I started flying airplanes when I was 12. When I was 18 I interned for The Rocket Development Company (RDC),
founded by Charles "Pete" Conrad Jr. Commander of Apollo XII and my friend and mentor. That summer he let
me fly his plane. At one point before take off during conversation he leaned over and said "No guts, no glory".
Pete's lunar lander was named Intrepid, the rocket RDC designed was called Intrepid and later after
graduation from college I named my company after Pete's legacy.
Pete treated everyone the same. He cared. He took time to personally answer every piece of fan mail he got. If someone took the time to write to him, he took the time to write back. He believed in people. Pete also had a notorious sense of humor and was known both in high school and in the Astronaut Corps as being a practical joker. People just wanted to be around him – before they even knew that he was the 3rd man to walk on the moon. Pete asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I said, "I want to be an astronaut". He didn't laugh. He said that was great and that he wanted to introduce me to some people he knew who would love to answer questions and talk to me about the astronaut corps. We talked extensively about the belief that space exploration and space tourism were moving to the private sector and that his ultimate goal was to get everyday humans into space.
Pete died suddenly in 1999 from a medical error. I took Pete's death hard and while I vowed to be as much like him as I could, I strayed from the 'hard' sciences and moved towards, event production and promotion, advertising sales and targeted marketing. I am happy to say that ten years later, I have moved back towards my love of aviation and aerospace. When I wear my marketing consulting hat I do so under the auspices of IntrepidJAM.
I fly fulltime for a wonderful company and when I am not flying their jets I am part of two start up companies- one in aviation, the other in space tourism.
I named my first company with Pete in mind, and I can still hear him say, “No Guts, no glory”.