About Bill

William J. Hurd, Ph.D.

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

When Bill discovered that JPL had a Solar System Ambassador Program where space professionals can volunteer within their own communities, he signed up. He enjoys speaking to all types of audiences.

Bill and his wife Elaine live in Mesquite, Nevada, and have a vacation home in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. In Steamboat, they enjoy skiing in winter and beautiful green and relatively cool summers. They spend most of their time in Mesquite with a comfortable desert climate and world-class golf courses.

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

Bill enjoyed helping people be more effective in their charitable giving so as to maximize benefits to the donors and the charities while minimizing taxes. Bill worked with fellow alumni of Clarkson University with the goal of helping current and future students have the same educational opportunities that they had. Of course, Bill can talk endlessly about the technical aspects of space communications. He loves to star gaze and is fascinated about our exploration of space. Bill welcomed the opportunity to talk to students and others who share the same passion he had.