NASA People

Center Snapshot: Andrea Legreid
Andrea Legreid. Image Above: Andrea Legreid works in the Mechanical Systems Branch. The best part of her day is when she leaves the computer to see the actual construction of her designs. Credit: Sean Smith/NASA.

By: Denise Lineberry

Like many people on center, Andrea Legreid is caught in the middle of alphabet soup. She is the subsystem engineer for the Orion Abort Flight Test (AFT) Flight Test Article (FTA) ground support equipment (GSE).

Her responsibility could be considered more difficult to recite than her position.

“My GSE team is responsible for designing the equipment that carries the equipment that models the equipment that will one day go to space,” Legreid said.

After graduating from Iowa State University with a mechanical engineering degree, her jobs have always involved building prototypes and other unique fixtures, similar to the work she does at Langley.

She started working at NASA Langley in February of 2007.

“The best part of my day is getting to interact with the people who actually build things. Its great to be able to sit in my quasi-air-conditioned office working on designs for part of the day and then getting to go down to the shop and see them actually be made,” Legreid said. “There’s a therapeutic feeling to being around when the tools hit the metal.”

There also is an element of pride.

And her responsibilities are just beginning when her work here is done. “With a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old that are growing up too fast, we spend our hours away from work trying to find quality family time,” she said.

Her husband, Brent, is in the Army, so Legreid has had to find engineering work at several different duty stations. “I’ve been able to find some interesting jobs as we have moved around,” Legreid said. She has worked on Abrams tanks, parachute testing equipment and giant dump trucks.

And she has also grown through that relationship. “Being a military spouse has made me much more independent. Every couple years I find myself having to manage a lot of things almost alone,” Legreid said. “To be able to switch from a typical wife and mother, to what is effectively a single parent trying to maintain a professional career, and then back again is difficult, but also very rewarding.”

Legreid was born in Germany. Her father was in the Air Force until she was 2, and then her family moved to Iowa, where she was raised. Since her marriage right out of college she has remained “south of the Mason-Dixon line.”

They have lived in Texas, Missouri, North Carolina and now, Virginia.

“Each place has seemed like the most interesting so far. Well, Missouri wasn’t that interesting,” Legreid said.