The Changing of the Guard

These days I take a lot of delight in my grandchildren.  I have some pictures here . . . .  Well, maybe not now.  I also greatly enjoy my children – grown to adulthood; we have great conversations and they actually seek out my advice from time to time.  Best of all is when I hear them say words to their children that I used to say to them.  Yes, they remembered even though at the time I wondered.

Likewise, while I am not totally retired, I am heading that way and my workload is much less than it used to be.  So, it gives me great pleasure to see the changing of the guard at my old workplace.  Many of the folks in new positions worked with me, for me, or were mentored by me in their early careers.  I listen to their press conferences or read their written remarks and sometimes I can even hear echoes of phrases that they probably heard from me long ago.

It is great to see the energy and new perspectives at work on some of the same old problems that need to be solved.  I can remember the ambition and the burning eagerness to get things done and move the organization along.  Still lurks down there somewhere but not burning as bright as it does in the younger folks.

As an older white guy, it also gives me a really positive hope for the future in the diversity now exhibited in leadership roles.  Something I learned early is that diversity and the exchange of ideas frequently leads to better outcomes than when the team is all alike.  Many more positions are filled by women (inherently smarter than men, I think) but more needs to be done to gain the perspective that people of color bring.  It’s a societal problem that reflects itself in a technical work force.  More mentoring and opportunities down to the grade school level need to be available.

So, I’m happy that we will get to the stars together; the energy and innovation is coming together.  Meanwhile, they even sometimes actually ask for my advice.  And that give me a lot of pleasure, too.

Best of luck to them!  I feel confident in the future because of what I see.

About waynehale

Wayne Hale is retired from NASA after 32 years. In his career he was the Space Shuttle Program Manager or Deputy for 5 years, a Space Shuttle Flight Director for 40 missions, and is currently a consultant and full time grandpa. He is available for speaking engagements through Special Aerospace Services.
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2 Responses to The Changing of the Guard

  1. Kansan52 says:


  2. P. Savio says:

    After the US election I can feel another Augustine Commission coming and saying NASA’s Plans ‘Unsustainable’……

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