I've had the great fortune of working in several different fields. My career has allowed me to serve my country in the U.S. Coast Guard, work as a test engineer for a product testing company, and most recently provide engineering consulting for the Japanese Space Program, working out of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. I'm passionate about two subjects - space and alternative energy. Someday I'd would like to find a way to combine both fields.
I realized I had a diverse interest in science and technology while taking a senior-level physics class in high school. Not wanting to be committed to one specific career path, I decided to continue my physics education at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. The course work proved rigorous, and of the 50 students who began the program, I was one of only four others who received their degree in June 1999.
After beating the odds of a 90% attrition rate, I set out in 1999 to put my degree to good use. In September of 1999 I began work as a testing engineer for Merchandise Testing Laboratories in Brockton, MA. Retailers such as Pottery Barn, Target, Williams-Sonoma, and Costco would require manufacturers to send a sample to MTL for testing prior to sale in their outlets. I was assigned to package design analysis, where the samples were analyzed using ASTM test standards. The cardboard containers were subjected to compression testing using an Instron machine, and the sidewalls were tested for burst-strength. Detailed recommendations were then made to the packaging design.
In November 2000 I followed in my ancestors footsteps and decided to experience life at sea. I enlisted in the Coast Guard and chose to study navigation. As a newly-minted Quartermaster, I was assigned to the 210 foot Coast Guard Cutter Alert, which was based out of Astoria, Oregon. The ship’s primary function was specific to each mission, which usually lasted about six weeks. On some missions Alert would patrol the coast of California, Oregon, and Washington looking for illegal fishing activity; other missions we would patrol just outside Mexican waters looking for drug traffickers. After September 11, 2001, the Alert took on an additional role - anti terrorism. The Coast Guard was transitioned from the Department of Transportation to the newly-created Department of Homeland Security. In 2003, the Coast Guard decided to incorporate the functions of the Quartermaster into the Boatswain’s Mate rating. Not wanting to take on the duties normally performed by a Boatswain’s Mate, I accepted an option to transition my speciality to the newly-formed Operations Specialist rating, where I worked in CIC - Combat Information Center. This is where I was first exposed to working at the nerve center of an organization. I became very familiar with how operations worked at a management level. I worked with the captain, first officer, and the operations officer to plan helicopter patrols and search and rescue operations. In addition, I conducted background investigations on suspicious vessels and their crew, maintained secure radio and data communications with other military assets, and generally performed tasks that were commonly known by the crew as ‘Secret Squirrel Operations”.
I successfully completed my enlistment in November 2004 and was honorably discharged. In February 2005 I moved to Houston,Texas to work in the aerospace industry, and was hired by MTS Global in April 2005. MTS provided aerospace consulting services to NASA and its various contractors. I was assigned to research and write several white papers for NASA’s Close Call Awareness Program, which was created to increase the awareness of numerous close call events during the Space Shuttle Program within the aerospace community. In addition, I was assigned to work with JAMSS America Incorporated to assist their staff in working with the Japanese National Space Agency (JAXA). In April 2006, MTS Global ended business operations and I was directly hired by JAMSS America.
I am a senior engineer at JAMSS America, where I provide operations management consulting to the Japanese National Space Agency (JAXA) and its contractors. I serve as a liaison between NASA and JAXA. I spend much of my time serving as part of JAXA's Operations Management Team at NASA’s Mission Control Center.