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Strategic Planning Will Transform Glenn to Meet Agency Directives

During an All Hands meeting on April 5, Center Director Dr. Woodrow Whitlow Jr. highlighted a recent strategic planning meeting and a new governance structure that will help propel Glenn into the future and ensure success in implementing the agency’s mission.

Center Director addresses employees from podium. C-2007-417. Credit: NASA/Marvin Smith (RSIS) Whitlow shared information on the two and one-half-day Glenn Senior Leadership Strategy Meeting, held March 19-21. He noted that NASA Associate Administrator Rex Geveden, who attended a portion of the retreat, provided a perspective on NASA's future, and discussed how Glenn can help the agency in achieving its mission.

Image left: Dr. Whitlow addresses employees during All Hands meeting. Credit: NASA/Marvin Smith

"I'd like to thank the senior management team for all their hard work at the retreat...and their willingness to participate in open, honest and frank discussions," Whitlow said.

As Glenn transitions to work that increases development activities, center leadership agreed on the following goals for the center, in priority order:

  • Be a valued leader in space flight systems development.
  • Be known for excellence in project management.
  • Excel in aeronautics and space research.
  • Become an integral part of the Ohio community and the nation.
Whitlow highlighted several challenges in pursuit of these goals; including five major areas:

  • Obtaining sufficient workforce with the necessary skills to allow us to meet our commitments.
  • Managing a cultural change that results in workforce adoption of the discipline and tempo required for space flight systems development.
  • Eliminating all internal competition such that the center operates as a unified team.
  • Ensuring that we have the proper infrastructure.
  • Practicing open communications and sharing information freely and equally inside and outside of the center.
Several recent activities, however, are helping the center alleviate these challenges. Notably, Whitlow reported on the center reorganization. Glenn has created a single customer focus interface for space projects and refocused its work force to address new projects.

"Staffing levels are a big challenge for us at this time," Whitlow said. "We have to determine our priorities, and where we are going to put our civil servant (and contractor) work force in order to do all the tasks."

Glenn has addressed the need to recruit managers with space flight development experience, a vital issue raised during the center's readiness assessment in late 2005. Leadership has been added in the areas of Space Flight, Safety and Mission Assurance, Research and Technology and Plum Brook Station.

A new governance model, based on five management councils, has been adopted to improve communication, management and integration within the center. This structure parallels the governance model used at Headquarters.

The center has also implemented a retraining initiative in the area of systems engineering and safety and mission assurance. Retraining efforts are on the horizon for program/project management.

Space Flight Systems Director Robert Moorehead said he is confident that Glenn has the resources to complete current work. He noted that Glenn's continuing marketing efforts and proven abilities will ensure work for years to come.

"Glenn has a very good reputation (across the agency) for work on space station and other power systems," Moorhead said. "With that kind of demonstrated performance, we’ll be able to land work to fully utilize the work force."

During a question and answer session, employees posed questions to Whitlow and panelists--Director of Space Flight Systems Robert Moorehead, Deputy Director of Space Flight Systems Randy Humphries, Director of Research and Development Dr. Jih-Fen Lei and Director of External Programs John Hairston--on such topics as staffing, prioritizing work, development versus research efforts and community outreach.

Whitlow concluded that senior management will continue to work the issues outlined in the All Hands. He invited center employees to stay tuned for further updates during the upcoming State of the Center Address.

Editor's note: The Director's complete slide presentation on the All Hands is located in an April 13 Today@Glenn posting.

Two members of center leadership address questions. C-2007-423. Credit: Marvin Smith (RSIS) Employee asks questions during question and answer period. C-2007-419. Credit: Marvin Smith (RSIS) Two members of center leadership answer questions. C-2007-420. Credit: Marvin Smith (RSIS)
Image above: Hairston and Humphries answer questions on public outreach and space flight systems development during the All Hands meeting. Credit: NASA/Marvin Smith Image above: Dr. Shantaram Pai, Structural Machanics and Dynamics Branch, was one of several employees who asked questions during the All Hands meeting. Credit: NASA/Marvin Smith Image above: Moorehead and Dr. Lei answer questions on space flight systems and research and development during the All Hands meeting. Credit: NASA/Marvin Smith

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By Doreen B. Zudell