Most of my time here at JPL, I have worked as a design and test engineer for both the
Pathfinder spacecraft and the Rover. My area of expertise is in power systems - solar
arrays, batteries, and power electronics. I was lucky enough to be one of the engineers
on the spacecraft launch team when we launched Pathfinder out of Kennedy Space Center in
December. It was a kick being one of the people giving the "Go for Launch," then watching
the rocket lift off, knowing that the stuff you built was starting a 400-million-kilometer
trip to another planet. After the launch, I came back from Kennedy and started my current
The best part of my job is being a part of something unique. For instance, the
engineers that worked on the Rover got to sign a plaque that was placed on the bottom of
the vehicle and is now on its way to Mars. I enjoy thinking about the day when someone
like you will go find our rover on Mars, turn it over, and see my name.
The worst part of my job is that on almost a daily basis, I am faced with the fact
that I'm really not that smart. I am constantly in awe of the people with whom I work.
Many are just naturally brilliant. Some are loaded with decades of experience. But all
the successful people I work with have one thing in common, they all work hard. And hard
work is an incredibly powerful equalizer between the ordinary and extraordinary intellect.
My Personal Life
I grew up in Virginia and have four brothers, none of whom are engineers, all of whom
are better golfers than me. I have been married for almost five years. My wife, Sandra,
was born and raised in Scotland, and we go back to visit her family frequently. She works
as a nurse on aggressive treatments for critically sick children at the UCLA Medical
center, and she's brilliant at it. We don't have any kids. We both like to golf (I
probably have achieved fanatic status). On weekends, we can frequently be found out
shopping for antiques. I also run and bike when I have the chance, and recently ran my
first (and perhaps last) marathon. I play the piano. We both read a lot and we try not to
ever miss the TV show "Frasier."