Be Proactive, Put First Things First, Start with the End in Mind. These three directives are concise instructions for project manager. They come from Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. They can apply to any project, large or small, short or long term. A key word in the book title is effective. One example an effective use of project management skills coming up soon is Mesilla Valley Hospice’s annual Christmas Tree Sale at the Amador Hotel. The Amador Hotel Foundation’s restoration project is benefiting the Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce who will eventually be moving into the hotel. There are three organizations involved in this one event. Each has an end in mind, each end is different yet all work together and our communities benefit.
All organizations have to be proactive, and to get to their end, they follow similar paths when they act synergistically. This behavior is what makes our community such a great place to live and work. People working on a common purpose in harmony create great things. This last statement with the 3 elements of coming together to work in harmony toward a common purpose is a Master Mind principle from Napoleon’s philosophy described in his book Think and Grow Rich.
Developing a much needed set of metrics for measuring business development at the spaceport is a process that is just getting starting. The spaceport was not built by a small team sitting alone in an office. Literally hundreds of people all across the state have worked on this project over the years. Creating success requires many minds working together in harmony toward a common purpose. As the community comes together to look toward larger development of the asset we call Spaceport America, we can look to another recent event as an example of our community coming together for greater good. The “Look Who’s Dancing” was won by Alexis Dupris and Aaron Prescott who works at Spaceport America. The Virgin Galactic team, members of the NASA White Sands Test Facility, and even some of the folks who helped on the XPRIZE Cup were there to support Aaron and the program benefiting the NMSU Sports Dance Program.
This behavior of working together is part of our culture. When I spoke with Mark Butler of Virgin Galactic he said the support from the community for the Virgin team has been overwhelming. Support communicates a renewed and possibly a new energy for these people. And it provides potential and a new focus on mission. The path to space is neither straight forward nor easy. Virgin Galactic has an end in mind that is different from ours at the spaceport, yet they are interconnected with all of us tax payers here in Dona Ana County.
Spaceport America is a New Mexico asset. Being proactive includes setting goals and related metrics to measure how business development is progressing. I look forward to a more directed effort to assure the long term development and success of this facility. We start with the end in mind.
My original involvement in 1991 with Spaceport America came from a request by our Vice President of Research at NMSU. What are the benefits to the taxpayer of the spaceport? Through the Student Launch Program with its many partner, we have gotten students, teachers and faculty to use the spaceport. It’s putting first things first; its students, teachers and faculty who were the first users and beneficiaries of the spaceport. It is this population that has great potential to provide benefit back to our community. Recent discussions with the The Fellowship of Las Cruces Area Rocketry Enthusiasts (FLARE) a small, but very active rocketry group has provided a new on ramp for a small intrepid team of teachers and faculty involved right now building experiments to go to space from the spaceport. We community support including that of the spaceport team, we will have a launch event in March or early April. And, we hope to get back to these annual launch events at the spaceport. Chris Anderson is interested in getting this annual event to be part of their business plan.
Some people have a wish bone, some have a back bone. The teachers we work with all have the back bone necessary to work on an emerging industry instead of playing it safe in science or engineering class. Stacey and Tyson Rush with Hot Springs High School, Brian Claar, White Sands Middle School, Scott Chaapel at Camino Real Middle School, Paulo Oemig, New Mexico State University; Jonathan West and James Dunn at Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute; and Christina Ferguson at Roswell Middle School , all spent a week last summer at Truth or Consequences High School to study how to build experiments we would eventually send to space. In light of the delay for the start of commercial operations for Virgin Galactic, more support is growing for locals to use the spaceport. All we can say is FINALLY, IT’S ABOUT TIME. Stay tuned for more on this.