NASA People

Center Snapshot: Luckey Thomas
Luckey Thomas. Image above: Luckey Thomas is a ROME manager who makes it his responsibility to protect others from danger, whether at work or at home. Credit: NASA/Sean Smith

By: Denise Lineberry

While at a Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) conference in Las Vegas, Luckey Thomas hit the jackpot. He didn't come back with millions in cash, but he did come back with an idea that could save lives and limbs at NASA Langley -- a center-casted and produced safety video that will be revealed during Safety and Health Awareness Week (SHAW), June 14-18.

As a manager for ROME, Thomas strives to "provide all employees with the safest work place in the world and reach the milestone of zero accidents or incidents," he said.

"I really believe this goal can be reached," he added. "It takes one person at a time."

Thomas presented his idea for a Langley safety video project, and it was accepted by NASA and ROME with support from Crewestone Technologies. They formed a team to contribute to Thomas' vision.

"I couldn't have asked for a better team," he said.

Member Mary Stuczynski described the team as enthusiastic. All are pleased with the outcome of the video and hope that everyone who views it will walk away with a strong sense of safety.

Thomas’ efforts extend as a committee member for Maintenance Safety and Safety Advisory Leadership. He is also a Special Government Employee (SGE) for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and served on the committee to assist ROME in getting the VPP certification. Thomas also went to Colorado last year to audit Honeywell and help it retain VPP status.

Safety isn't his only job, but he always considers it his responsibility.

And just as Thomas chose the cast for the safety video, he also chose the four craftsmen who began the Indefinite Delivery in Quantity (IDIQ) shop more than three years ago.

"We are now 26 strong and I would trust my life with each and every one of them," he said.

That crew is a composite of electricians, carpenters, laborers and painters who provide construction services to the center. Some of IDIQ's other services include rigging, mechanical component verification, oxygen cleaning, HVAC and piping services.

Thomas is a self-proclaimed "workaholic." He began at Langley 31 years ago as a painter. Hard work helped him up the ranks to shift leader, to shop lead to supervisor and now, manager. Formal leadership training by ROME helped him through those last few leaps.

The hard hats that hang outside of his office door offer glimpses into his life. One is painted with a patriotic theme, displaying his pride in the U.S. Another is a Steelers hat, displaying pride in his hometown team. And a third is a Harley Davidson hat, displaying pride in his 2003 Sportster.

Inside of his office, which is labeled as "Luckey Land," hang pictures of his greatest pride – his family. He and wife Shirley have been married for 38 years. They have two sons and two granddaughters.

"My hobby is to spend time with my granddaughters Alexas and Kaylynn," Thomas said. "Both of my parents passed away before they were able to retire, and that is something that I don’t want to risk … I want to spend as much time with my family as possible."

On another wall is a shelf that supports artwork from his son, giveaways that he collected at VPP conferences and a model BMW from his wife. "She said that would have to do for now," he said with a grin.

"Families are what make us all strong," Thomas said. "I'd like to see everyone embrace the family concept within their groups or organizations."

He considers NASA and ROME "like a family," working together to meet the goals of both organizations.

He also considers himself a very lucky man.