Assurance Guest Blogger: A Passion for New Horizons


A Passion for New Horizons

By: Mark Lam

July 14, 2015 was a pretty historic day. It was a day where passion ruled, and there were was a big American triumph. And no, it had nothing to do with the ACA.

If you’ve read any of my blog posts you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I’m an unashamed geek. One of the things I geek out on is space exploration, and on July 14, I got to watch history being made. You see, there’s this CD (everyone remember what those were?) with my name on it, that’s currently 2,966,221,981 miles from Earth, travelling at 9 miles per second, that just flew past Pluto. It’s onboard New Horizons, a piano-sized spacecraft launched nine years ago with the sole purpose of gathering science around Pluto. For the first time, we’re getting to see what Pluto really looks like, along with its moons. We’re celebrating an American technological achievement that nobody else has even tried to do, and it’s taken a very long time and a huge amount of work to get to this point. But that’s not what I want to write about this morning.

I want to write a little bit about the Mission Operations Manager (“MOM”) for New Horizons – a woman named Alice Bowman. She is the first female MOM for the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory – in layman’s terms; she’s a rocket scientist in charge of a team of rocket scientists. You can watch her in action here when New Horizons “phoned home” late on the 14th (the moment of truth that would let the team know the probe had survived it’s flyby of Pluto). It was a big, fulfilling, rewarding moment for her and the New Horizons team.

What struck me most was what she had to say after the phone home event, during a press briefing. She was asked the proverbial “how do you feel now” question, and after some moments of contemplation, she discussed achieving her childhood dream of space exploration. Then she said the following: “Tell your children to do what (they) are passionate about. Do something because you want to. Give yourself that challenge.

Words of wisdom from a rocket scientist; I love that statement. I’m going to tell my daughter that wisdom. I’m going to tell her do what she’s passionate about. I won’t tell her it will be easy, because it won’t be. I won’t tell her it will always be “fun”, because it won’t be. I will tell her that it will be a challenge, but it will be a challenge worthy of her. And in the end, it will be the passionate challenges that lead to those awe-inspiring, fulfilling moments in her life.

Here at Assurance, we are also passionate about what we do. Our passion is this: “Minimize Risk. Maximize Health.” It is certainly a challenge, and it isn’t always easy, but it’s what we do, because it’s what we thrive on. And in the end, when we see a client with happy, healthy, employees working in a safe and productive environment, we see our passion fulfilled. That’s our reward, what we work hard for every day. What’s yours?

Assurance is one of the largest and most awarded independent insurance brokerages in the U.S. and a proud partner of Women in Manufacturing. As our monthly guest blogger, content from Assurance's blog that pertains to women in the manufacturing sector will be published regularly.

About the Author: Mark Lam is Vice President, Benefits Compliance at Assurance, specializing in creating highly personalized client relationships through consistent communication regarding legislative and regulatory issues.