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For 21 years, Ed Gibson held the American record for time in space, having spent 84 straight days aboard America’s first space station, Skylab, as the Scientist-Pilot. During that 1974 mission, he worked outside the space station for more than 15 hours during three different space walks.
During his 14-year career with NASA, Ed served on the support crew of the Apollo 12 mission and was the ground communicator with the flight crew as they explored the moon. He earned Air Force wings and logged over 2,200 hours in high-performance aircraft and 100 hours in helicopters.
Ed earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Rochester and a master’s degree and doctorate in Engineering and Physics from the California Institute of Technology.
After one year in industry, he was selected as one of six members of the first group of Scientist-Astronauts, edging out 2,000 other applicants.
After his NASA career, Ed excelled in program management and marketing with Booz, Allen, and Hamilton and TRW. He later served as the president of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and his own consulting company, Gibson International.
He is recently retired as Senior Vice President and Contract Manager with Science Applications International Corporation.
Areas of Expertise
Dr. Edward Gibson brings a wealth of experience, an intriguing background, and captivating anecdotes to each presentation.
Astronaut - 84 record breaking days in space
Executive - 25 years of innovative business leadership
Author - 2 novels, 1 highly acclaimed textbook, well published articles
Scientist - Ph.D. in engineering and Physics from California Institute of Technology and 14 years as a ground breaking NASA researcher.
With an impressive and diverse professional portfolio, Ed has a wide range of presentation topics to motivate, captivate, and energize any audience. Tailored to meet your event's objectives and audience needs, his presentations have consistently garnered high praise and earned him a reputation as a fascinatingly effective speaker.
Whether addressing 80,000 cheering football fans during a San Francisco 49ers' halftime show, delivering a speech to a standing room only audience of 3,000 in Rochester, New York's Eastman Theatre, leading a discussion with 1,100 members of the Explorers Club in New York City or motivating 2,500 University of Texas Medical College graduates during a commencement address, Ed has enthralled hundreds of diverse audiences.
Speech Topic: Leadership and Space Flight
Late U.S. President John F. Kennedy launched America’s determined pursuit to win the international race to space when he declared, “I believe we should go to the moon.” What followed that simple, 8-word challenge was a frenzied, all-out effort by thousands of managers, engineers, and researchers to accomplish a seemingly insurmountable task.
While most managers possess a reasonable level of administrative ability to accomplish tasks that flow from a declared goal, the qualities that distinguish true leaders are much less common, a situation as true today as it was in 1961 when President Kennedy issued his national challenge.
Ed weaves absorbing descriptions of the experience of spaceflight into clear identifications of leadership qualities of the early pioneers who set the stage, the rocketry spearhead, the political leader who inspired a nation, astronauts who set the bar high, and dynamic heroes on the ground who compelled success in technical development and mission control.
Ed shows how each of these leaders, driven by vision and courage, earned the respect and trust of the teams they led. As they tempered these qualities with empathy, they added a human touch to their greatness.
Speech Topic: Our Greatest Adventure - SPACEFLIGHT
Just as explorers, and later settlers, sailed the seas and spread across our continent, humans now leave our planet and venture into space. From liftoff and space walks to re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere, the audience is absorbed and entranced by a world that only a handful of humans have ever experienced.
Gliding over Earth at a serene five miles per second, living months without gravity, and watching Earth’s features become as familiar as the face of an old friend, Ed intrigues audiences with personal experiences gained during his 35-million-mile flight into space. With touches of humour, he puts the mind of the audience into the spacecraft to enjoy the sensations and emotions felt exclusively by those few humans who’ve led our outward thrusts into the universe around us — astronauts and cosmonauts.
Now, as 14 nations around the world build another space station in Earth’s orbit, the recounting of life onboard America’s first space station, Skylab, and the medical challenges encountered upon return to Earth, are not just fascinating, but highly relevant. His intriguing presentation reflects on our current outward migration and the future of human space exploration.
Speech Topic: Management and Space Flight
Humankind’s most ambitious and exciting venture — human flight to the moon — succeeded beyond all expectations. Adherence to the basic principles of good management guided by common sense led the way. The early management of the space program set the bar at unprecedented heights. However, in subsequent years, mediocrity crept in, lowered performance, and escalated costs as national leadership ignored the very principles that enabled earlier success.
As Ed describes the triumphs of America’s space program during the Apollo era, he identifies the seven basic principles of good management that led to success — principles that apply to any endeavour, public, private, or non-profit. Integrating personal experiences from lift-off and space walks to re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, Ed illustrates the ability to initiate action, focus on the mission, organize lean, competent teams, motivate and properly support staff, and lastly, get out of the way.
The presentation is enriched by Ed’s ability to creatively put the listener’s mind in the spacecraft to experience flight. Through humour and an insightful perspective into America’s opportunities in space, he demonstrates how solid management can enable the U.S. to maintain and extend its leading role in space exploration.
“Over three hundred people filled the banquet facility to hear Dr. Gibson’s presentation based on his experiences as a NASA Scientist Astronaut. They were not disappointed. Aviation enthusiasts and other guests as well were unanimous in expressing their acclaim for the program.”
James Burch - Aviation Safety Group of Arizona
Dr. Gibson’s awe-inspiring slides and unique presentation were very well received by the audience. Everyone agrees he is an excellent presenter and has a very special set of experiences to speak about.”
Adela Awner - American Red Cross
"Your role as keynote far exceeded any I have heard in the past. Your ease at the podium, your sense of humor, and your stories of space flight truly captivated the audience and added a depth to the banquet that is unsurpassed.”
James Woods - Federal Aviation Administration
"As MC for the evening, I must say they scored a coup landing you as their speaker. You had the audience in the palm of your hand with just the right mixture of humour and information."
Ned Foster - News Caster KTAR 620 AM Phoenix