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Brian Christopher Thomas - Puzzling Out A Better Way
June 11, 2013

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Numbers guy Brian Christopher Thomas puzzles out new ways to work the budget system rather than have the budget system work us.

Name: Brian Christopher Thomas
Title: Resource Analyst
Organization: Code 201, Institutional Support Office, Office of the Director
Years at Goddard: 4
Years in Current Position: 4

What do you do and what is most interesting about your role here at Goddard? How do you help support Goddard's mission?

I'm a numbers guy. I help make our budget and then help us stick to the budget. I like playing within the system to make it work for us in a more elegant and understandable way and to find new ways to make the system more effective. I work the system rather than have the system work us, but still stay in the sandbox.

What makes a good leader? What makes a good team player?

A good leader communicates his vision so everyone knows where he or she is going. And has the same end goal. A good team player is willing to collaborate, but brave enough to speak up when he thinks there may be a better path to the goal.
Photo of Brian Christopher Thomas› Larger image
Photo of Brian Thomas. Credit: W. Hrybyk/NASA

What is unique about you?

I've always been fascinated with puzzles. I think this stems from the fact that my father was an aeronautics engineer, and we were always taking things apart and rebuilding them. Everything was a puzzle to me, from my toys to the family lawnmower. This same mentality applies to my approach in understanding and executing a budget. It's just another puzzle to piece apart and then put back together.

What do you enjoy most about working at Goddard?

I love the open lines of communication here. Upper management welcomes comments and concerns even from relatively new employees. I suggested to my managers that we add more detail to our budget so that those implementing the budget had a greater understanding and could plan better. They listened and agreed with me. I felt useful, which is always a good feeling.

What is the one thing you would tell somebody just starting his or her career at Goddard?

Don't test the waters just jump right in. There are fantastic opportunities here including wonderful training even for newcomers.

If you weren't in your current profession, what would you be doing?

I'd be playing video games while searching for a job online.

What do you do to relax or have fun?

I love watching soccer, hockey and motorsports. I play tennis as often as possible. Whether or not I win depends on whom I am playing, but it is usually about half and half.

If you could meet and talk to anybody, living or dead, who would it be and what's the first thing you'd ask them?

I would love to bring Leonard da Vinci to our time, take him for a helicopter ride and hand him a cell phone. He designed a helicopter, but I doubt he ever imagined communicating instantly with someone across the world – seemingly through nothing but air. His reaction would be priceless. Then I'd ask him if he would rather stay in our time or return to his time. I wonder if, even for a mind as great as his, all these changes would be too much for him to handle.

What is your "six-word memoir"? A six-word memoir describes something (in this case, you) in just six words.

Go fast, sport loving, problem solver.

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Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator