2015 Rising Star Awards
Supervisor of web and mobile application development at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA
- By Zach Noble
- Nov 23, 2015
Evan Chan's love affair with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory started when he was a student at the university the lab calls home: the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. He interned at the lab, and that internship turned into a post-graduation job. Nine years later, he's still going strong.
Trained in both business and computer science, Chan has been in management roles for the past three years and has helped lead paperless procurement and augmented-reality initiatives.
Deploying a hybrid of Microsoft's OneNote and SharePoint, Chan and his team helped transform the "encyclopedias' worth of paper" that used to accompany procurement into a streamlined digital process, he said.
On the augmented-reality front, he was involved in crafting an immersive mobile app that projects 3D images of spacecraft such as Curiosity, Cassini and Voyager.
And although his business education has helped Chan offer well-rounded leadership to his JPL team, he said part of what has kept him attached to NASA all these years is the distinct lack of typical business concerns.
At JPL, he said, "it's not so much about reducing costs for a product or shipping a new device." Instead, he can focus on quantifiable progress toward a much bigger goal: advancing humanity's trek through the stars.
It's a compelling reason to stay with the agency, Chan said: "We're doing things very few organizations can do."
Zach Noble is a former FCW staff writer.