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By Todd Post

Glenn research center project manager Susan Motil’s story, “So This is Knowledge Sharing,” emerged out of a phone conversation she had with Marty Davis of Goddard Space Flight Center after reading his story in ASK 4 about tailoring reviews. Motil, who was working on a microscope experiment scheduled to fly on the International Space Station, was preparing for a preliminary design review when she ran into the Davis story. I met Sue on a visit I made to Glenn. When I heard how she’d read the story and then called Marty and how he helped her, I asked her to write about it. Fortune shined on me that day. She agreed.

When we started publishing ASK two years ago, we envisioned our readers, largely project managers, learning things from these stories and giving them a try on their own projects. Not surprisingly, some of our enterprising readers have sought out the authors to pursue a story further. We know this has been happening, and in this issue we bring you a story by Sue Motil that describes one such case.

When Sue picked up the phone and called Marty, she might not have realized that she was tapping someone with 40+ years of experience at NASA. Marty is truly one of the NASA “gray beards,” although the earring he wears he says is no ruse to convince us otherwise. We were delighted when Marty agreed to tell his story. That Sue was able to use ASK to learn from Marty is a great example of knowledge sharing in action, and it’s an important thing to share with our readers who’ve wanted to know the impact of ASK. This knowledge sharing business isn’t just academic. Sue estimates what she learned from Marty saved her approximately $500,000 on the project. In future issues, we plan to publish other stories about knowledge sharing, and we’d love to hear from you if you’ve learned something in ASK that you’ve applied on your projects.

Like Marty Davis, Alex McCool, the subject of our interview this issue, has over 40 years of experience with NASA. Let me tell you, few interviews I’ve done for ASK have been as enjoyable for me as this one with Alex. It was wonderful sitting in Alex’s office at Marshall Space Flight Center and listening to stories stretching the breadth of his career. How often do you get to learn from someone who has personally worked with Werner von Braun? Alex’s warmth and generosity are truly as plentiful as his knowledge. We have only mined a fraction of it here, but I’m sure you’ll enjoy hearing what he has to say about leading projects and teams.

There are other fine examples of knowledge sharing and knowledge shared this issue, but at the risk of doing anything more than whetting your appetite for what’s inside, I trust you’ll take my word and plunge in at your own speed. Enjoy the issue, and keep in touch.

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