I’m Joe Williams, a real-life rocket scientist employed by NASA at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Currently, I’m leading teams that plan strategically how NASA’s mission operations in Houston should acquire the goods and services it needs to fulfill its role in human spaceflight – whether it is for Mission Control, the training facilities where we train astronauts, or the people who work in them – in ways to make human spaceflight more affordable. On Leading Space, I share my experiences – both the successes and failures – on leading changes within a large government bureaucracy to improve the performance and lower the cost of human spaceflight. I also share my perspectives on human spaceflight policy honed from my brief time at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. On occasion I write about a topic on “hard-core rocket science” from my past as a shuttle flight controller. Finally, I sometimes write about a topic that fits none of these categories. This is my personal blog; the views expressed are my own and do not represent official NASA policy.
Currently, I’m posting about once a month. To make sure you don’t miss my newest posts, you can subscribe via RSS or email (the email subscription feature is in the sidebar).
If you’re new to my blog, here are some of my favorite blog posts. Top posts are listed in the sidebar to the right.
- The Journey: Why Am I Blogging About Leadership and NASA?
- Reflections on Gettysburg
- Reflections on Hubble
- The Flyaround: A Retrospective
- What to Leave, and What to Take
- Transactional, Transitional, and Transformational Change
- Building and Leading Teams Through Conation and the Kolbe Model
- Human Spaceflight Directions, Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6
- A Sentimental Journey
- The Bus is Departing the Station
- Competition, Cooperation, Collaboration, Consolidation
- The Value Equation
- Disruptive Innovation
- The Crisis Cycle
You can also check out the archive of all my posts or use the Search function, both in the sidebar.
I’ve worked in human spaceflight my entire career. After completing BS and MS degrees in physics, I started as a contractor at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston in the late 1980′s doing software development for a shuttle simulation. I became a flight controller in Mission Control in the early 1990′s supporting shuttle rendezvous and proximity operations. I joined NASA in the late 1990′s, continuing as a shuttle flight controller before moving into various entry-level leadership roles. In 2006-2007 I spent a year at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC in various assignments in budgets and space operations, and as an Executive Officer to a NASA Associate Administrator. Upon my return to Houston, I assumed the leadership role I now hold.
I’ve been married to my wife JoAnn for 13 years, and we have two daughters. We live in Friendswood, Texas. In my spare time I enjoy photography, cycling, strength training, reading, being a dance dad and soccer dad, and following Texas Longhorn football (as if the latter isn’t obvious from my picture above). I’m also currently pursuing an Executive MBA with the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and expect to finish in March 2014.