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With No Influence and No Portfolio, NASA CTO for IT Resigns

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
March 15, 2011
Filed under ,

Chris Kemp has resigned his position as NASA’s Chief Technology Officer for Information Technology:

Deciding to leave NASA has not been easy, and is something I’ve been struggling with for the past few months. About a month ago, I mentioned to one of my mentors that “it’s a very difficult time to be an entrepreneur at NASA.” She responded “is it ever a good time to be an entrepreneur at NASA?” Reflecting on this, I realized that most of my accomplishments at NASA were not at Headquarters, but out in the field where I could roll up my sleeves and work on projects and get stuff done. Whereas I thought I had the best of both worlds being a Headquarters employee stationed in Silicon Valley, I actually had the worst of both worlds… no influence when I can’t be in all of those meetings at NASA HQ, with no mandate to manage projects at Ames. As budgets kept getting cut and continuing resolutions from Congress continued to make funding unavailable, I saw my vision for the future slowly slip further from my grasp.

So, today, I am announcing that I am leaving the place I dreamed of working as a kid to find a garage in Palo Alto to do what I love.
Sad to hear that. Best of luck, Chris.

3 responses to “With No Influence and No Portfolio, NASA CTO for IT Resigns”

  1. AstroWill says:

    This is a sad day for NASA

  2. Mike Hunt says:

    This is really good news for NASA, this guy was immature and not ready to handle this position.

  3. Terry Freeman says:

    NASA needs to understand that innovation doesn’t happen at the project level. Having a technology poster child does not get things done because they need to be getting things done to hold interest.
    Innovation happens when liberally educated people are engaged at the top to identify and promote objectives and they must have the patience to develop strategies that allow excellence at the project level to be recognized and used tactically to execute their vision
    The key is that vision is not technical, it requires an ambasador. It is practical and it is political but it needs persuasiveness. NASA needs to stop looking for “super geeks” to get them out of the woods.

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