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IT Manager Bob Freitas Tackles the Virtual Wild Blue Yonder
May 2011
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Information Technology Manager Bob Freitas maintains IT systems, from the Center Director’s laptops to his own flight simulator.

What is most interesting about your role here at Goddard?

I spend my day checking in with my customers to make sure that they don’t have any information technology (IT) issues, and resolving any if they do; attending meetings; and participating in working groups as needed. I’m the IT guy the Center Director calls even on weekends.

I have an office, but I do most of my work visiting customers.

The "cool NASA tools" I have to do my job include an iPad and a smartphone which are important tools for me because they allow me to stay in contact with colleagues and customers.

Teamwork is extremely important to my job. I wouldn’t be able to do my job without teamwork and collaboration.

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

One of the coolest things was when I was supporting a NASA Advisory Council Meeting being held at Goddard and I got to meet Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Eileen Collins. Both of them asked me for the potato chips. That was a really neat day.
Photo of Bob FreitasPhoto of Bob Freitas. Credit: W. Hrybyk

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

After working for NASA for 21 years, I found that it is important for new employees to establish relationships in their immediate organization and also outside their organization. If it is possible, at some point find a trusted colleague whom you can call a personal friend. It makes a big difference.

What's makes Goddard a great place to work?

We put spacecraft in orbit. The people who work at Goddard are what make Goddard a great place to work.

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

These are the words of wisdom that I live by every day: Treat everybody as you want to be treated. Take ownership of the situation. Have a sense of urgency. Always do the right thing. Also, have fun while you are living by these words.

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

Bob Freitas running his flight simulatorBob Freitas running his flight simulator at home. Credit: B. Freitas Something surprising about me is my interest in flight simulation. My nephew and I built an entire flight simulator in my basement including the stick; the throttle; rudder petals; and three, 25-inch, HD monitor screens to provide a panoramic view. I can even fly and deorbit the space shuttle on it or land a jet on an aircraft carrier. It is pretty sophisticated. There are really no boundaries to my flight simulator!

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

I would love to walk the beaches of Normandy, France to see where the beginning of the end of World War Two started, and to remember and honor all the people who gave their lives for our freedom. I’m a World War Two buff.

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Elizabeth M. Jarrell
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.