Bob Turner is GMTO’s Deputy Site Enclosure and Facilities Manager. He has a B.S. in Economics and has been with GMTO since 2016.
What sparked your interest in working with GMTO?
I was given the opportunity to work as a consultant for GMTO and one of the selling points was the wow factor attached to this project. I have been involved in major engineering projects throughout my career, but never a project that combines the scientific sophistication and engineering precision that this project requires. I get excited every day with the thought that I am contributing to the success of this project.
Describe what you saw when you looked through your first telescope.
I saw an opportunity to touch the moon. I grew up in the age of the Apollo space missions. As a child, watching man land on the moon for the first time, truly was other worldly. Through the telescope, the moon seemed so far away, yet so close.
Within your field, what area fascinates you most and why?
I still get excited watching projects get built. The physical construction of a project is the tangible evidence of hard work by great teams.
What has been your most surprising moment within your career?
When I was offered my first supervisory position at Boeing at the age of 28. I thought the Director I was talking to was joking, but he saw something in me that led him to take a chance.
What was your initial impression of GMTO and why did you get involved?
My first impression was that this is an incredible project with incredibly intelligent people. I knew I could contribute to GMT’s success with my organizational skills and common sense. It was exciting to imagine being a part of this project.
When I was considering joining GMTO as an employee, the Site, Enclosure and Facilities manager asked me, “where else can you work where the reason for the project is to bring more knowledge to mankind?” That’s a pretty great way to think about why we do what we do.
Share a non-science related talent/skill/interest/hobby that you have.
I like to garden. Springtime is great, the vegetables have all been planted and they are starting to sprout.
What advice would you give to young kids exploring STEM fields as careers?
Do what you love. Work for people and organizations that you respect.