Casey Barnes '96 Leads Team in Winning Bid for $4 Billion Project
By Shena Sanchez '08
When Casey Barnes '96 graduated from Roanoke as a double major in international relations and French, the thought of someday making a deal with NASA for the production of a $4 billion space vehicle probably never crossed his mind. But over a decade later, Barnes has accomplished this and more.
Barnes led a team for Enterprise Florida Inc., the state's lead economic development organization, as its project manager, establishing a partnership for the production of the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle. The joint venture was made with Lockheed Martin, a major aerospace and defense manufacturer and contractor. The CEV will replace the Space Shuttle as NASA's chief spacecraft and will be designed to transport astronauts to the moon, Mars and beyond.
"It's rewarding to think that the jobs this program creates will improve the lives of so many families in Florida and that the project itself will have such a positive impact on Florida's future," he says.
Barnes, an EFI project manager, along with two others who comprised the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle Team recently were given the EFI President's Award for "resourcefulness [in helping] a major company land a new manufacturing operation in the Space Coast."
"The award is given to employees who have really excelled and helped Enterprise Florida fulfill its mission on behalf of the state," says Stuart Doyle, director of communications. This mission includes "bringing in high-paying jobs and promising industries that will guarantee economic growth and diversification for the state of Florida."
"The winners and their projects have shown a positive and measurable effect, from enhancing Florida's marketing capabilities to helping a significant employer win a $4 billion competitive bid that will [bring] more manufacturing and high value jobs to the state," says John Adams, EFI President and CEO. "This award showcases the exceptional skill and talent that I am proud to work with and depend on each day."
Doyle says that as project manager, Barnes' primary responsibility is to bring value-added, high paying companies to Florida. Barnes works with businesses, learning about their needs and ensuring that the needs are met in order for businesses to thrive in Florida.
"What Florida did was convince Lockheed Martin to assemble, test, launch and refurbish the vehicle here in Florida," Barnes says. "The Space Shuttle, for example, was built in California, taken apart and shipped to Florida only to be reassembled, retested and then launched. Our plan to build it in Florida saves time and money in a program that is limited in both."
However, Florida was lacking a facility in which the CEV could be properly produced. Doyle says that Barnes' team was able to acquire a $35 million investment from the state to make improvements on an existing facility in order to meet these production needs, helping Florida win the project.
When asked what brought Barnes to Roanoke College over a decade ago, he said "I fell in love with the campus environment. I was a Floridian who had never seen snow or mountains, and it snowed on one of my first days of college at the campus."
After Roanoke, Barnes returned to his native Florida, obtained his master's in international affairs from Florida State University and joined EFI in 2002.
"Roanoke was a great learning experience for me, especially in handling pressure situations and in communicating effectively," Barnes says. While at Roanoke, Barnes says his favorite memories were all the great relationships he had with people as well as being a member of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity.