What advice can you offer to young scientists or engineers?
Don’t ever give up on your dream, I wanted to build interstellar vehicles, and now I am as close to that as possible by building vehicles that go to other planets.
What are your personal goals for the future?
I would like to continue building flight hardware and pushing the limits of the knowledge base of the mechanical field as it applies to space exploration. I would like to get the chance to go to Mars, although I am not presently actively pursuing this goal.
What are your dreams for the future of exploration?
At some point, I hope that humans will venture out and do what is, in my mind, intrinsic to our nature and explore, like Star Trek™. I will be right there as spacecraft engineer.
What portion of this mission interests you the most?
The fact that this is a mobile geologist. I can wait for Spirit and Opportunity to spread there wings and go exploring. See how I worked that part about the Solar Panels in here!
What is the most fascinating thing about your mission?
This mission is a series of missions to build a complete story of what happened on Mars. Being part of that is awe-inspiring.
What's the most challenging part of your job?
Well, this job is so fun the most difficult part is getting out of the design and test phase and moving to building the flight hardware. I think that given infinite time, every mechanical engineer would work to redefine and rework their designs until they were absolutely perfect.
What is unique about your job?
That I get to play with vehicle that will go to another place in our solar system and maybe someday, outside of it.
What’s the most extraordinary experience you've had so far on this mission?
Seeing the Solar Arrays deploy for the first time on each vehicle.
When you were in elementary school, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to build outer-space vehicles.
When did you decide you wanted to be in the space industry and how did you go for it?
I decided I wanted to be in the space industry between 5-7 grade, I guess that it was a process. I started to really work hard in my math and science classes and work with my counselors to help plan what classes to take and work on my entry essays for college. I knew that I needed to get scholarships so I worked to make myself a good candidate for whatever scholarships would apply to my chosen field of engineering.
Why do you think Mars Exploration is important?
Mars has excited people for years, in my mind it is just part of us. We see it at night as a big red orb, we want to know what is there, what is out there. But, in a scientific way Mars is our closest neighbor, could it tell us about ourselves here on Earth, was life ever present there? These questions almost without question compel us to venture there.
Do you work on any other projects at your company?
Sure, I have worked on everything from underwater research in Antarctica to proposals to send vehicles to the surface of Venus. I even worked on a vehicle that launched into the Aura Borealis in Alaska.
Do you have any hobbies?
I like to work on and ride my motorcycle. I enjoy working around the house when I get a chance. I love to play ice hockey, but anytime I can get out and skate is great. I enjoy the outdoors, and travel anywhere.
Is there anything else you'd like to tell us?
Every year there is tons of money that in not claimed in terms of scholarships and grants, work hard early in high school to identify scholarships that may apply to the field you are interested in and get the essays done early, and have them evaluated by your teachers. It could pay off in more ways then you could ever imagine.