Jimmy Barcus - Project Support "People Person" Gets the Jobs Done!
After almost 44 years on Center, “people person” Jimmy Barcus has worked behind the scenes providing project support ranging from assisting with all five Hubble servicing missions to overseeing the new, $50 million Flight Projects Directorate building.
Name: Jimmy Barcus
Title: Assistant Director, Flight Projects
Formal Job Classification: Professional Administrator
Organization: Code 400, Flight Projects Directorate
What is most interesting about your role here at Goddard?
I do not have a typical day, every day is different. I oversee facilities for the Flight Projects Directorate (Code 400). My primary role is to make sure that the projects have adequate office space, integration and test facilities, and lab space to do their job. I work all over the Center. My day starts with checking on our work requests including any renovation and construction but I never quite know what each day will bring. I just grab my hard hat and go where needed.
As Dr. John Mather always says, “Nothing gets done without a team.” Right now, I’m the Flight Projects
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Jimmy Barcus at his work-filled desk at Goddard. Credit: NASA/GSFC/W. Hrybyk
Directorate’s member on the team overseeing the design and construction of our new, $50 million Flight Projects Directorate building, which will be Building 36. Our team includes people from the Procurement and Safety Directorates. Our job is to oversee the design, procurement, and safety issues to ensure that the new building will be up to snuff and follow the applicable safety codes and other Federal standards. Together we will turn our ideas into a brick and mortar reality.
Who is the most interesting, inspiring, or amazing person you have met or worked with at Goddard?
The most interesting person I’ve met at Goddard is Frank Cepollina who led the Hubble
servicing missions. I had the honor of working for him for over 20 years. He is a true visionary. In 2004, he was elected to the Inventor’s Hall of Fame. He gave me a pretty long leash to do my job, which was project support. He has been a great mentor to me.
What is the coolest thing you’ve ever done as part of your job at Goddard?
I had the opportunity to work on all five Hubble
servicing missions, which was very cool. Hubble
is a tight knit family. I got to do a lot of work with the Hubble
astronauts too. They were all very smart, dedicated people but at the same time they were also very nice and down to Earth.
What makes Goddard a great place to work?
It’s all about the people. My life is all about people. I’m truly fortunate to work with the great people at Goddard.
Do you have a favorite way, or place to kick back, relax or have fun?
My most enjoyable pastime away from Goddard is working in my yards. I have a house in West Fenwick, Delaware, and another in Greenbelt, Maryland, which gives me two yards to landscape. I love landscaping.
Is there someplace in the world that you want to visit or someplace you have been and want to go back?
I’m Irish and without a doubt I’d like to return to Ireland. I went once and I didn’t make it there until I was 60. It is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Two of my grandparents were born there.
After working here for almost 44 years, what changes have you seen?
I was born and raised in Greenbelt. I remember when Greenbelt Road was a two-lane road before Goddard was built. There was no Parkway or Beltway. Beltway Plaza was built on Charlie McDonald’s farm and he was Greenbelt’s City Manager. My father and I used to cut our Christmas tree where Five Guys is now because a tree from a store cost $2.00 at that time which was a lot of money at that time.
I started working here in 1968. In the early 1970s, the area began to change. When I started working at Goddard, there were no traffic lights between my home and here. I’m still in the same house in Greenbelt and now there are eight traffic lights.
One of the most positive changes over the years is that we have become more diverse. As a “people person,” this has made my job even more enjoyable because I now have the opportunity to work with even more interesting people.
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Elizabeth M. Jarrell
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.