NDE Program’s Generazio Earns NASA Distinguished Service Medal
In late June, Dr. Ed Generazio, Office of Safety and Mission Assurance (OSMA) Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) program manager, received a NASA Distinguished Service Medal for his exemplary work in NDE for the agency.
“Ed has really gone above and beyond over the years,” said Quality Program Executive Brian Hughitt. “He has shown a great ability to take a bird’s eye view of the entire NDE program and figure out exactly what each center and facility is capable of and capitalize on that to ensure a successful program. His contributions to the NDE community, even outside NASA, have substantially contributed to technical excellence within the field.”
More than 20 years ago, Generazio was selected as OSMA’s NDE program manager while working as branch head at Langley Research Center. It was in this role that he first saw an opportunity to thoroughly document NASA centers’ capabilities in NDE to optimize the program. As Generazio explains, it wasn’t about knowing an individual person’s capabilities, but rather understanding the full scope of each center’s abilities and therefore what the agency was capable of doing. He points to Kennedy Space Center and Marshall Space Flight Center as two examples: Kennedy had an excellent training program while Marshall excelled at working standards.
“The need was clearly there, and it was a wonderful experience to look across all the centers and see how they’re all unique and excellent at what they do, and then to come together as we did,” said Generazio.
It was at this time he also began mentoring others across the agency in their NDE work — encouraging them to exceed what they thought they could do and providing opportunities to ensure they reached their full potential. He has mentored over 20 NDE practitioners agencywide, two of whom went on to become astronaut crew members.
It’s these relationships and the impact he hopes he had with these people that Generazio looks upon fondly when considering his career at NASA and the honor of the Distinguished Service Medal.
“It was an honor to receive it and be recognized,” said Generazio. “Often, when you mentor people, if you get it right, they call you back five to 10 years later and thank you. I think it’s your urging them to excel and their ultimate understanding of why you did it. That push to do even better than they were thinking. For me, it was just an honor. When you do that, you don’t even know if anyone notices that you’re mentoring people. To hear this all in one package was really very nice. Very rewarding. It’s been an honor to work with everyone — I’ve enjoyed every single interaction.”
To see Generazio and other Langley Research Center employees receive awards, watch the capture of the live award ceremony.
Since joining NASA after college, Generazio has held several leadership roles in which he guided NDE activities agencywide. Prior to his current role as NDE program manager, he served as the NASA Engineering and Safety Center NDE discipline expert (2003 to 2005), NASA NDE technical warrant holder (2005 to 2006), branch head of the NDE Science Branch at Langley (1994 to 2003), and a senior research scientist at Glenn (then Lewis) Research Center (1983-1994).
Generazio has played a key role in in organizing a working group for the agency’s NDE program and actively promoted NDE Technical Program Plans to address mission critical inspection issues for component integrity to assure the safety and reliability of NASA's flight systems.
After identifying gaps in NDE inspection standards, he established guidelines leading to the development of eight nationally accepted NDE standard practices and NASA NDE standards, including Nondestructive Evaluation Requirements for Fracture Critical Metallic Components, which is now being used in support of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and all other NASA programs with fracture critical components.
Over the years, Generazio established teams and provided assessment oversight of many critical NASA flight systems, including assessments of the International Space Station European Module, External Tank Thermal Protection System Space Shuttle and International Space Station Composite Over-Wrapped Pressure Vessels, as well as the Shuttle Flow Liner in which he identified inspection issues and provided guidance for correction that led to successful missions.
Generazio also currently serves as a research physicist (and has since 2005) in the Research Directorate at Langley. He received a patent for his Electric Field Quantitative Measurement System and Method. The patent covers both the Electric Field Imaging sensor and related methods. The patent combines three physics phenomena that result in a new inspection technology that has the capability to measure the electrostatic properties of materials and image of electric fields emanating from objects. (For more information, read “OSMA’s NDE Program Granted Patent.”) He also authored the 900-page NASA NDE Capabilities Data Book. The data book, TM-2015-218770, estimates the capabilities of inspection systems using validated probability of detection methods. (For more information, read “OSMA’s NDE Program Published Capabilities Data Book.”) He has over 125 publications in NDE and has served as keynote speaker in several professional society conferences.
NASA’s Distinguished Service Medal
The Distinguished Service Medal is NASA's highest form of recognition awarded to a government employee who, by distinguished service, ability or vision, has personally contributed to NASA's advancement of U.S. interests. The individual's achievement or contribution must demonstrate a level of excellence that has made a profound or indelible impact on NASA mission success, and therefore, the contribution is so extraordinary that other forms of recognition by NASA would be inadequate.