Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thanks for November

One thing my wife and I have discussed that we want to get better about as a family is gratitude.  So with the holiday of thanks, Thanksgiving, just a few weeks away this seems like a great time to stop just talking about it.  I have also noticed many friends on Facebook trying to post one item of gratitude a day.  One might be OK for some, but I feel so blessed I am going to try to express five things I am thankful for every day.

It is already November 4th so I have some catching up to do.  Fortunately, November 1st gave me a great opportunity to show gratitude as I gave an acceptance speech for the University of Colorado Kalpana Chawla Outstanding Recent Alumni Award (  That was an amazing honor that days later I am still humbled to have received.  It also gave me an opportunity to show gratitude to my family, my mentors and recommenders, the University of Colorado and the Alumni Association, the Sierra Nevada Corporation, where I work, and the Dream Chaser team.  That also means I started the month with 5 broad statements of gratitude so I am on my way.  If you would like to read the speech I have added it to the bottom of this post.

That leaves me 15 more items I am thankful for to get caught up to today:

  1. I am thankful to live in Colorado where I have the opportunity to ski.  That was clear after going to Fridays Colorado Ski and Snowboard Expo.
  2. I am thankful for all of the folks who donated ( to our Friday Howl at the Moon event for Team in Training.
  3. I am thankful for the good times we had at the Howl at the Moon Friday night (  It turned out to be a lot of fun!
  4. I am thankful for Two Fisted Mario’s Pizza ( being open late on Friday night.
  5. I am thankful to get home Friday night because driving home late can always be hazardous.
  6. Even when they get beat badly, like they did Saturday, I am thankful for the opportunity to see a Buffalos football game at Folsom Field, one of the most scenic stadiums in the country.
  7. I am thankful that I went to college at CU with the coolest mascot in the country Ralphie running out before every game.  We almost lost some cheerleaders to a charging buffalo this week, but then the handlers got her turned.
  8. I am thankful that my wife is such a big football fan and likes going to live sporting events as much as I do.
  9. I am thankful that my youngest daughter attended her friends Bat Mitzvah.  It is good for your children to be exposed to a range of religious traditions other than their own.
  10. I am thankful to be married 22 years.  Saturday was our anniversary and it still feels like we are on our honeymoon.
  11. I am thankful for the beautiful Autumn weather.  What an amazing season we are having this year.  If you can be thinking about what you are going to BBQ on a Saturday afternoon in November, then life is good.
  12. I am thankful for the opportunity to watch another Bronco victory with my son.  He adds his own play by play almost the whole game, but that is a part of why I treasure the moment.
  13. I am thankful that my youngest daughter has the opportunity to try out for the Olympic Development program in soccer.  It is the last day and no matter what happens I think it has been a good experience.
  14. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to write this blog.  I am not sure if anyone reads it (thus putting this near the end is a test to see if that is true), but I enjoy writing it.
  15. I am thankful for a lazy Sunday.  It started with donuts and the Sunday paper, involved a little cleaning up for winter in the backyard, watching the Broncos game, and then writing this blog before thinking about another session of relaxing.
Whew I am all caught up!  Now I just have to post this thing and head back to that lazy Sunday to see what Eli can do against our family’s other favorite team, the Steelers.

CU Award Speech
This past year one of my hero’s Neil Armstrong passed away.  One of the great things about the first man to walk on the Moon is that while he took the first step, he was always good to credit the many people who helped him get there.  That is why his famous quote; “this is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind” is so timeless.

So while I stand here today receiving an individual award, I want to use my time to talk about the teams of people that have been responsible for me standing up here today.  I will start with my family, which includes my mom, Joyce, my brother, Jason, my wife, Sally and my wonderful children, Samantha, Jack and Hannah.  They are the rock upon which my house is built and they are what make my life worth living.  I love you!

Next I must thank my team of mentors who nominated and recommended me for this award: Jim Voss of the Sierra Nevada Corporation, Mike Coats of the NASA Johnson Space Center, Brian Argrow and David Klaus of the the University of Colorado, Paul Lucey of the University of Hawaii, and Bob Smith of Honeywell International.  I would not have received this recognition without your endorsement and your examples to follow.

I would like to thank the University of Colorado and the Alumni Association for giving me this award.  My education and time at the university taught me not only so much academically, but also about how to live my life.  As a Colorado native, it is one of my proudest achievements to hold two degrees from the state’s top university.

To the leadership of the Sierra Nevada Corporation, Fatih and Eren Ozmen and Mark Sirangelo, I want to say thank you for the opportunity to work at a company that embodies the importance of professional teamwork in every way.

Finally, I would like to recognize the amazing Dream Chaser team, many of which are here today.  I am fortunate to be your teammate on the greatest project I have ever worked on in my career.  Thanks to all of you for giving me the opportunity to learn from you every day.

So in closing, if I can offer a little advice.  Make it your mission to find and join teams at home, in your community, at school and at work. Webster’s New World Dictionary defines teamwork as “a joint action by a group of people, in which each person subordinates his or her individual interest and opinions to the unity and efficiency of the group.”  The most effective teamwork is produced when the individual team members harmonize their contributions towards a common goal.  If you make it a point to be a good teammate, individual success will come.  Thank You, God Bless, and I am proud to be a Colorado Buffalo.

1 comment:

  1. Great post Todd and congrats on the Award!


Thanks for your feedback on Aloha Fridays!