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A JSC IRD innovator — Chad Parks
Chad Parks

Pictured is Chad Parks, technical supervisor for the Information Technology and Multimedia Services contract that supports the Information Resources Directorate. Photo credit: NASA

At Johnson Space Center, the word “innovation” has a massively familiar ring to it. It’s a reflection of the thousands of JSC team members who strive daily to be innovators, contributing their expertise and talents to the success of the nation’s space program. One such innovator is Chad Parks, technical supervisor for the Information Technology and Multimedia Services (ITAMS) contract that supports the Information Resources Directorate (IRD) at JSC.

Parks is responsible for the daily operations and management of the IRD Customer Support Center; JSC Forms Department; and Engineering Drawing Control Center within IRD. He provides technical guidance, project management, business process improvement and strategic planning. Parks’ role ensures that the products and services meet or exceed customer expectations. He also participates in other high-visibility projects and initiatives that support IRD, JSC and the agency’s mission.

“One of the things I really enjoy most about my job is waking up every day and going to work to support one of the greatest agencies ever created in the history of this country,” Parks said.

Parks’ Idea Of Being An Innovator

Parks believes that innovation and its true value usually come about when there is a specific problem, or an “opportunity” arises that needs a swift solution. He explained that people experience these types of scenarios every day, and they must “work creatively within the bounds and constraints that are ever present, such as time, resources, requirements, etc.”

He believes innovation doesn’t always come in the form of some "spectacular” new thing that someone came up with. Parks feels that sometimes innovation comes in the simplest forms, such as eliminating wasteful steps in an established process or using tools that are already available to the organization in a different way to create a new service that provides value to customers.

“I believe myself to be an Innovator in this aspect,” Parks said. “I strive every day to work creatively with the opportunities presented to me in order to achieve the best result.”

Parks is the technical lead engineer for an ITAMS project called Integrated Service Management (ISM). Parks and his team found ways to streamline and consolidate service requests within their organization.

“The project scope goes even further than service request management,” Parks said. “Its entire scope and goal is to see gains in the areas of incident and problem management, configuration and release management, and asset management and discovery. The ISM team has just completed phase I.”

This has resulted in improved incident tracking and reporting and promotes business processes that are in alignment with Information Technology Infrastructure Library (Version 3) best practices.

Parks encourages JSC team members to learn and understand what IRD is all about.

“I believe one of the biggest misconceptions about IRD is that it’s just involved with things like applications, computers, networks and servers,” Parks said. “Although true, IRD also offers many other services to the center. Some of these include: JSC written and oral history services; graphic design services; document and records management; mission video and imagery; multimedia services; photographic and video services; JSC library services, and a slew of others.”

Beyond The Gates

Parks grew up in Louisiana and enjoys spending time with family and friends “around a big pile of spicy crawfish!” He also enjoys travelling, keeping up with the latest technology advances in the mobile industry, video gaming and hanging out with his wife, Katie.

“Oh, and go Eagles! (I realize I might get some flak for that, living in Texas and growing up in Louisiana),” Parks joked.

Envisioning The Future

Parks hopes NASA will continue to be the world leader in human space exploration “so that all of mankind might benefit from this natural desire to discover what new possibilities exist in the unknown universe.” He believes keeping this focus as one of the primary goals of the agency will lead to a continued inspiration for the youth of today, empowering them to lead this effort tomorrow.

“I’m just a very small piece in this puzzle, and I try to keep that in my mind in everything I do to support NASA,” Parks said.

As a youngster, Parks was always interested in technology, space and business. He feels that joining the JSC team more than eight years ago was one of the best decisions he has made for himself.

“This organization encourages all of the things I am passionate about,” Parks said. “The folks I work with are some of the most dedicated and talented individuals that I have met. It’s a pleasure being part of their team. I enjoy being challenged on a daily basis and, in the end, my job is truly about customer service and satisfaction.”

By Neesha Hosein