Tomorrow starts a busy run of work for me over most of the next two weeks.  The schedule is dense with four audits over five days, a couple days off, then a fifth audit to wrap it up.  These five audits are in five different cities, three different states, three different time zones, and will include nine flights over five travel days.  Of course, if you know me, you know I gots to give something like this a name.   Welcome to:


The plan is actually quite crazy the first week.  Sneaking in an audit on the way to the airport -spending two days in San Jose hitting two places over three facilities – then instead of flying home, I am flying direct to the last audit of the week.  This way, I combine one travel day with another travel day, and one travel day with an audit day.  It sounds a bit insane, but my only concern is fitting in the reporting work that comes along with all of this  … and the scope of the audits and the size of the facilities should give me a fighting chance.  Almost in contrast to that, the week after I am spending a God Awful full day flying to New Jersey for a quick audit and a way too early flight home.

But let’s talk about the coolness of this run.

The headliner in there is that I am doing an audit in Iowa.  Not just in Iowa, but at University of Iowa.  Like I am auditing the school … well one department, but still.  What’s strange enough about this is … well .. It’s U of Iowa.  I grew up not far from there, and it was open season on the ridicule we gave to that place.  I mean, talk about astronaut farmers, right?  I thought that school was only for making a taller growing corn stock (cause let’s face it, the pig farmers go to Iowa State).  The most tame joke I thought to post about this audit was “Maybe they hope to build a cubesat capable of making their football team even more mediocre.”

The good news is putting me in Iowa that day means I get to spend a night in Dubuque for the Drum Corps show.  It’s the home show for my home corps, so it will be good to don the red and share stories with other alum about days on tour.

As I was telling people about the coming Auditpalooza, I immediately got the folks saying “I thought you took this job to reduce the travel”.  Well let’s deal with that elephant in the room shall we?

First of all, compared to last year, this is less travel.  In all of July, I am scheduled to be away from home for a total of 10 days – compared to the 27 days in 2016, and 22 days in 2015 (and 2015 had me spend half of it driving across country).  June I was out 10 days – compared to 2016’s 28 days and 2015’s ALL OF IT.  So … yeah .. I am traveling less.  Also, this run is temporary.  For one thing, we are hiring additional auditors.  Not just full time, but contracting folks on the east coast to reduce the actual physical travel.  Also, we are cross-training current auditors to get coverage for some of the things I am exclusively covering.  This may continue for a couple more months, but a plan to take care of it is pretty visible to us.

Besides, I love auditing.  The travel can be wearing, and the schedule hasn’t exactly been good to enjoy the places I visit, but the work is still so gratifying.  As a quality auditor, I walk into a company and help them immediately.  My priority, of course, is looking for areas of risk to JPL product, but 90% of what any auditor sees isn’t going to be significantly concerning or dangerous.  Basically, quality is a means to improve; and a quality audit is fundamentally the best tool to drive improvement.  And as we all know, if you love what you do, you don’t work a day in your life.

Even if it is in Iowa.

Happy Auditpalooza Folks.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s