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Snapshot: Wes Goodman
Wes Goodman, snapshot. Image above: Wes Goodman is assisting a team of Ground Facilities and Testing Directorate employees in bringing the 0.3 meter Transonic Cryogenic Tunnel back on-line. Photo credit: NASA/Sean Smith

By: Denise Lineberry

Early in Wes Goodman’s career as a co-op student, he received Very Important Person (VIP) passes to the first five shuttle launches. That opportunity led him to meet his own VIP.

As secretary and treasurer of the AIAA Student Chapter at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla., he chartered buses to those launches for a fundraiser.

"On the second shuttle launch trip I met a young lady from Daytona. On the third shuttle launch trip, I started dating that young lady," Goodman said. "We will be celebrating our 29th wedding anniversary in August of this year."

As it turned out, that was the beginning of a successful future in love and in work.

At NASA Langley, Goodman looks up when he hears an airplane overhead. It reminds him that he has had a hand in perfecting aircraft.

And with a 32-year-career behind him, that reminder comes often.

Goodman has worked in 25 different wind tunnels and has served as the facility safety head (FSH) in 19 of them. He has worked six flight test programs and one sounding rocket program. He also conducted a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) research project, which investigated hypersonic shock boundary layer interactions.

"I have been very blessed and afforded the opportunity to serve many roles here at the center, including -- but not limited to -- researcher and engineer, test project engineer, facility manager, operational safety assurance engineer and product assurance manager and ombudsman," Goodman said. "It really seems that I just can't keep a job."

For now, he keeps Langley's 0.3 meter Transonic Cryogenic Tunnel safe as the FSH. And as the test engineer, he keeps it running after a 6-year stand down.

"I enjoy the people, the variety of responsibilities I have had, the people here -- the various projects and the programs I have been involved in," Goodman said. "And did I say the people that work here?"

As much as Goodman enjoys the company he keeps on center, it’s the people he returns to after his workday that matter most. "My world is wrapped around my family," he said.

He spends much of his time with his grandchildren and camping out as a scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of America.

When it comes to Goodman's ancestry, he chose the path less traveled. "I am the first in nine generations to not reside in Central Pennsylvania and the first in five generations to not work for the railroad," he said.

But Goodman knows his life is right on track. And he intends to chug forward, while looking up, with his own VIP by his side.

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