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Bob Savage - A Man With Two Missions, Space Projects and People
03.13.12
 
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Systems Review Manager Bob Savage enjoys working with people, from performing project reviews to going on church mission trips to Honduras.


Name: Bob Savage
Title: Deputy Chief of the Systems Review Office
Formal Job Classification: Supervisory Aerospace Engineer
Organization He Works For: Code 301, Systems Review Office, Safety and Mission Assurance Directorate

What is most interesting about your role here at Goddard?


My job has two parts. One is being a supervisor, which means working with my people to ensure that they have all the resources needed to perform their jobs. The other is being a systems review manager, which means working with the Goddard flight projects to provide help throughout the project life cycle.

I work with a lot of people so interfacing with people is a big part of my job. One of the main functions of a systems manager review job is to work with the projects and perform reviews, which require teamwork and collaboration. I put together a team of senior, experienced people to assess each project for technical, schedule, and budget progress as they go through the project life cycle. The team uses a set of specific criteria to assess the project at different development points and sometimes, based on the results of the review, we need to use diplomacy to convince a project to make changes
Photo of Bob Savage› Larger image
Photo of Bob Savage. Credit: NASA/W. Hrybyk
in their current path. Most projects are doing a terrific job in developing the great science instruments needed to meet the objectives of the project. A major part of the job is sometimes convincing the projects that we are an ally.

What is the coolest thing you’ve ever done as part of your job at Goddard?


The coolest thing I have ever done happened during a training exercise at Kennedy Space Center when I got the chance to tour the vehicle assembly building where they put together the Shuttle. We were able to go up to the top of the scaffolding on the same level as the top of the Shuttle. I got to see the Shuttle up close and personal and experience how tall it was and how big it was. It was exciting knowing that the Shuttle was going to go into space to do some neat scientific work to help us improve the way we live our lives here on earth.

What makes Goddard a great place to work?


I came to Goddard in 1990. I think that just being around so many diverse people all working towards the same goals of science and exploration makes Goddard great. We have people from all over the world, all different walks of life, young people and old people, yet everyone is focused on the same goal of gathering that science and data that helps not only save lives but also to understand the world that we live in.

Bob Savage distributing school supplies to poor children on a mission trip to Camalote, Honduras in 2007.› Larger image
Bob Savage distributing school supplies to poor children on a mission trip to Camalote, Honduras in 2007. Credit: R. Savage

What is the most interesting project you ever worked on?


At one time, I was manager for a technology development program. I was able to develop different kinds of technologies dealing with space operations. Some of the communications equipment, software, and flight dynamics developments were on the leading edge of technology at that time. It was quite an experience working with so many smart people on these different technologies. At this point in my career, I can see some of these technologies developed back then in use on missions today.

Is there something surprising about you, your hobbies, interests, activities outside of work that people do not generally know?


From 2007–2010, I went on several mission trips sponsored by the Oakridge Community Church of Clarksville, Maryland. We traveled to different cities in Honduras taking clothing and food to some of the poorer areas. We also replaced roofs on school buildings damaged by hurricanes, built a complete school house, and provided shoes to kids in an orphanage. I did not go this year because my oldest daughter was married, but I hope to return next year. During one of these trips, I had the opportunity to talk to kids at a local high school about NASA. I tried to let them know that anybody can be in science and engineering if they work hard enough. I tried to inspire them.

Do you have a favorite way, or place to kick back, relax or have fun?


For fun, I like outdoor activities like golfing and fishing. The biggest fish I ever caught was a 38 inch rockfish from the Chesapeake Bay. It was delicious.

Related Links:

› Read a more in-depth profile of Bob's work in Honduras in this Outside Goddard piece
› More Conversations With Goddard
 
 
Elizabeth M. Jarrell
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.