VPMC: Building Effective Project Teams for Mission Success


Mike Cisewski

Project Manager for SAGE III/International Space Station (2009-2017)

Mike Cisewski currently serves as the Project Manager for the Radiation Budget Instrument project at NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC). Previously, he managed the Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE) III/International Space Station (ISS) project, which launched successfully in 2017. Cisewski also held management, operations leadership, and technical positions in the Clouds and Earth’s Radiant Energy System Flight Model 5 and Flight Model 6 project, the NASA – Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) project, the NASA – Roscosmos Meteor 3M/SAGE III mission, and the Thermosphere, Ionosphere, Mesosphere, Energetics and Dynamics (TIMED) satellite mission with the Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry (SABER) instrument development. 

Cisewski started his career at NASA with the in-house Halogen Occultation Experiment project, which launched on the Upper Atmosphere Research satellite in 1991. He is the recipient of the NASA Outstanding leadership medal and was twice awarded the NASA Public Service medal for his support of the NASA mission.

Bob Faw

Author and Chief Energizing Officer of Matchbox Group

Bob Faw is an author, keynote speaker, and positive change consultant who ignites passion for positive change around the world. As a positive change consultant he ignites energy, growth and development of organizations and individuals in all sectors. Since 1988 Bob has specialized in guiding change where the change journeys are as positive as the results. He’s developed leaders, and energized people across a breadth of organizations. His clients learn to apply user-friendly brain tools in their professional and personal lives to energize sustainable culture change and higher performance.

Bob’s outgoing nature, comedic style, and energizing activities keep engagement and retention high. He includes active learning activities to enhance comprehension, increase retention and develop new skills through practice.

Joe Gasbarre

Project Manager for SAGE III/International Space Station (2017-)

Carin Gendell

Instructor for NASA APPEL Team Leadership course


Carin Gendell has spent 20+ years helping managers and team leaders to improve organizational results by developing leadership skills that drive collaboration and high performance. Carin’s clients include numerous Federal agencies and Fortune 500 companies. She has an additional 14 years of line management experience leading cross-functional business teams at Kraft General Foods. With an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Northwestern University, Carin has served on NASA’s APPEL faculty for 9 years

Vernell Jackson

Systems Resource Manager, NASA GSFC Engineering Technology Directorate

Vernell W. Jackson is the Engineering Systems Resources Manager for the Engineering and Technology Directorate (ETD). In this role, she supports ETD with oversight of the business acumen in the application of a strategic plan for business techniques and effective control processes (cost, labor, schedule) associated with ETD engineers’ work activities and development. Ms. Jackson provides advice and consulting in collaboration with the ETD Management as well as with internal and external stakeholders in tactical and strategic execution of activities to enhance mission success. Prior to joining ETD, Ms. Jackson was the Chief, Business Planning and Strategic Office for the Office of Human Capital (OHCM) at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). She has also served as the Business Manager of the Advanced Manufacturing Branch (AMB), and worked as a program manager for NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. She began her career at NASA as a Procurement Analyst and a Contract Specialist at GSFC. Prior to her government experience, Ms. Jackson gained valuable experience in sales and marketing in the electronic components and test measurement industry. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration from Towson State University and a Master’s of Arts in Administrative Management from Bowie State University, and is an active member of Women in Aerospace.

Kaitlin Liles

Chief Engineer for SAGE III/International Space Station


Cynthia Simmons

Associate Division Chief, NASA GSFC Instrument Systems and Technology Division

Cynthia Simmons is Associate Division Chief of the Instrument Systems and Technology Division at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). She previously supported the ICESat-2 mission as an Instrument Project Manager for the ATLAS instrument, oversaw the development of NASA hardware as the Instrument Manager for the SXS instrument on the Astro-H mission (NASA/JAXA partnership), and was the Instrument Manager for the development of the DESDynI LiDAR science instrument. Before joining NASA, Ms. Simmons was Director of Engineering at Edge Space Systems, Inc. Thermal Systems Engineer at Swales Aerospace, lead thermal engineer at QSS Group, Inc., systems engineer at Motorola, Inc., and Project Systems Requirements Analyst and Manager of the Systems Engineering Group for Unisys Corp. Ms. Simmons began her career as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force in the Office of Special Projects analyzing advanced payload technologies for classified satellite programs. She holds a B.S. in Biological Sciences and Engineering from the U.S. Air Force Academy and a Master of Engineering degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland.

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