Ron Epps: getting the job at NASA

After earning a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1967, Ron Epps began a long and illustrious career at NASA.  He explains the circumstances that led to NASA’s job offer.

Audio transcript

Ron Epps

But I always kind of thought well, you know, I learned a little bit from my interview trips. I never did want to work for the United States Steel in Gary, Indiana. I knew I did not want to work for IBM in Poughkeepsie, New York, because they all talked too fast, I couldn’t understand anything. And California was a long ways off and it got cold in Minnesota. And the more I thought about it, I’d been reading a little bit, but it was kind of out of the blue. In fact, the recruiter’s name was Jerry Horsington and he had come to campus and I signed up for an interview and, this is the honest God’s truth, I forgot about it.

Oh goodness.

Yeah, and so I went running over . . . I don’t know where the recruiting hall is today, but it was more downtown then. Anyway, so I went in there it was about 5:00 and he was gathering up his things and I said “Sir I really would like to talk to you about a spot at NASA.” And I said, “First of all I apologize. I missed the interview.” And I didn’t know if he was going to say well, I’ve got to go. But anyway, he looked at me and he says, now this is another true story, he looked at me and said “Is there a beer joint around here?” I said “Yes, right next door is Blue Jays Tavern.” And that building of the Blue Jays is still there, it’s right next door to where the recruitment building was. We went next door. Beer was a quarter and I interviewed in Blue Jays Tavern. That’s a true fact.

How did it go?

It went well and I got a letter . . . in fact, I got a telegram. Well I got, I got . . . NASA’s the only place I did not visit. I did not go on a live trip to see where it’s at or anything.

Okay.

About that time, I had gotten married in April and my wife and I drew a line across the country and said let’s live south where it’s warm, because Missouri gets cold.

Right.

So we agreed with let’s go south, so that eliminated a bunch of job offers. Then I got a call from the NASA folks and they wanted me to come work on land landing of spacecraft. And it sounded pretty good and the offer was the lowest that I got by about $100 a month. Typical, but I got to reading more about benefits and long term, if you stayed with them, and whatever, whatever and . . . anyway so I got to talking to them and here come a telegram. The 1310 Bridge saying . . . I still got it . . . you got what it takes to help land a man on the moon, we would like you to come work for us. So that’s the way that all come down. So . . .

So where were you located?

In Houston, Texas.

Okay.

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