Yes, If Coins Awarded at Ames

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yes, if

DeLoach presenting the “Yes, If” coin to Heck

NASA Chief of Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) Russ DeLoach recently presented two “Yes, If” coins to Ames Research Center personnel while visiting the center for the SMA Directors Meeting.

Senior Industrial Hygiene Team Leader Ben Heck (Bastion Technologies Inc.) received a “Yes, If” coin from DeLoach for his support of industrial hygiene investigations and surveys at Ames Research Center.

Heck serves as the lead for Ames’ SMA contract and also leads the Asbestos Working Group. He conducts building surveys for asbestos and lead prior to renovation and demolition activities for more than 275 buildings at Ames. His expertise also includes projects requiring extensive research prior to conducting the assessments.

Heck is a team player and goes above and beyond to find solutions to larger-picture issues. 

“Ben is ready to step in and help with the team whenever there’s an issue,” said Zihan Liu, Bastion industrial hygienist who nominated Heck for the award. “He is down to earth and a real leader who never hesitates to take on new responsibilities. He truly cares about his team members.”

In addition to being a team player, Heck is also committed to working through complex issues. One of Heck’s significant accomplishments is the  conceptualization and publishing of “Covid-19 Exposure Assessment Tool (CEAT): Easy-to-use tool to quantify exposure based on airflow, group behavior, and infection prevalence in the community” as a preprint by the National Institutes of Health, March 5, 2022. It was later published as “COVID-19 Exposure Assessment Tool (CEAT): Exposure quantification based on ventilation, infection prevalence, group characteristics, and behavior” in the Sept. 30, 2022, edition of Science Advances.


DeLoach presenting the “Yes, If” coin to Morrison 

Richard Morrison, Aerospace Technologist and System Safety lead at Ames Research Center, received a “Yes, If” coin from DeLoach for his expert contributions to the Vertical Motion Simulator (VMS).

The VMS is the world's largest flight simulator for high-fidelity testing of new and experimental aircraft and spacecraft designs. Researchers use the VMS to perform engineering studies to evaluate the effectiveness of flight control systems, rapidly test changes to aircraft design or evaluate different flight-control algorithms. Aerospace companies, government agencies and other industries use the VMS for developing aircraft or transportation concepts, and then later for flight control design refinements and to evaluate handling qualities.

“Rich is an exceptional candidate for the ‘Yes, If’ Award based on his dedicated contributions to the ‘Yes, If’ principle,” said Sergio Briceno, lead SMA AST who nominated Morrison for the award. 

Morrison identified a potential crew risk and presented possible workarounds, exemplifying the “Yes, If” philosophy and what it means to speak up. A recent modification to the VMS involved the implementation of a nitrogen system with sufficient capacity to present an asphyxiation hazard to the crew. Morrison informed project managers of the risk and presented potential options to mitigate it. He identified a solution to relocate the nitrogen accumulator outside the cab where the volume of the outside air is so large, it designs out the risk from asphyxiation.

Morrison has 35 years of experience in at Ames and also serves as the center’s Range Safety representative. 

"Yes, If” NASA Culture

The “Yes, If” recognition coin represents the type of culture NASA would like to promote. An employee’s response to “Is this possible?” should be “Yes, if …” instead of “No, because …”.

Recipients of a “Yes, If” coin exemplify the spirit of ingenuity, creativity and commitment to safety that the agency was built upon.

Learn more about the “Yes, If” program by visiting the Safety Culture page. Nominate a colleague for the “Yes, If” award by completing the Nomination Form.