Insights | 10.8.21

Innovators That I Admire – Reaching for the Stars By Rob Baum, CEO of TechFlow

What really sets us apart at TechFlow is our entrepreneurial spirit. Our employee-ownership model helps to fuel innovation, giving everyone an incentive to take responsibility and push their ideas to new heights – or as some might say, to reach for the stars.

It’s always fascinating to me to understand what motivates people to accomplish great things. In part, because I want to provide that kind of leadership to inspire our employees. José Hernández, the first Hispanic-American to travel in space, shared his story in this inspiring video that I would encourage you to watch: https://www.pbs.org/video/reaching-for-the-stars-jose-hernandez-story-zlldnt/.

As the son of migrant farm workers, he had to rise up to achieve his dream of being an astronaut. He followed the five steps his father outlined for him: 1) Decide what you want to be; 2) Recognize how far you are from where you want to be; 3) Draw a roadmap on how you will get there; 4) Stay in school, go to college (in other words, stay on that path); and 5) Put your effort into it. In fact, he advises that you don’t just put in the effort, but rather do more.

As I heard him outline these points, I realized these are the same steps we follow to solve our client’s problems and build innovative solutions. Success is a team sport and José recognized that he could not accomplish his dreams alone. He needed the support of his teachers and his family. At TechFlow, we know how important it is to be on the same page and have your leaders and colleagues provide that same kind of support. José also realized how critical perseverance is. Despite following his father’s five step plan, José applied to NASA and was rejected 11 times. It was on the 12th try that he was accepted into the astronaut program. Perseverance is a key to success and it’s a hallmark of agile methodology that we as company feel strongly about. On August 28, 2009, José blasted into space on the Space Shuttle Discovery, fulfilling a lifelong dream.

These days, José is inspiring kids to “reach for the stars” though his Reaching for the Stars Foundation. The foundation’s goals are to educate students and the community about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields and assist individuals who want to focus their studies on STEM pathways. His positivity and perseverance are admirable, and he’s been helping to set others on a similar path – I hope some of them find their way to TechFlow! Their spirit would fit in perfectly with the “Always Ahead” attitude that drives each of us every day to accomplish great things.