, Hans Mark and Jack Boyd. We’re also privileged to be here at the NASA Ames Research Center in the auditorium. Let me start by introducing Dr. Hans Mark. Hans has done virtually everything in the larger area of aerospace and defense. He has been the Deputy NASA Administrator, he has been the Ames Center Director, he served as the chancellor of the University of Texas, he was also the former secretary, undersecretary of the air force, and he was also the director of the National Reconnaissance Office, and the director of the Department of Defense research and engineering. So you’ve obviously been busy in your career. And let’s welcome Dr. Hans Mark [Applause]. >>Hans Mark: Jack just said, I can’t keep a job. [Laughter.] You see what I have to live with here.>>Hoffman: On the other hand, someone who can keep a job [laughter] for over sixty years, Jack Boyd is the senior advisor to the NASA Ames Center director. He is also an historian, he has been the associate administrator for NASA for management, and has also served as the acting deputy center director for the Ames Research Center, and started at NASA before it was NASA. Please welcome Jack Boyd [applause]. So I would like to start and we’ll go to questions from our audience here at Ames, I’d like to start with how do you start working together and what was it that brought you together and maybe share some background on each other?>>Jack Boyd: Me first. I got a call from the administrator, or the about to be administrator Jim Beggs, saying he had this young fella he wanted me to show around Ames and don’t ask any questions. So I said, okay, and Hans came and spent a day. Next thing though, he went to have dinner with Harvey Allen, who was the current center director. Harvey came in the next morning said, “I don’t know, but I think he is okay because he can hold his martinis.” And Harvey made a wicked Martini, let me tell you. And two other points quickly, we spent a lot of time here together and in Washington, but when we went to Texas—I like these two stories about Hans. He doesn’t like me to tell them. Ann Richards and he were having an argument – she was the governor –about space. And she said, “You’re not utilizing your classrooms, your space very well.” And he said, “Well, fifty percent of the time we do and let me make a note to you madam governor, we got another facility we only use eight to ten percent of the time. “She said, “What is that?” And he said, “The football stadium.” Well, that was the end of their friendship of about two years. And with the football thing I invited Earl Campbell – anybody heard of Earl Campbell, famous football player? – to lunch one day downtown and he came. We were walking across the street to go to lunch and people were stopping to say hello to Hans and what have you, we got up to the luncheon place and Hans said, “Look, I’ve made it, people recognize me now.” I said, “Hans, they didn’t stop to talk to you, they wanted to talk to Earl Campbell.” That’s it for me. >>Mark: Now you can see where football is.>>Hoffman: So Hans, what stories or how was the relationship evolved or changed overtime?>>Mark: Well, when I came to Ames in February of 1969, that is what 43 years ago now, I was clueless. And the person in the director’s office who taught me how to do things here is Jack Boyd because he was Harvey’s executive assistant. And then both of us, of course, worked for Edie Watson for some years, which really got us started here and I have all kinds of stories, but I will tell you at the right moment.>>Hoffman: Well, let me start with questions about leadership. You’re both obviously extraordinary leaders and have been doing that for quite a long time. Hans, what do you think are the characteristics going into being an exceptional leader? What is necessary? What is critical?>>Mark: I think the critical thing is the creation of an atmosphere where people can develop themselves. You know, you bring a bunch of good people together and create an atmosphere where they can do things and things can happen. Occasionally, I like the term management by exception, that is you manage when you think something is going wrong and you say, okay we have to do something, but by and large, you hire people who are smarter than you are and that works by itself then. I’ve had that as a principle for 60 years now.>>Hoffman: Probably ties to the DoD, NASA, as well as universities.>>Mark: Exactly>>Hoffman: And Jack you once said, “Investing in others is the greatest contribution one can make.” From the standpoint of when you are working with young professionals, what do you look for in terms of the spark of maybe present and future excellence, what do you look for in terms of leaders?>>Boyd: I like to look for someone who loves what they are doing first. They’ve got to love what they’re doing. Also, I’ve asked them, and I have done this most of my life, you’ve got to rely on other people to get things done and if you don’t get along with other people, you’re not going to get things done very well. I think the other opportunity to tell people about is if – we have a saying at NASA, which I mostly agree with when said, “Failure is not an option.” I think failure is an option in the technology world because you’ve got to try new things and sometimes you are going to fail, but don’t let that stop you from doing things, don’t give up. That is what I would say.>>Hoffman: One of the key aspects, obviously, of leadership is how effective are you in terms of times of transition, crises, and change. Both of you, at different points in the NASA history, have dealt with that. NASA is certainly going through challenges now in terms of budget cuts, in terms of the questions of new technologies, concerns around the mission in all of our areas, and you dealt with similarly, particularly as deputy administrator during that timeframe. How do you deal? What should NASA being doing today to be able to respond to a time where there is a lot of uncertainty and setting of a direction? What do we need to be doing?>>Mark: Well, many people sitting in this room today remember the crisis we were in 1969, after we had successfully landed on the moon. People began to say, OK, you’ve done it, now what is next? For the next two years I would say, there was a genuine crisis in the sense that we were cutting back and we were doing things that were really no longer part of what success of administrators had in mind. I think that we got out of the crisis really by changing the emphasis of the center from the Apollo program, which we all contributed to, to what we were good at. Of course, aeronautics came up first and one of the things that Roy Jackson, who was our boss at the time, did was he initiated, and we helped him of course, he initiated new experimental aircraft programs. In the eight years I was here, we actually developed five or six experimental aircraft and I can see Dick Spivey sitting in the third row here. The tiltrotor aircraft came out of that and, you know, we have today in the Middle East about 70 aircraft deployed and they are working fine and they are very useful to the military. I think that is an example of making a change that then revived our ability to hire people and to do things. I might add, just if I may, you mentioned that we are in a crisis today and how many of you have heard of the committee that National Academy has setup to look at NASA? Okay, good. Tomorrow I am going to have the opportunity to meet with the chairman of that committee Al Carnesale. And one of the things I liked to do, if I may, in the question and answer period, give you a little chance to think about it, is I want you to tell me what you think I should advise him to do. So please think about these questions and then we can go on. >>Hoffman: Absolutely, and we’ll come up to the questions shortly. Jack, again, you go back to NACA and I know one of the issues. That’s the pin, one of the pins. And one of the – is pushing the envelope, that what NASA has always been about is pushing the envelope; aeronautics, space, science exploration; what are the things you are a part of in terms of making that happen. And one of the questions, and this was an event that was really recommended by our young practitioner, our young professional community, when I was going around and saying, who do you want us to get? And they came up with you so that is kind of the genesis. And one of the questions that also came up was is NASA comfortable taking risk today as when you were providing leadership several – a few decades ago?>>Boyd: I think generally not, but I should say that with some hesitation because we just saw one over the past weekend, which was one hell of a risky thing to do and we did it successfully. I think in the NACA days, remember we were a very small organization first, we weren’t very high on anyone else’s radar screen. So we could do dumb things – what seemed to be dumb things – and get away with it, but some of those dumb things turned out to be remarkable activities. I’ve said this to many of you people here, R.T. Jones, who developed the swept-back wing, it is on every airplane that flies anywhere in the world, was not permitted to publish his paper when he first talked about it. They thought it seemed like a dumb idea: birds don’t have swept-back wings, why should we? Well, he had an answer for that. Harvey Allen and his “blunt body,” which is just remarkable, it is on every spacecraft that goes into a planetary atmosphere, we did that here. In fact, I did something that I thought was sort of scary at the time, but Smith DeFrance, who was the director, was a stickler for safety. He would let you do almost anything, if it was safe. In the mid-‘60s, it was beginning to look like we were going into space and I suggested to my boss, why don’t we put – the atmospheres of Mars and Venus were carbon dioxide and nitrogen, why don’t we put mixtures of those in the wind tunnels and run them. He said, “You’re dumb, you’re not a mechanical engineer, that would kill the blades in the wind tunnel.” And I said, “Then why not put them in the ranges?” So we filled the ranges, the hyper-velocity ranges here with CO2 and N2, mixtures thereof, and got some of the first data for a vehicles flying in the Martian atmosphere. Well, a famous astronomer who came here, by the name of Zdenek Kopal, who said, “These are the atmospheres you got to deal with, you better do some way to find testing in them”, but they let us do those sorts of things. I don’t think we’re quite in a mode today of taking those kinds of risks, but I am going to say, MSL was one heck of risky activity, which was wonderfully successful. That is kind of it.>>Mark: Now, I would answer your question by saying the biggest risk that we took programmatically when I was here was to take on the development of the first large massively parallel computer, the ILLIAC IV, because no one knew how to program the thing, but we had people here and then we hired some. We had Harv Lomax here, we had Dean Chapman here, we had R.T. at the time, R.T. Jones, and then we brought in Bill Ballhaus and Paul Kutler and Ron Bailey, and a bunch of people that then sat down and we made the thing work. So what did we do? We hard-wired it basically, we didn’t have an operating system or a program, but what we showed was that the parallel computer configuration could do a calculation in 15 minutes that took the CDC, in the next building, and the ILLIAC was right in that building and the CDC was in the semi-circle one. And it took the CDC 7600 several days to do the computations. So we had a shootout where we said, look there is something here. There were huge arguments about that because a lot of people said you’ll never be able to program it and anything like that. Today, every large computer has parallel architecture and I think that had an enormous impact and we started it right here. >>Boyd: I am going to say that it shouldn’t surprise you guys to know that Pete Worden was a disciple of Hans so taking risks is sort of in their very nature. And I think we’ve seen Pete walk out and do things that are remarkable and out of the box and he got his training under this guy.>>Mark: [Laughing] Well, I’ll tell you, Pete is smarter than I am by far so you’re lucky to have him.>>Hoffman: One of the things that you’re both talking about is that, you know, you could take chances, you can try different things out, you had colleagues. Is that because in the earlier years, there was a sense of we didn’t know exactly what to do so it was expected to try or is it a difference, you think, in terms of the culture or, you know maybe, more oversight, what accounts…?>>Boyd: I think there wasn’t much visibility in what we were doing and the other thing I want to point out is we were very closely interrelated with our brothers at the other centers, brothers and sisters. Whether the management of the centers worked together or not, we worked together quite well. And they had NACA conferences that were indicators of things we’d done each year thereafter.>>Mark: I think the crisis was also part of the risk taking. You know, we brought the ILLIAC here in 1970, 1971 I guess it was. And I think that, for example, another thing that was caused by the crisis was that we went out to other agencies for funding. I was for some years the most unpopular person at NASA headquarters because we went out to the Army, and I see you all sitting there, and to DARPA, DARPA funded the ILLIAC. We didn’t pay for that. And then we had an FAA group here and this was something that allowed us, I think at the height of this we had probably a couple hundred people here who were paid by other agencies in the federal government and we did new things with them, with that. And that was done, again, as part of the crisis issues that we have. We just didn’t stay within the boundaries of NASA.>>Hoffman: Taking chances, being almost entrepreneurial. One of the questions that I need to ask and then we’ll go to our audience here – is vision. NASA has always been an enabling organization, trying to push the envelope, cutting edge, whether it is aeronautics, the space science, human exploration. What are your thoughts about the vision for NASA? Where should we be going? What are some of the things that you hope, you know, for the future of what we’re doing?>>Boyd: I’ll quote our Russian friend who said, “The earth is a cradle of humankind, but you can’t stay in the cradle forever so we got to go outside.” And I like to talk about three different people; Van Braun, “Let’s do this for the fatherland, explore for the fatherland.” I think Carl Sagan said, “Let’s do it for science.” And a guy name O’Neil, who Hans knew quite well and used to come visit us said, “It is human destiny to explore, exploring the solar system is human destiny.” That is the way we got to do things. Now, how you go about doing it, what processes is you use, what steps you take, I got my own thoughts about, I’m not sure they are all that relevant now, but to go out and do those sort of things require you to be a pretty good salesmen too, in order to get congress and the people of the United States behind us. I am not sure we have them behind us right now, because there are a lot of other problems, but I have to say I think we are going to get them behind us, I wouldn’t give up on any of this because if you fail one time, don’t stop. So we can’t give up.>>Hoffman: Exploration is the key core about what we’re about. Hans?>>Mark: Again, let me separate aeronautics from space exploration. If we come back to this subject later, I will tell you why. The vision for aeronautics goes back to the NACA and it was actually driven by the fact that in World War I, the United States did not have one single combat aircraft at the front. We were way behind and if you read the original NACA charter, it was fix it. So for a hundred years now, we have been the leading nation in aeronautics in the world. If you go to any airport in the world, most of the airplanes will have been built in the United States. Aeronautics today is not quite the largest, but almost the largest manufacturing industry that still has a very large balance of trade, roughly 75 billion dollars a year give or take. So that vision is very simple, it is still alive and one of the things I plan to tell the chairman of this committee tomorrow is that if you do something to NASA that is drastic, you’re going to destroy that and we have lost too much of that kind of activity. So the vision for aeronautics is clear, the United States will continue to be the leading nation in aeronautics in the world. Period. The end. Now, what about space exploration? Aeronautics is done because we have a social imperative to do it. We have victory in war and we have the transportation system we have and there are several million people who have jobs in the aeronautics industry. That goes from people who work at the airports to the airlines to factories and whatnot. And, as all of you know, all of our political people say, jobs is the important thing. Well, boy this is one area where NASA should stand up and say, “We know how to make jobs!” So that is I think one answer to your question. I think the space exploration is not a social imperative, it is something that you can do at your discretion. Their social imperative in space is the military use of space; GPS, you know I’ve heard political folks tell me although we don’t really need satellites – I mean when you home today and drive your car, have you got the GPS in front of you? Most people don’t know that, they don’t know where it comes from. So we need to help the military and in fact in the NASA charter it says, that National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall work with the military departments on matters of mutual interest. It is right there in the preamble of the bill. So there is a social imperative there as well. I think in terms of space exploration, there are really two things and, as I’ve said, both are discretionary. The space industry, the space industry alone doesn’t employ that many people, but there are two issues. One is that the scientific work that we’ve done in space has become very, very important. How many people know that two Nobel prizes have been awarded for work done with NASA spacecraft? Riccardo Giacconi got the Nobel prize for the work he did with the Chandrasekhar satellite on x-ray astronomy. And John Mather got it for the Cosmic Background Explorer for showing that the Cosmic Background is not isotropic; both Nobel Prizes. Now I will add, there are no Nobel Prizes for planetary exploration and this is one of the interesting things. With Earth-orbiting vehicles, we have done science that has new genuine important information about how the universe works. We haven’t done that yet in the planetary area, but we should do both. And in the planetary area, I think the objective must be very simple; we’re going to put people on Mars, okay, you don’t spread it around too much. Just say that is the objective. I think at some point or other there will be a president who picks it up. There will be a political situation that comes where Kennedy 2 will say, OK, we’re going to put people on Mars and bring them back. >>Hoffman: Go to the audience and go through some questions. We’ve talked about some interesting and provocative thoughts. >>Audience Question [Anthony Gross]: Hans, I would like to ask you to comment on something about leadership. You came to this center from a different environment. You came from a Lawrence Livermore, a national laboratory, where the kind of work you did there involved a different approach than what was done here. And you came here and you saw the applicability of that and in particular, the thing that sticks out in my mind is something about a truck and the IBM 360 and I wonder if you could say something about what you saw, what you were thinking, and why that was important because it obviously changed the direction of this center. >>Mark: That happened about two months after I was here. Tony mentioned the fact that I came from the nuclear weapons business and, of course, in the nuclear weapons business you have to have computers because tests are expensive and you don’t want to detonate too many. So we were really at the forefront of computer development at Livermore when I was there. I mean I saw all of that happen. When I got here, President Nixon had just cancelled the manned-orbiting laboratory program in early 1969 and the blue cube over there had a bigger computer than we had here. I don’t quite remember what it was, but I went over to see the colonel there and I was at that time a member of the Air Force Scientific Advisory board, so I had some connection with the Air Force. I started talking to them and finally I said, I hear you have this computer here and your program is going to be shut down, so it’s going to go on the surplus list. He said, yes. Then I said, Would you please not put it on the list until we can get a pickup truck over here and bring it over to the center. It turned out that he was mad at the Air Force as it was and so the computer was not put on the list until after it was here and eight months later we got a nasty letter from the GSA about what happened with this computer. I rolled on the floor and apologized, I didn’t know what I was doing and all that. >>Hoffman: So that’s the ask for forgiveness afterwards – >>Mark: Ask for forgiveness afterwards, right. >>Hoffman: I’ve never used that, but I’ve heard others around here have. >>Boyd: I think the motto at Ames is proceed until apprehended, no matter what happens. That’s what he did. >>Audience Question [Sheila Johnson]: Gentlemen, this question is for both of you. Since you’ve said we need a – at least I hear we need an Oppenheimer or a Sagan, a man or woman of immense proportion when it comes to personality and salesmanship, shall we say, to create a better Ames or a better NASA in general because we’re working on just a half of a cent of the budget. How and who do you recommend we send out to Congress to get the other half a cent? [Laughter]>>Mark: Jack Boyd. >>Boyd: I’d send Hans first. He’d be the precursor to it. One thing I think we could do better than we do. Engage the young people around the world and in this country. This summer we’ve had 900 students here at Ames, many of whom are foreign nationals, which has been just an exhilarating summer. You can’t find anything to eat. It’s true in the cafeteria. If we could somehow harness the power of these young folks who are really enthusiastic about what they see when they come to a place like Ames and have them be our mentors out in the world, I think that would help us tremendously. An individual doesn’t come to mind except possibly you, Sheila. >>Mark: I was just going to say, may I add just a little bit to your question, because I think it’s a good one. The necessary foundation of this place has to be technical competence. If you bring a few technically competent people in, others will come. In addition to the salesmanship, there has to be technical competence. That’s number one. You do that by bringing in a few people who have it. Really, the rest of the institution depends on that and people acquire it then. People learn. >>Boyd: Wouldn’t you agree that you have to have the technical competence certainly at the centers, but all the way up the ladder, I think in the agency. >>Mark: But at the centers, it’s critical, and at the agency we don’t control it. At the centers we do. The position of a NASA Center Director is enormously powerful. It’s powerful not because we’re all that good at getting money from Washington. It is because we can choose people. We can choose people to do the jobs that we know they will do well. That’s what I wanted to add to what you said because I think you made an important point. >>Hoffman: I think we have one more in the back and we’ll come to the front. >>Audience Member: The initiatives we’ve had in the last few years towards commercial space I know have been threatening to some in the agency – and some people are excited about it. It seems strange to me that we, NASA, who are about doing state of the art things should be in a position where anybody feels threatened by something that a commercial company can easily do and you’ve talked about what direction we might be heading. I wondered – I’m assuming that back in your day we were doing things that no company could do and just feels to me like it’s a mistake that if we are doing things that a company could do easily, we should be further out in front. I’d like your take on that. >>Mark: Look, there’s a whole spectrum of companies in the private sector. There are those which take an enormous investment for an innovation, and there are those where it is relatively cheap. If you look at the private sector what you find is that the companies that are genuinely private are those that don’t require a large, long-term investment, that can make quick profits and so on, Apple, etc. That’s not true about the aviation industry. It’s not true about the energy industry, for example, among other things. The day after tomorrow, I’m going to be at SpaceX. That is touted as a big commercial enterprise. What it really is, ladies and gentlemen, is a NASA contractor. It’s a non-Boeing, or a non-Lockheed, and that makes it new. And you had an investor who had enough money to get it started, but he sure as hell can’t finish it. I’m going there because they want to know what I think about what they should do. I’m going to tell them exactly that. Work with NASA. And for God’s sake, make sure that the administration appoints competent people to do it. >>Hoffman: Let’s go to the front here and we have other questions. >>Audience Question [Steve Zornetzer]: Hans and Jack a comment for NRC, a suggestion, and also a question. For the NRC, it seems to me that since NASA really is floundering with respect to a long-term vision now more than ever, it’s important that the research centers be retained because If we don’t maintain, and this dovetails perhaps with the last question, if we don’t maintain a leading edge in and we don’t keep pushing the boundaries, then NASA will never be able to fulfill a vision, whatever that vision may be in the future, when it finally decides on some vision. I would just suggest that you emphasize the importance of research centers to the future of the agency. My question is, and this kind of relates to a comment you made before about the power of a center director with respect to hiring and that is to some extent still true. But, since your day, even since my day, centers have lost a tremendous amount of autonomy. In the current NASA, we are micromanaged to the nth degree. I see it every single day. Do you think that’s a wise strategy for the agency to be taking?>>Mark: Look, we had the same problem. What a center director can do – for instance, I mentioned the ILLIAC. We had the Army here and the Army hired Bill Ballhaus for us, working on the ILLIAC. OK? We had people at the center that we could move around. Harv Lomax, OK? In other words, the power lies in listening to the folks and then making some judgments about whether Harv would be the person to lead the group that made this thing work. There was no micromanagement there, no interference from headquarters. They didn’t know what we were doing there. I think even in a constrained environment, the center director has the power to do that. That would be my – now with respect to the research centers, look, the research centers have the great advantage that they have the facilities. We have facilities here that are useful in that way and I absolutely guarantee you that when they get through with their stuff, the research centers will be looked at and touched, but that’s not where the big cuts are coming from. >>Boyd: I agree with that. One other point that I think everybody – well nobody that’s here was there in the days, in the ‘50s when NACA was still in existence, if we had not had the technology going on that we had at the four research centers, we would never ever have gotten to the moon, after Kennedy said in ’61, let’s go, we would have never gotten there. We’ve been doing ten years of technology already when we went up and made NASA. So it is absolutely mandatory, it seems to me. >>Hoffman: We have a question in the back and then we have couple in the front. >>Audience Question [Ingrid Desilvestre]: This is a question for Jack, but I think it’s pertinent to the NAS question and in some ways it echoes some of the things Steve was saying. It is arguably, at least from the center perspective, it can be arguably said that OCT, the Office of the Chief Technologist, when it was established, showed a tendency to create a relatively large headquarters organization and is falling into the risk of being rather bureaucratic and perhaps falling on that slippery slope of risk is not an option, where in fact it should probably be the least risk-averse organization in NASA. So my question to you, Jack, is can a plausible case be made that the model that OCT should be following, should, given NASA’s history, given its talented workforce, given the facilities we were just talking about, that the model should be NACA, rather than DARPA or other models that they’d been exploring and would that be relevant to Dr. Mark’s meeting tomorrow? >>Boyd: I think it should be. In fact, as you recall, we’ve had discussions and even wrote a short paper on using NACA as a model for technology development. I think that’s absolutely necessary to look at and persuade someone to listen to us about it. All you have to do is show what happened in the early ‘50s and early ‘60s and the technology that Langley and Glenn and Ames developed was applied almost immediately. It would be a perfect model, but nobody is listening it seems. >>Audience Question [Richard Spivey]: Takes a little while to get up. Dr. Mark, you mentioned the social imperative associated with aeronautics. I think we all understand and we hear that in the next 20 years, we’re going to see a tripling or a quadrupling of the need to travel around this country and around the world. We already know that delays and problems that we’re having with weather and with the airports, we’re seeing a 20-billion-dollar a year loss to both the public and the airlines because of delays. It seems to me that there’s a solution for that, that is just waiting in the wings. The military has already started it, but it needs to go further. NASA is spending some money in this area and they are the lead in that area. They are working with us in the Army extremely closely in that regard, but it seems like if there was one thing that would help aeronautically is to help people understand that you can get rid of delays, the majority of the delays by looking at different types of aircraft that can operate in and out of today’s existing airports and stay within the noise numbers. I would want your opinion on that, sir. You and I worked together on that in 1994 and so…>>Mark: Indeed. In 1971, I met your boss, Jim Atkins. He was the CEO of Bell Helicopter and we were about to sign the contract for the XV-15 and before we did that, I remember him pulling out his desk drawer – and you may have even made that chart for him – but it was a chart of what we could do with tiltrotor aircraft in the U.S. transportation system if we had them. It was right all there forty years ago and Atkins was the one who did it. Now, we have, and our following was the right strategy to commercialize the tiltrotor. We just passed, I think it was 130,000 flying hours in the Middle East…>>Audience Member: 165. >>Mark: 165, OK. When it gets up to a half a million or a million, that’s when it begins to get interesting for a commercial service. That’s the – that’s happening right now as we speak. So it’s going to happen, there’s no question in my mind. Jim was right. >>Audience Member [James Arnold]: [Inaudible.]>>Mark: You’ll be alive, but I’m not sure that I will. >>Audience Member: Hans, I have a suggestion for you with respect to what to say to the NRC. You brought the IILAC IV here as you mentioned – two disciplines came from that: computational fluid dynamics, which is now worldwide, and almost met the goal that you put for it, but another one was computational chemistry. I recall a couple of things that you probably know 100 times more about than I do, one is synthetic biology, the other is quantum computing. I could see a good historical argument for let’s marry those two and go after computing how large molecules conjugate and come together and create some kind of a life form and that would be extremely risky and why would that be in NASA’s charter to do? The answer is: astrobiology. >>Mark: We are looking at quantum computing in the same sense that we did the parallel processing forty years ago. I’m convinced that there are contributions this center will make given the relationships that Pete Worden is now developing with the community that’s interested in fast computers. I think we will continue to be at the cutting edge of that and I’m trying to help. That’s one of the reasons I come here fairly frequently now. I think, obviously, astrobiology is the other one, you’re quite right. Again, that’s not a social imperative, that’s the computer is a social imperative. Astrobiology is something you can do today or tomorrow or the next day. We’ll do it, but it doesn’t have a timeline. Whereas if we’re going to stay ahead in the computer business, we damn well better—>>Boyd: Unless they find us first. >>Mark: [Laughter] What Jack says is that there are guys out there that are looking for us. >>Hoffman: Also want to maybe some more questions. This is one of the things the young professionals wanted to do, so any of you young practitioners can start asking some questions from these guys. One of the things I wanted to get your thoughts on is recommendations for people who are starting their career. I know that both of you value that tremendously. I was mentioning a story, a personal story I had, to Hans and Jack here, where the first time that I met both of these leaders was in 1983. I was a graduate coop student. My background was I was doing research into leadership competencies, on how project teams perform at Columbia University. My background is social and organizational psychology. Hans would have a social event, a party for the different coops, the interns, the students, a large number of them in the Washington area. I had my friend coming up from Columbia, Brian Meruphia, and I said, look, Let’s go to the Deputy Administrator of NASA’s party. He said, No no, let’s not do that, that’ll be boring. To me, that met the number one criteria for a graduate student, which is I knew it would provide free food. So I talked my friend into it, we drove up to the house. We got there, it was a beautiful home, very festive. For the most part the leadership was there at the event. There were about thirty or so of us students, so there was a lot of activity for the first half hour, I’m enjoying myself with good food a little bit of wine. >>Mark: Free drinks!>>Hoffman: Free drinks. All of a sudden, Dr. Mark gets everyone around him and he’s at the center of the room. There was a little light pointing at him – no. His management was around and the students were there and I’m stuffing my face and all of a sudden I hear Hans say, I want to welcome all of you here to this event, particularly the students because you’re the future of us and it’s critical that we bring on board the best. He said, I see that we have 29 of you who are aerospace engineers and I know why you’re here. One of you is a psychology guy from Columbia and I have no idea what you’re doing here. At this point, for the first time in my life, my body just heats up in a way that someone with a biology background would explain to me and I get this ball of sweat right on the back of my neck and I know where this is going. Hans says, Can you identify yourself? I say, I’m Ed Hoffman, I’m from Columbia University. He says, Well, why are you here? You realize how great of a question that is. You would think that someone would know why they’re at NASA, but that was the first time it really locked in. Why am I here? I said, I’m here helping teams, how they work together, how leaders perform. He says, Well, I’m a leader. Now I know where this is going to go. He says, can you help me become a more effective leader? Now that ball has just doubled in size. Being trained classically in the arts, I throw the question back and I said, Well can you give me an example of an effective leadership practice that you use? He said, Well one of the things I like to do is I write down what are called “Hans grams.” I would write down little notes on little stickies at the end of the day and I would leave them all over with my management team. He said, Does that make me a good leader? Behind him, he can’t see, but his management staff is giving all kinds of signals to tell him why it is not. So I’m classically trained and I said, Why do you think that’s a good practice, why do you do it? He said, I communicate with my folks, they know it’s a priority, I know when they first get in in the morning and I expect them in early, they know what I’m expecting. I said, Well, based on what you’re saying that sounds like a good practice. I’m totally covered in water, he goes on and talks to other folks, and I turn to my friend and say – why did we come here? Thirty minutes later, though, he invites me to his office with a couple of other students, and he’s showing me around different awards and medals and he said, By the way, I’m still totally sure why you’re here, but I liked your answer. You handled that really well. That was when I had an appreciation for being prepared and what a testing organization meant, which means you should know why you’re at a place. It was also a story that I’ve spoken to folks about is the commitment to young people and to folks joining. The fact that there was a strong community then and you would go to these events and you would meet the leadership and they would test you and ask questions, but mostly interaction. With that long background, I would say, both of you are heavily involved in doing these things. What do you recommend for folks who have started in the organization, who start at NASA, or what are your recommendations for young professionals in terms of being successful or having a career? >>Boyd: First, find a mentor. Find one or more mentors. >>Hoffman: How do you find a mentor?>>Boyd: Most people are really happy to do it. Just talk to people, go over and talk to them. Most of them would be happy to deal with you. One, be persistent if they’re not. Be persistent. Otherwise, get to know your colleagues as best you can, get to know them because you’re going to work together with them for the rest of your careers, for the rest of our life sometimes. I have people come to my house as well as Hans’s, who I still see and some of whom work here and that was 30 or 40 years ago. Now, they’re about to retire, it’s true and perhaps I am too. Oh no, honey, I’m not about to retire. But that’s my observation. >>Hoffman: Get a mentor. Hans?>>Mark: One of the things that I do right now and some of you may be in that class, I teach a freshman course in our department, in the aerospace department and at the end of the first year and at the end of the second year, I always pick a group of people to send to NASA centers. NASA has this scholarship for summer jobs. Is there anyone here who came from UT? I think that, and this is advice really for – I might call it pre-professional, but the people who have had the intern’s positions and the coop positions have no problem finding jobs even today in the current environment. So, get with it early, that’s the short advice. Do it as soon as you can. >>Hoffman: Kevin, I see you have a question. >>Audience Question: So both of you mentioned the importance of technical excellence in leadership. Where do you see someone with less technical experience with more management experience in the NASA leadership?>>Boyd: Where do you see it needed?>>Audience Member: Yes. >>Hoffman: So if you’re like me, if you’re coming from a – >>Boyd: I think the management here at Ames recognized some time ago the technical excellence alone isn’t going to hack it at a research technology center. I know in the mid sixties, I’d been here, what almost twenty years. They said, OK, you’ve done your thing in technical things, now we’re going to send you off to the Stanford Sloan Program because we need people who understand finance, procurement, what have you. I said, I don’t want to go to the Stanford Sloan Program. That’s got to be dull. But I went and it was probably one of the best experiences I had. It helped me understand where other people were coming from, too. I think that mix of the technical and engineering background, and a business background is quite useful to me. So you need a mix, clearly. >>Mark: I agree. >>Hoffman: Who were your mentors? >>Boyd: I had three that I remember. Harvey Allen, who was just a delightful man and brilliant. He did the same thing that Hans and I have intended to do at his house. He would – he was a great pianist in addition to being a wonderful martini maker. I remember going over once to his house for lunch and I called my wife at about 7:00 that night and said, Please come and get me because I can’t drive home. But he was a brilliant guy and he, R.T. Jones was the one who told me when I got here. Read everything that you can find out. We’ll give you six months before we give you a real job to do. Those two and Walter Vincenti, who was another giant in the 1×3 foot supersonic wind tunnel. Anyway, he was instrumental in teaching me how to write. Engineers are notoriously poor writers and not too good of speakers for that matter, but the combination of those two, he helped me with. >>Hoffman: Hans?
>>Mark: I agree – oh my mentors? Oh boy, well I think – well, my father was a scientist so obviously he was the number one mentor. He had a student by the name of Edward Teller who became my second mentor and then I think in the area of management that is high-level, dealing with high-level politics and so on, I would have to say that Johnny Foster was my mentor there. We had an associate director here named John Foster, but I’m talking about the one who was in the nuclear weapons business and then went into the Pentagon. But John Foster was a good physicist and he also understood management. So I would say those three. >>Hoffman: So the importance of finding a mentor is very clear, and also being able to answer the question of why you are here is one of the things that I would share. They tell me that the time has gone by, which for me has been just incredibly fast. NASA is a great place to work at. I’ve been here 29 years, this is one of those days I’ll always cherish and remember. I’m thankful to Hans and to Jack for taking the time to do this and I’d like all of you to thank them for taking the time. [Applause.]>>Boyd: You’re halfway there. >>Hoffman: I’m halfway there. And even then, I wouldn’t match your time. I also want to thank the great folks at NASA Ames Research Center, particularly the folks in the Public Affairs group, the TV crew, and the leadership for hosting us, and making this happen. Thank you very much. [Applause.]

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

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