Alum credits UHCL’s MBA program for a successful aerospace career
University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL) alumnus William “Bill” Reeves enjoyed a long and successful career in the aerospace industry. After serving as a flight controller in the Apollo Program, Reeves flew in NASA high-altitude airplanes for eight years before returning to a career in Space Shuttle Flight Control. In 1983, he was chosen as a flight director and successfully led several missions, including deploying the Hubble Space Telescope and establishing operations in Russian Mission Control when flying the Space Shuttle to the Russian Space Station MIR.
Later, in 2001, Reeves retired from NASA and worked as the deputy program manager for the Space Shuttle Orbiter with United Space Alliance until 2003. After, he worked as the deputy program manager for the Space Shuttle Program Integration Office and then, as the program manager for Space Shuttle Program Integration with United Space Alliance. He fully retired in 2011.
Reeves earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Oklahoma. He desired to continue his education by taking business courses. He mentioned that during his career, he was able to make use of the skills UH- Clear Lake’s College of Business equipped him with in both his personal and professional life.
“In the mid to late 1970’s I took a few courses in the evenings while I was working to learn more about finance,” said Reeves. “I decided to enroll in the Master of Business Administration program, which enabled me to advance in management at NASA and the United Space Alliance.”
Reeves added that the MBA program at UHCL also gave him the tools he needed to prosper personally, as it helped him understand his own finances and provided insight into investment opportunities.
“The program taught me the red flags to watch for, and what I needed to do to be profitable. As I moved up the ladder and got into management, what I learned at UHCL was invaluable because I knew how to manage budgets and organizations.”
Reeves said the professors during his time at the university were knowledgeable and always accommodating. Despite challenges, faculty and staff remained committed to Reeves’s education, and provided solutions.
“I was in the Earth Resources Aircraft program, and my office was at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base,” Reeves said. “I served as a missions manager, and flying in high-altitude airplanes required a lot of business travel,” Reeves explained. “There were times that I would be away, and I was able to make up courses I missed while traveling.”
The Jonesboro, Ark. native currently resides in Friendswood, Texas, and enjoys working around his yard, completing DIY projects, spending time with his wife, and keeping up his home. He serves as president of the Manned Spaceflight Operations Association (MSOA), a nonprofit organization that recognizes and honors those who planned, trained, and supported the many missions flown out of the Houston Mission Control Center. MSOA supports the preservation and maintenance of the control center and its equipment, as well as the communication of the control center’s history and the benefits of space exploration to society.
Whether flying an aircraft or conducting audits, Reeves took the necessary steps that prepared him for his work. He said his advice for students is to never quit learning.
“The technology around us is constantly changing,” he said. “My advice to anybody, is to take courses or get into helpful programs like I did. All of it will help you and your career. You will be very successful in life if you do that.”
For more information about UHCL’s Master of Business Administration program, visit www.uhcl.edu/academics/degrees/business-administration-mba.