The 2013 Systems Engineering Leadership Development Program (SELDP) graduated eight new systems engineers.
“One of the things I like about NASA is that we have the best people,” NASA Chief Engineer Mike Ryschkewitsch said to the 2013 SELDP graduating class at NASA Headquarters on Thursday, June 6. “ We give them impossible jobs and they go like hell to get the job done.”
Throughout the yearlong program, the eight participants engaged in a series of courses and workshops on leadership, had a rotational assignment at a new center, and participated in benchmarking visits at Space Systems/Loral and Google.
The graduation featured keynote speaker Alan Christie, Vice President of Subsea Production Services, Proserv, United Kingdom, who shared stories from his decades of experience in the oil business. He emphasized that the team makes all the difference on a project. “It’s about getting people to know each other and getting people to trust each other,” Christie said. “You can take one player out of the system and the dynamics change, and you have to be aware of that.”
“As a systems engineer it’s never about you,” said Tony Nicolletti, a graduate from Goddard Space Flight Center who served his SELDP rotational assignment at Langley Research Center. “Your success is dependent on the people you lead.”
The graduates also received a visit from NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden. “There are very few new things people learn about leadership. They are lessons that have been learned over and over again,” said Bolden. “You are the ones who are going to be critical to help us hold the agency together and continue to do the kinds of excellent things that we do.”
SELDP grew out of a need identified by NASA leadership and the Office of the Chief Engineer for an agency-wide leadership development program that would help identify and accelerate the development high-potential system engineers, with a focus on specific leadership behaviors and technical capabilities that are critical to success in the NASA context. Headed by Christine Williams of the NASA Academy of Program/Project & Engineering Leadership (APPEL), SELDP aims to develop and improve leadership skills and technical capabilities. The 2013 class brings the total number of graduates to over 70 systems engineers.