Our Meet the Team series focuses on what we value most, our employees. Ray is just one of 450 + employees that have the fire to fly.
Meet Ray Allensworth, Blue Ghost Program Manager
What is your role at Firefly? I manage the Blue Ghost CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) Contract to deliver 94kg of NASA scientific payloads to the moon’s surface. I’m responsible for executing all our contractual milestones, managing the schedule and budget, and resource planning for the various subsystems. I also do a lot of our procurements and contract management with all our large vendors and teammates.
How did you get the gig? I applied and was lucky enough to get the job. After spending the first part of my career at large companies with a lot of bureaucracy and red tape, I wanted to leave the heritage aerospace world. I learned a lot from these companies and had some great managers and mentors, but I usually felt pretty disconnected from the programs I supported. I chose Firefly because I wanted a faster-paced environment to work on a program that I was passionate about and to be able to directly contribute to its success.
What inspired you to start a career in Space? I’d say I was first inspired to become an engineer, then became interested in working in Space. When I was in high school, I was a nanny for a young girl. Her mother was an executive at Pepsi Co. She was one of the only female engineers in her class when she graduated college. She definitely inspired me to pursue engineering and was an awesome mentor. After graduating with an engineering degree from UT, I went to work in Aerospace/Defense industry and got to work on some space-related programs. That’s really when I decided I wanted to have a career in Space long-term.
What do you love about your job? There are so many things! I love the mission we’re working on. It’s incredibly challenging, but the potential to work on the first commercial lunar lander to land on the moon is wild to me. I also love how much ownership we all have on this program. We’re empowered to take full responsibility for our work and can make a direct impact on the program’s success. Last and most importantly, I love the people I work with. This is such an amazing team – I couldn’t have asked for better people to work on this program with. They definitely inspire me every single day.
What is the most challenging thing about your job? Having to wear so many different hats. One day, I may work on procurements, negotiate a contract, or ask for different resources to help with the program. On another day, I helped pick out the carpet for the new Spacecraft building. I’d say no one on the team has just “one job,” myself included. But that also makes the job really interesting and fun. I’ve learned so much since I started here in such a short time, which wouldn’t have been possible in any other environment.
What are your passions outside of work? I love to travel, snowboard, and play soccer which I’ve been doing since I was 6.
What message would you give to others thinking about a career in Space? I’d say to do it! Don’t be scared to try out different roles, even different companies. Find something that matches your interests and is a good cultural fit.
Any fun fact you want to share? “Ray” is my middle name, not a shortened version of my first name. I’ve never seen a single episode of Sponge Bob SquarePants.
Where did you study? I went to the University of Texas.