You Call, She'll Haul - Jean Manall, Goddard's Traffic Manager
Retired Air Force veteran Jean Manall coordinates Goddard shipments – both big and small.
Formal Job Classification:
Operations Manager for Transportation
Organization She Works For:
Code 279, TRAX International
What is a typical day on the job like for you?
I start my day very early, 6:00 a.m. to be exact! The first thing is to make sure all 25 of my drivers have what they need to get their job done. Each driver has an assigned route and I provide them with very specific details regarding their pick-ups. Once I get my guys situated, I spend the rest of the day responding to emails and attending meetings regarding upcoming moves. And, of course, there is the occasional fire that I have to tend to from time to time!
As the Traffic Manager, I am responsible for coordinating all transportation requirements on behalf of the Center. My personal motto is, “You call, we haul - nothing too big or too small,” because that really sums up what I do. I gather requirements from across the Center, and I dispatch my guys to fulfill the request.
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Photo of Jean Manall. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Bill Hrybyk
Most people think that our area only deals with internal transportation requirements, but that is actually only a small part of what I do. My team and I have traveled all over the world with Goddard spacecraft, hardware, and exhibits. My most memorable travel experience was when we went to Venice, Italy with the Hubble Space Telescope exhibit.
How important is teamwork or collaboration with others to your being able to do your job?
My job is the epitome of what teamwork is about. I would not have a job if it were not for the group of guys that I work with. I rely on their expertise and skills to get the job done. Not only do I work closely with my internal team, I must also establish and sustain relationships with my external customers, too. When I am coordinating a spacecraft or hardware move for a project, I interface with various people from the project, including scientists, mechanical engineers, and logistical/project support specialists.
What is the coolest thing you’ve ever done as part of your job at Goddard?
I have had the pleasure of being involved with all of the major missions on Center, but the one that was the absolute coolest to me, was working the move coordination for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). What made this particular move so rewarding for me was that my team and I got a chance to be involved from birth to launch! We were responsible for moving pieces of the Orbiter from building to building, taking instruments offsite and escorting the spacecraft to Kennedy for launch.
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Jean Manall with her crew as they ready the GLAST spacecraft for transport to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida in 2008. Photo courtesy: J. Manall
What makes Goddard a great place to work?
I have been at Goddard for 21 years, and the thing I like most about working here is that no day is ever the same. There is always something different going on…always something new to learn. I am not a big fan of monotony, so being involved in a variety of different things helps me to stay motivated and engaged. Goddard has so many cool activities, events, missions, and all of it is going on at the same time! That is the real beauty of this place.
Is there something surprising about you, your hobbies, interests, activities outside of work that people do not generally know?
I spent 25 years in the Air Force and I retired as an E-9 Chief Master Sergeant. My primary responsibility in the Air Force was very similar to what I do now. I coordinated air transportation for a variety of things, including tanks, helicopters, and jets.
I still maintain my ties with the Air Force through my current position, as I routinely work with them to coordinate moves for Goddard.
Do you have a favorite way, or place to kick back, relax or have fun?
I have three kids and two grandchildren, so I enjoy planning and coordinating family gatherings. I also like to remodel my house on a pretty consistent basis. After two years, I am ready for a new look, so I start a renovation project!
I am a huge football and soccer fan, too. The Buffalo Bills and DC United are my teams of choice!
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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.