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Dr. David Richardson - Working Hard Today to Realize Goddard's Tomorrow
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Facilities Management Planner David H. Richardson works hard today to create the future big picture of the Center.

Name: Dr. David H. Richardson
Title: Assistant Branch Head
Formal Job Classification: Aerospace Technologist
Organization He Works For: Code 221, Planning Office, Facilities Management Division

What is most interesting about your role here at Goddard?

I get requests from all sorts of people asking for help solving various facilities problems on Center usually related to configuration. We respond by helping them in reconfiguring space to meet the needs of projects. For example, we may need to create new laboratory space or new office space, or even arrange new off-site leases if we do not have sufficient space.

I have an office but I work all over Center. I usually go to my customers rather than ask them to come to me because I need to see their space. Also, people are better at explaining their needs in their own environment. Everything in planning deals with the future so you need to get the customer to envision his or her future environment. We have facility utilization tools so I can graphically view the Center and characterize it according to certain variables such as air conditioning, use of space, asbestos, and overall condition.

Photo of David Richardson› Larger image
Photo of Dr. David Richardson. Credit: NASA/W. Hrybyk
Teamwork is of paramount importance. The reality is that I work in service to the Center. Understanding the Center’s needs is a teamwork process. In an environment of constrained resources, execution is also a collaborative effort. The point of planning is to try to minimize the disruption associated with a necessary change, even when, as in most cases, we act because of a customer’s request.

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

I am now finishing up an end-to-end project, meaning planning through activation, of a clean room for the Magnetospheric Multiscale Science (MMS) Project. This is a 5,000 square foot integration clean room. It is almost completed after 18 months of work. The coolest thing to me was that the MMS project called us to help them solve a huge problem. Because we were able to help, they can now meet their schedule and perform their mission. The good news is that I just build it and hand it over so I don’t have to wear a clean room bunny suit!

What makes Goddard a great place to work?

After being here six years, it is clear to me that the diversity of the work force is what makes Goddard great. I deal with high-level performers who are some of the greatest scientists, engineers, and project managers in the world and those who support them are part of this incredibly rich world. Everyone is different, and the diversity of the team here at Goddard brings an extremely broad perspective to all of our challenges. Being a mechanical engineer by training helps me experience the unique environment with a comparable technical skill set.

If somebody asked you, ‘what is Goddard,’ what would you tell them?

Goddard is a fascinating playground where people imagine science, execute engineering, and really challenge one another.

Is there something surprising about how you act away from work?

I am actually less engaging at home, and do not really gravitate towards “facility work.” I recently bought a hundred-year-old house. One of the big attractions to me was that the previous owner had just renovated the kitchen prior to putting the house on the market. In this case, I planned to buy newly renovated, rather than plan and execute renovations. I actually planned, so that I did not have to plan!

Is there someplace in the world that you want to visit or someplace you have been and want to go back?

I am about to go to Rome, Italy to be in a wedding–not my own! After that, the wedding party is going on a Mediterranean Cruise.

Related Links:

› Podcast about the MMS cleanroom
› Story about the MMS cleanroom
› More Conversations With Goddard
Elizabeth M. Jarrell
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.