In my career I have worked many kinds of events, from live TV broadcasts to operating sound for large audiences to engineering large audience live webcasts.  Lately I have been supporting high stress video conferences and major reviews for NASA programs.  For some reason, the higher the visibility the more I enjoy it.  Yesterday I was working logistics for a Program Management level all hands video conference that is scheduled for later this week.  The organizer is new to setting up logistics at this level and was making sure all the bases were covered.  In our last conversation she said that she appreciated my help.  I responded, “Glad to help, I love working these”.   To most people I work with that seems foreign since they don’t enjoy the high visibility in case they make a mistake.  A few years ago, I worked for a manager who really stressed out over these events so much that she would micromanage how we did our work.  Usually when a mistake was made it was due to her insisting we do something when we advised her not to do it that way. Most of the events she managed did go well, however.  I recall one time after a high-level webcast I told her that I love working these, the more pressure, the more I enjoyed it.  She responded that now she knows I am not being sarcastic but really meant what I said.

When I worked at Second Baptist I was ask by a vendor to edit a demonstration video for their booth at NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) convention that takes place in Las Vegas.  I gladly accepted because I love a challenge and was honored that I was asked.  My manager at that time came into the edit suite when I was working on it and said, “Not to put pressure on you but thousands of people will see this.”  I responded, “That’s a relief, what I edit everyday is seen by millions” referring to the weekly broadcast TV show I was responsible for.

Today I support on a daily basis meetings for the International Space Station Program.  Our rooms that I manage are called MMRs or Multi-Media Rooms.  These rooms can be intimidating at first until you understand how they work.  I designed some of them, so I know intimately how they work.  I get calls from Office Administrators to help them set up for meetings and most times all I do is sit there while they set up the room’s configuration.  I was asked by one OA if I ever get frustrated.  I said, “I really don’t”.   Another OA recently told me that I was their ‘security blanket’. If I was in the room they did not feel the stress of setting up these high-profile meeting.

I am the same way around executives and famous people. They are just people like you and me, so position never affected the way I see and react around them.  In my career I have met many people who are considered famous. When I worked for the Associated Press I met and talked with a some of them.  One time while working in the Astrodome parking lot after Hurricane Katrina, a guy came over to our truck setup and was asking questions about who all we had uplinked.  We talked for a while then he asked if we had any water.  I said, “follow me, I was going to get a bottle of water anyway.”  We walked over to a large tub filled with ice and water along with all kinds of other soft drinks.  My van was parked next to it so as we talked I sat on the rear bumper of the van.  He sat on the other end of the bumper while we talked.  After we talked for a while he got up, shook my hand, and said, “You are easy to talk with, glad to meet you” When he walked away my producer I worked with asked me what he was like.  I asked, “who was like?”  He said, “You were talking with Sean Penn.” I had no idea that was Sean Penn.  I disagree with his politics but as a guy, he was a decent guy.  I told my Producer that he should have gotten a picture of him sitting under the Bush ’04 sticker that was on the back window of the van.  Another time when I first started working at Boeing, I set up a meeting in the Leadership Center with some of the executives.  Before the meeting was to start, the Houston Site Leader and Vice President of Space Exploration, a former Shuttle Astronaut, Brewster Shaw came over to the room where I was working and asked me about our audio mixer, a Yamaha 32 channel board.  He was in a band called Max Q and they were looking into getting a new board and wanted some advice. At that time, we were upgrading the AV system in the room.  After I gave him the tour of what all we were upgrading, I asked why he was so interested in what I was doing when he had a meeting that was about to start across the hall.  He responded, “No one over here is trying to impress me.”

I say all of this to point out that we all have personalities.  My personality is easy going and no stress.  I don’t see people as what they believe but how they treat others.  There are people who I consider close friends even though their politics and what they believe are polar-opposite from what I believe. I ask God every morning to let people see Him through me.  Hopefully some do.