Vocational

Rising through the Ranks of Human Spaceflight Management

Posted January 13, 2021 | By ale_bellot

Digital Education Programming Presented by the
Center for Health & Wellbeing

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Have you ever wonder how people get to space, back to the Moon or how and when we will get to Mars? Bill Parsons, the former director of the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), has the answers to these questions and more. Learn about space exploration and the journey of this small-town Mississippian as he shares the story of his amazing career that culminated when he was named the ninth director of KSC. Hear from Bills in this program to learn about his previous role, where he managed a team of 2,100 NASA civil service employees and 15,000 contract employees. He’ll detail the path that led him to his director position, as well as speak about his passion for embracing a vocation that has brought him true joy.

This program is presented by William “Bill” Parsons and is hosted by the Winter Park Health Foundation.

About Your Program Presenter
William Parsons is the associate program manager of Jacobs Space Operations Group at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Cape Canaveral, FL. Jacobs Space Operations Group provides overall management and implementation of ground systems capabilities, flight hardware processing and launch operations at KSC as part of the Test Operations Support Contract. NASA program support includes Exploration Ground Systems, Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, Space Launch System, International Space Station and Launch Services Program. Jacobs also supports NASA requirements, including agency programs, commercial entities and other government agencies in services for launch vehicles, spacecraft and payload integration and processing; operations and development of associated processes and ground systems to support integration, processing and launch; servicing and testing of flight hardware; and launch of development and operational flights at KSC.

Prior to joining Jacobs, Parsons served in various space industry leadership positions including president of Sycom Space Services, President of RD AMROSS, and Vice President of Strategic Space Initiatives with Lockheed Martin. From 2006 to 2008, Parsons served as the director of NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida. He also held key positions as the deputy director of KSC, director of NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, space shuttle program manager for Return To Flight after the Columbia tragedy and deputy director of the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. Parsons joined the NASA team at KSC in 1990 and held numerous positions within the Space Shuttle Operations Directorate.

Parsons earned his Master’s in Engineering Management from the University of Central Florida and his Bachelor’s in Engineering from the University of Mississippi. He has received numerous awards and honors during his career including the Presidential Rank Award (Meritorious Executive), NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal and Distinguished Service Medal, the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement, and NASA’s Silver Snoopy. He also received the Distinguished Alumni Award and the Engineering Alumni of the Year Award from the University of Mississippi and the Alumni of the Year Award from the University of Central Florida.