Controlling Risk in a Dangerous World

Thursday, October 17, 2019 • 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. • Location: Continental Ballroom

Jim Wetherbee 180Jim Wetherbee
Captain, US Navy (retired)
Former Astronaut, NASA

On the front lines of danger, operators face hazards and make life-and-death decisions in dynamic complex situations. They are the last line of defense.

What happens if they don’t succeed? After accidents, organizations typically issue new rules. These will work—for a while—in preventing similar accidents. But accidents are rarely simple. A company may be blindsided by another accident that no one thought would occur. Again, new rules are issued and procedures are updated—yet the cycle of accidents continues. Organizations, and operators, must need something more than rules and procedures.

Since the beginning of the space program, astronauts have developed techniques based on the principles of operating excellence to execute missions and stay alive in unforgiving environments. These principles-based techniques can help optimize performance in high-risk businesses, and accomplish more in our dangerous world—or out of this world!

A six-time space traveler, Capt. Jim Wetherbee, USN (ret.), is the only astronaut to have commanded five spaceflight missions. After graduating from Notre Dame with a degree in Aerospace Engineering, he became a US Naval aviator and test pilot. In 1984, Jim was selected by NASA and flew twice to the International Space Station and the Russian space station, Mir.

For over thirty-five years, Jim’s work as a test pilot, astronaut, director flight crew operations, deputy director Johnson Space Center, and a safety executive in the oil and gas industry has given him experiences and insights into dangerous businesses. He is the author of Controlling Risk—In A Dagerous World.