This week’s interview is with Mike Falarski.
Jessica Barton: What is your job title?
Mike Falarski: VP of Operations
JB: What does your work at LCOGT involve?
MF: I negotiate the agreements at each node site to establish the terms and conditions of creating a node. I also coordinate the design and construction at the sites both internally and externally. I work on the planning and implementation of the deployments and on establishing the necessary contracts, agreements, and resources for node operation.
JB: Could you tell us a little bit about yourself - your education, interests, past work experiences.
MF: I grew up on a farm in Michigan. It was a great experience and I highly recommend it! I was lucky enough to meet my wife Judi in high school. I got my bachelors degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan. (Go BLUE!!) After college I married Judi and we have two children and five grandchildren.
Before coming to LCOGT, I used to do aeronautical research for NASA, and facility engineering and ops for the NASA Research Center. I also managed Moffett Federal Airfield, built and ran the research campus of Phillips Electronics, and built and operated two museums.
I am also interested in golf, tennis, and travel.
JB: What led you to the career/job you are doing now?
MF: It was dumb luck and a great people network. It is who you know. I have the ability to know a little about a lot and make good decision based on a little. I have always been looking for the next opportunity and developing necessary skills, network, etc to allow it to happen.
JB: What is a typical day at work like?
MF: I always arrive early because the morning is best part of the day. This is a hold over from the farm life. The rest of the day is mainly spent on phone calls, emails and meetings with a bit of creative work thrown in once in a while. I typically communicate with other sites in the evening due to time differences, but I try to limit this to keep Judi happy. My job has involved travel, travel and more travel, but happily there is less of that now.
JB: What advice would you offer people wanting to go into the type of work you do?
MF: Don’t! Seriously though, work hard. Do lots of different things. Learn to like multi-tasking. Don’t be afraid of change.
JB: How has working at LCOGT been for you?
MF: I have had some terrific jobs in the past but LCOGT has been a very unique opportunity even for me. I have learned over time that the current times we live in turn into the best of times in hind sight. I have that feeling about LCOGT all ready.
JB: Thanks Mike!