About Me

William J. Hurd, Ph.D.

I retired from a 40-year career at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2007. For most of this time, I worked on communications between the Earth and spacecraft that explore the planets and outer space. I did research and development, system engineering and technical management.

When I discovered that JPL had a Solar System Ambassador Program where space professionals like me can volunteer within our own communities, I signed up. I enjoy speaking to all types of audiences.

My wife, Elaine, and I live in Mesquite, Nevada, and have a vacation home in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. In Steamboat, we enjoy skiing in winter and beautiful green and relatively cool summers. We spend most of our time in Mesquite with a comfortable desert climate and world-class golf courses.

Elaine and I have done extensive volunteer work for charities since our marriage in 1995. In 2009, I became a Certified Specialist in Planned Giving, primarily so I can advise my peer group on the advantages of legacy giving. I volunteer for my undergraduate school, Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York, where I learned many of the skills and principles which built the foundation for my success.

I enjoy helping people be more effective in their charitable giving so as to maximize benefits to the donors and the charities while minimizing taxes. I work with fellow alumni of Clarkson University with the goal of helping current and future students have the same educational opportunities that we had. Of course, I can talk endlessly about the technical aspects of space communications. I love to star gaze and am fascinated about our exploration of space. I welcome the opportunity to talk to students and others who share the same passion I have.

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