Archive for January 2022

Kevin Rice – Former Director of Business Management for Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works and NASA JPL

January 20, 2022 @ 2:47 pm

In this episode:

We meet Kevin Rice who spent 40 years in the aerospace industry, roughly split between Lockheed Martin’s legendary Skunk Works and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). At Skunk Works Kevin served as Director of Business Management, where his responsibilities included management of several hundred employees in the execution of budgeting, scheduling, proposal development, cost estimating and pricing, contracts, and risk management. His work supported tactical aircraft projects including the F-117, F-22, and F-35, as well as reconnaissance projects such as the U-2, SR-71, various C-130 projects, and the sub-scale X-33 reusable launch vehicle.


Following that, and until his retirement in 2019, Kevin worked for NASA JPL, as a Division Manager and Director of Project Business Management for NASA’s research and development centers. Kevin developed, implemented and maintained JPL’s project controls processes, and created JPL’s business policies and practices manual (the “Dark Green Book”), which served as a model for business throughout NASA. He also developed the independent assessment model adopted by NASA to assess project performance. From 1992 to the present, Kevin has served as adjunct professor of Corporate Finance, International Business, and Global Financial Management at the University of Redlands.


In our conversation, Kevin discusses how he budgeted costs and set timelines for massive aerospace projects, established risk evaluation and management controls, what it was like maintaining constant discretion on classified projects, details on Skunk Works’ X-33 reusable launch vehicle program with NASA, and his experiences riding the annual Federal appropriations rollercoaster.


Discussing his own personal commandments for business management, Kevin says, “It’s about understanding the trends — what are the facts, what is the relationship between facts — that’s analysis. Assessment is, ‘What do I do with that information?’” You know, what is the risk attendant to that? How reasonable is it? What are some of the alternatives that we can apply to some of that?”


Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom © Copyright 2015, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: Miss Judged

Filed under aerospace, Space Foundation, Space4U, NASA, space economy · Comments

Laurie Orth — ‘Rocket Recorder’ Author, Composer, Educator

January 12, 2022 @ 2:56 pm

In this episode:

We meet Laurie Orth, educator, musician, and creator of the Rocket Recorder musical curriculum. Laurie has taught music in several different settings, and in 2012, she began her own business teaching general music classes to home schoolers. Noticing her students lacked motivation to participate, she had an out-of-the-box idea that by creating music and teaching it under a space theme might grab their attention.


In our conversation, Orth discusses what led her to careers in music and education, what gave her the idea to merge those different disciplines into Rocket Recorder, and the response she got the first time she introduced her Rocket Recorder songs in the classroom.


In describing the results of Rocket Recorder, Orth says, “It was a great outcome, because I wanted my kids to learn how to read music and not just memorize little nursery rhymes — and they did! They really would read the music and they learned how to count (time), so I felt like it was a success all around. And they learned a lot about space exploration.”


Learn more about Laurie and Rocket Recorder, visit


Introductory and closing music: Paint the Sky by Hans Atom © Copyright 2015, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: Miss Judged

Filed under Space Foundation, Space4U, STEM Education · Comments

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