Andre Dress - Local Boy Makes Good
Home-grown Aerospace Engineer Andre Dress loves leading successful launches, making custom “Black Hole” stout and designer soaps, and leading a church band catering to children.
Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS-1) Deputy Project Manager
Formal Job Classification:
Project Manager/Aerospace Engineer
Code 472, JPSS Program, Flight Projects Directorate
Years at Goddard:
What do you do and what is most interesting about your role here at Goddard? How do you help support Goddard’s mission?
I am the deputy project manager for the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS-1) mission. The mission, for NASA, is to develop and launch the JPSS-1 NOAA weather satellite, which is a vital national asset. JPSS-1 will be a critical element in the NOAA weather satellite constellation and will be used by NOAA and the National Weather Service to help protect lives and property. I feel privileged to lead the mission development and implementation. There is nothing better than to lead a good team through the mission phases that culminate with a successful launch!
What makes a good leader? What makes a good team player?
I am a manger and a supervisor. A manager is not necessarily a leader. A manager works on the schedule, the cost and the daily activities. A leader focuses on the overall mission, vision and core values.
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Photo of Andre Dress in front of the Space Shuttle. Photo courtesy of A. Dress
I want hard-working team players with a “can do” attitude who are dedicated and willing to go the extra mile. I look for people who continually ask the question, “How can we do things differently?”
Is there something surprising about your background that people do not generally know?
I am a true local boy. I was born in Maryland and went to college (University of Maryland) and graduate school (Johns Hopkins University) in Maryland too. I worked most of my career at Goddard and loved it too much to ever leave. I currently live in Maryland about 15 miles from Goddard.
Why did you become an aerospace engineer?
Growing up, I loved science fiction, math, and taking things apart and putting them back together. Throughout college, I worked part time as an auto mechanic, including rebuilding my personal automobiles.
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Andre participating in one of his favorite sports -- water skiing. Photo courtesy of A. Dress
What is the coolest thing you’ve ever done at Goddard?
I have been part of the launch team for eight missions, so I was in the mission control room for each launch. The atmosphere is tense, but exciting. After the first successful contact with the spacecraft, the team is able to relax. At that point, the spacecraft mission operations team takes charge. I have also led spacecraft mission operations teams from launch through delivery of the satellite on orbit. We typically celebrate once the satellite is delivered on orbit.
What do you enjoy most about working at Goddard?
At Goddard, we have a very large collection of unusually gifted and interesting people that you typically do not find most places. The people here are Goddard genuinely care about the science and do a great job.
If you weren’t in your current profession, what would you be doing?
I would either be an auto mechanic or own my own microbrewery.
Is there something surprising about you, your hobbies, interests or activities outside of work that people do not generally know?
I make my own beer. One of my best recipes is my “Black Hole Stout,” a very dark colored, heavy beer with a hint of a chocolate aroma. After the successful launch of the GOES N satellite, I crafted a special brew called “GOES Launch Lager” and it was a big hit!
I also make my own soap. I use a variety of vegetable oils and then mix and match scents. You name it and it is possible to make! I haven’t purchased a bar of soap in years.
I also love keeping active by camping, rock climbing, waterskiing, and working out in the gym.
What do you do to relax or have fun?
In 2004, I started playing the trumpet in our church band at the Grace Community Church in Fulton, Maryland. We play contemporary Christian music for the children.
What are the most important things in life to you?
The three top things in my life are God, family and friends, and work. (Technically four things.)
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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD