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I Am NASA Stennis: Ken Griffey

Ken Griffey
Ken Griffey, chief of staff for the Center Operations Directorate at NASA’s Stennis Space Center, serves as the primary liaison for the NASA Stennis federal city and chairs the Veterans Employee Resource Group at the south Mississippi site, in addition to mentoring and encouraging newer employees in their own career growth and development.

NASA/Danny Nowlin

Each day Ken Griffey shows up for work, he participates in the ongoing transformation of NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

Much like his role at NASA Stennis for the past 17 years, the nation’s largest rocket propulsion test site and unique federal city continues to evolve. Having a chance to be a part of the process has provided Griffey with some of his “most rewarding work.”

The chief of staff for the NASA Stennis Center Operations Directorate points to a key factor in the continued development of the south Mississippi site.

The people, hands down, (are key to the future of NASA Stennis). Mighty little Stennis has a ‘can do’ attitude.

ken griffey

ken griffey

NASA Astronaut

“The people, hands down,” he said. “Mighty little Stennis has a ‘can do’ attitude.”

The Diamondhead, Mississippi, resident would know since he has served in variety of roles. As acting agency architect for the NASA Shared Services Center, Griffey helped make way for the facility to locate at NASA Stennis in 2006 and unify NASA’s mission support functions. He became the center’s acting deputy director for business and administration and then its chief information officer in 2008.

NASA Stennis began operating the National Center for Critical Information Processing and Storage, a shared federal data center facility supporting more than 10 federal organizations, under Griffey’s watch as program manager.

In subsequent years, Griffey played a role in the revitalization process of the B-2 Test Stand for direct support of the Artemis effort and helped pave the way for new growth at NASA Stennis as the primary liaison of the federal city.

Griffey believes mental flexibility is the primary key to success as NASA Stennis has transformed from its early days of mainly testing rocket engines and stages, to having as many as 40 on-site agencies, organizations, universities, and companies sharing operating costs, while pursuing individual missions, and employing about 5,000 people sitewide. This concept is something he lives out while encouraging and mentoring newer employees.

“The ability to flex into new paradigms and processes is more important to successful change than any other factor,” Griffey said. “These brilliant, diverse people are truly our greatest resource for the future.” 

The Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, native has firsthand experience in success and change. Griffey has four college degrees, ranging from an associate degree in general studies to a doctoral degree in business administration – with highest honors earned each time.

His son Benjamin, better known as Casper, is a Germany-based rap star with more than 10 Gold and Platinum albums, as well as multiple awards. Griffey, himself, has one Platinum and two Gold awards for contributions to his son’s first two albums.

Additionally, Griffey serves as commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2880 in Diamondhead, selected as one of Mississippi’s “All-State Post” for 2022-23. The U.S. Army veteran also spearheaded creation of the Veterans Employee Resource Group for NASA Stennis and NASA Shared Services Center employees. The group has grown from three members to 69 in two years.

“The primary reward from the group has been the camaraderie,” Griffey said. “When serving in the military, there is a shared purpose. Everyone from all backgrounds bonds over the remote locations, shared purpose, and the sense of looking after each other or having each other’s back. Having the group at NASA Stennis helps improve employee morale through a renewed sense of comradeship and shared experience.”

The group supports local events on behalf of NASA Stennis and sponsors activities to recognize national annual milestones like Memorial Day and Veterans Day. It focuses on inclusion and encompasses veterans, veteran allies, veteran families, and friends of veterans. For Griffey, it is all about feeling “included and seen.” Griffey cannot wait to see how the center moves forward into the future. NASA Stennis continues to expand the agency’s partnership as it welcomes new commercial aerospace companies to the federal city, all while contributing to the Artemis initiative to send the first woman and first person of color to the Moon.

For information about Stennis Space Center, visit Stennis Space Center.