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Almond Neil R. Custodio - Fulfulling His Name's Destiny
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Named after a famous NASA astronaut, Almond Neil R. Custodio fulfills his destiny in workforce planning at NASA Goddard.

Name: Almond Neil R. Custodio
Title: Data Analyst Co-op Grad Student
Formal Job Classification: Data Analyst Co-op Grad Student
Organization He Works For: Code 112, Organizational Capability Office

What is most interesting about your role here at Goddard?

I assist with strategic civil servant workforce planning for the Center. This includes managing the size of the workforce by full time equivalents (FTEs), ensuring each Directorate manages within its FTE ceiling. I monitor all types of personnel actions that affect FTE utilization, such as hires, losses, and reassignments. I also monitor the Center’s progress towards Government-mandated diversity goals.

My friend, David Gong, informed me of an opening in the Office of Human Capital Management (OHCM). I applied, interviewed, and started working within a month. I guess you can say it was fate. I’ve always been interested in NASA, and my mom chose Neil as my middle name, after Neil Armstrong. I was born in the Philippines and grew up in the heyday of human spaceflight. Astronaut was definitely on my childhood list of what I wanted to be when I grew up. And now, I get to work for the Agency that sends astronauts into space.

How important is teamwork or collaboration with others to your being able to do your job?

Now that I’ve been working at Goddard for almost a year, I realize the Center is more relaxed and open than I thought. The campus feel reminds me of my college days
Photo of Almond Custodio
Almond Neil R. Custodio outside his building. Credit: NASA
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at The Pennsylvania State University. The sense of community within my organization fosters collaboration and knowledge sharing versus competition amongst my colleagues.

What lessons or words of wisdom would you pass along to somebody just starting their career at Goddard?

I’ve met so many interesting individuals; it’s hard to single out just one. My coworker Traci King, for instance, has worked at Goddard for more than 30 years, which signifies that Goddard is not only a great place to work, but that there’s room for career growth. I’ve shadowed Julie Baker (Goddard’s Chief Financial Officer) and Ron Brade (OHCM Director), two amazing opportunities in itself because I’ve been able to get to know them on a professional and personal level. Ron actually meets with the OHCM co-ops once a month. For someone of his caliber to have an open door policy means a lot to a new hire like myself.

What was your best day or the best thing that ever happened to you at Goddard?

Seek out opportunities to learn, not just about your organization but about the other aspects of the Center as well. Goddard focuses on non-human spaceflight and has developed or enhanced a lot of technologies that we use in everyday life, from ingestible toothpaste, to portable cordless vacuums, and anti-icing systems for safe air travel. I would not have known about any of these things if I didn’t seek out opportunities to learn more about things outside my area.

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

In high school, I was really good at drawing and painting landscapes. It was a hobby that I thoroughly enjoyed. However, I stopped to focus on college. In January of this year, I started playing in the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) mixed doubles league with my sister and two brothers. We placed 4th in the Nation at the National’s competition, which took place in November 2011. Not bad considering I’ve only been playing for ten months.

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Leslee M. Cork
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.