Recent Employee Awards

Avatar is proud to announce that several of our outstanding employees have recently received awards for their exemplary performance under the KLXS contract. Please see below for a brief description of their achievements!


Nick Kindred (KLXS Certificate of Recognition)

In appreciation of his outstanding leadership and support to the Spacecraft Offline Processing Element EOM. Functioning as the Element Operations Manager Deputy, Nick prepared the team for the Preliminary Design Review, leading or overseeing such products as GOPDb Drops 5 and 6; 3-point estimates; resource loading; contingency planning; requirements development; detailed validations and objectives; and stakeholder expectations development. As the Deputy, he led the weekly Spacecraft Offline Processing Element Operations working group and drove many actions to closure with sound technical insights that required constant team coordination. Nick’s efforts stand as an example of excellent quality products and services and are a direct result of his can-do attitude and dedication to the program goals and objectives.


Fred Simmler (KLXS Certificate of Recognition)

In appreciation of Fred’s outstanding leadership in the emulator/simulator team developing Tri-Program Bi-Lateral Exchange Agreements. The analysis and guidance he has provided is recognized as critical to supporting GSDO verification planning and execution. Additionally, he has enhanced technical integration efforts through effective cross functional team collaboration while providing solution based recommendations after identifying non-compliances to the C3R technical baseline and gaps in C3R requirements. Fred’s achievements are a direct result of his exceptional ability to offer and implement effective solutions and indicative of his dedication to the GSDO mission.


Wayne Obenour (Space Flight Awareness Award)

For outstanding leadership and technical excellence in integrating Space Launch System (SLS) Launch Vehicle requirements, design and operations planning with the launch complex ground systems in support the Agency’s Exploration Program.

GSDO Steady at the Helm Award

Congratulations to our KLXS Program Manager Jim Gray! He has been awarded the GSDO Steady at the Helm peer award. Jim won this award for his ability to perform well under pressure and keep the team focused in a crisis. We appreciate Jim for his great leadership, diplomacy and respect for the team, and we are so happy he has been recognized for these great qualities.

Business Recognition Award

For the past year, Avatar has partnered with Brevard Workforce to hire and train workers displaced by the retirement of the  Shuttle program.  As a result of this partnership, we have hired four outstanding employees to support our ongoing work at KSC on the KLXS contract.

This month, Brevard Workforce  awarded us the Business Recognition Award for our recruitment, training and retention of displaced workers. We are extremely happy with the results of this great partnership, and grateful for this meaningful award. Avatar looks forward to continuing our dynamic partnership with Brevard Workforce in the future!

From left to right:
Tandy Baerst  (Brevard Workforce Business Liason), James Gray (Avatar’s Program Manager), and Barbara Linton (Avatar’s President/CEO)

Peer Award – Nick Kindred

Congratulations Avatar employee Nick Kindred for receiving a KLXS peer award this month!

Nick received this award for his outstanding leadership on the Orion Spacecraft Team. His efforts were instrumental in supporting the customer on the Pad Contingency De-servicing study. He was very proactive in learning the Orion CM and SM propellant systems, meeting and coordinating with the KSC and Orion Program propellant systems engineers, and responding to actions and questions in a timely manner. He also developed contingency scenarios and mitigation activities in case of an Orion leak at the pad and ensured that appropriate access and capabilities were identified to support Orion processing. This was a result of his can-do attitude and dedication to the mission.

Peer Award – Amy Squires

Congratulations Avatar employee Amy Squires for receiving a KLXS peer award this month!

Amy received this award for her outstanding support and leadership on the Integrated Functional Analysis Task Team (IFATT). Her support was instrumental in facilitating and managing the GSDO efforts to critical Program-to-Program functions and products. Her efforts to ensure accurate and coordinated Integrated Mission and Functional Analysis products was exemplary and critical to the needs of both GSDO program and overall Tri-Program efforts in meeting major milestones. Her willingness to take on challenging tasks within compressed timeframes is consistent with her strong work ethic. These successes were a direct result of Amy’s can-do attitude and dedication to the LX mission.

SAIC Appreciation Award

Congratulations to David Connolly! He has received a Kennedy LX Support (KLXS) Certificate of Appreciation from SAIC for his support in the difficult Communications Project Manager position. When the Communication Element Integration Team Project Manager retired, Dave stepped in and temporarily took over all of his duties until a replacement PM was available. He was fairly new to the organization at the time, and in addition, many new programmatic activities had just begun. It was a very demanding position, and Dave approached his duties in a conscientious and meticulous way.

Thank you for representing Avatar in such a positive way, Dave! We are proud of your accomplishments in this challenging role.

Paper by James Gray Selected for 63rd International Aeronautical Congress

The IAF International Programme Committee recently selected an abstract submitted by  Avatar’s KLXS contract Program Director, James Gray, for presentation at the 63rd International Aeronautical Congress to be held in Naples, Italy in October, 2012.   The paper, entitled “Kennedy Space Center:  Creating a Spaceport Reality from the Dreams of Many”, is scheduled to be presented at the Space Transportation Solutions and Innovations Symposium.  Congratulations, James!

Executive Safety Forum Award

Congratulations to Avatar employee Fremont Bassett! He was selected to receive an Executive Safety Forum Award.

Mr. Bassett pictured here with KSC Director Bob Cabana.

Congratulations to Fremont Bassett!

Avatar employee Fremont “Freebie” Bassett was nominated for Volunteer of the Year in the Florida Today Volunteer Recognition Awards!

Bassett is the founder of a non-profit organization called Computers for Education, comprised of around 20 volunteers who refurbish and donate computers to schools and other organizations in the Space Coast community.  Bassett and his group of volunteers have donated an astonishing 16,000+ computers to over 115 organizations. In addition, Computers for Education has taught over hundreds of people how to build and operate computers. We are extremely proud of Fremont for his outstanding contributions to the community!

To read more about the organization, make a donation, or sign up to volunteer, please visit the Computers for Education website.