Keith's note: A farewell reception was held at NASA Headquarters on Thursday for NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver. In addition to the long list of thank yous to staff and friends, Garver had some parting observations and recollections to share.
Garver said that she had three personal objectives while at NASA: "to try and align NASA with national objectives; to provide value to taxpayers; and to try and be a consistent leader."
Responding to criticism she said that people had characterized her as just pushing change for the sake of change, being the "commercial crew girl" or "asteroid girl". She chalked this off as being the outcome of having worked to advance her overall goals.
As for her relationship with Charlie Bolden she said they they had "the best relationship team of any NASA Administrator and Deputy in my history and I've seen a lot of them", that she "learned so much from Bolden".
Garver reflected back to her efforts before being nominated to be Deputy Administrator - specifically leading the Obama transition team in 2008 following the election. She noted that she and her team had a "rocky start" and that she was "the only member of the entire transition team that had to deal with an agency head (Mike Griffin) who was openly hostile to the team and who had instructed his folks not to share information with us." Garver noted that Griffin "had a campaign headed by his wife that sought to try to keep him in his position." She joked that this whole drama ended up giving her more visibility within the senior leadership of the transition team than might otherwise have been the case.
Garver closed with a top ten list of things she had learned as NASA's Deputy Administrator:
10. Most people love NASA
9. Most people do not like change.
8. NASA really does not do anything all by itself and partners with a variety of organizations and institutions on virtually everything
7. You can't choose the time you asked to serve. It was not easy to serve at a time when the shuttle was being shut down and large programs were being cancelled.
6. There are only a thousand or so days until the 2016 election.
5. Nothing is more important than our people.
4. Women have come a long way at NASA but they still. have an even longer way to go
3. Not everyone seems to like politics as much as I do.
2. The job of the NASA Deputy Administrator is not to make decisions but rather to try and influence these decisions.
1. NASA is that the part of the human spirit that exists in all of us.