Patricia Butler, Senior Resource Manager Credit: NASA
NIMO, human spaceflight, ACCESS, NSN, Profile 

Employee Spotlight: Pat Butler

By ​Danny Baird

March 28, 2019

This blog post was written prior to a reorganization of ESC’s projects and networks in support of the agency’s commercialization effort. Though accurate at the time of publication, it is no longer being updated and may contain broken links or outdated information. For more information about the reorganization, click here.

It takes more than science and engineering to realize NASA’s ambitions among the stars. It requires the tireless dedication of agency employees across many disciplines.

The Networks Integration Management Office (NIMO) at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, connects NASA missions with communications resources worldwide. Human spaceflight missions receive specialized support from a small team of experts in NIMO who focus on the unique challenges presented by crewed exploration.

Patricia Butler serves as the Senior Resource Analyst for this office, which manages the Human Space Flight Communications and Tracking Network (HSF CTN).  HSF CTN is responsible for services to the International Space Station, exploration missions and the Commercial Crew Program. As a result, Butler oversees and executes seven different program budgets spanning 22 different spacecraft missions – and counting.

Her work requires a multitude of skills in business and finance, as well as effective communication with agency and external stakeholders across multiple NASA centers. Her expert management ensures the continued funding and success of high-profile human spaceflight missions.

[Butler] has the ability to effectively multi-task and is able to support multiple projects simultaneously while maintaining her focus and positive attitude,” said Niloo Naderi, Butler’s manager. “She is resourceful and consistently goes above and beyond to provide solutions.”

When Butler joined the HSF CTN, she had the seemingly impossible task of working through major financial challenges that had occurred. Despite her being new to the team and to partners at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, she identified a path that allowed for the continuation of HSF network engineering and operations while rebalancing and renegotiating funding. 

[Butler’s] ability to maintain both budgets and relationships is vital to our office,” said Neil Mallik, HSF network director. “Her dedication shows how thoroughly committed she is to our close-knit community, ensuring a mission focus for all our commercial and government ventures in human spaceflight.” 

When financial issues arise, partners can become wary of future collaboration. However, Butler’s transparency and swift action maintained the trusting relationship between HSF CTN and its partners in spite of challenges.

“Within months, Butler had balanced the budget, maintaining open lines of communication along the way and gaining the trust of all our partners across the agency,” said Mallik. “I do not know what we would do without her.”

Previous to her time at NASA, Butler received both a Bachelor of Science from Morgan State University and Master of Business Administration from the University of Maryland, University College. While pursuing her graduate degree, Butler worked for Lockheed Martin, a global security and aerospace company headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland. There, she participated in their Finance Leadership Development Program,  allowed her to rotate through many jobs, learning new skills along the way. 

Outside of work, Butler lives just outside of her native Washington, D.C. She actively serves in her community as a cheerleading coach for Cougars Competitive Cheer. She loves coaching her daughter’s cheerleading team, Little Paws, fostering growth in the girls on and off the mat.

“I love taking the team to competitions,” said Butler, “managing those 14 little personalities and bringing out the best in them.”