April 30, 2022

#SpotlightSaturday Board of Directors: Meet Tom Stugmyer

Tom Stugmyer has been a member of our Board of Directors since 2020! This Wadsworth City Councilman also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics/Astronomy & Mathematics from the University of Mount Union. Prior to being a Board of Directors member, Tom supported Higher Orbits as an Advisory Board member, taking photos and creating graphics for Go For Launch! events.

I had the opportunity to chat with Tom in March and hear all about how he got introduced to Higher Orbits.

Katy Thompson: What Inspires you to serve as a Board of Directors Member for Higher Orbits?

Tom Stugmyer: It started in 2017, we have a radio station in Wadsworth, the Wadsworth Community radio. Astronaut Mike Foreman was coming into town, and I do a morning show here, so we had Mike on talking about stuff. Afterwards he mentioned that he would be coming back to talk about, this Higher Orbits thing. I was like “oh cool what is that?” and literally it started with me talking to Mike, and Mike putting me in touch with Michelle. Then she called in and we did a radio phone interview with her and then a couple days into the event, I came and took pictures for you guys.

The closest I was ever able to get to the space program as a kid was through National Geographic and Life Magazine. Then you fast forward to this and I am standing there with Mike Foreman holding a moon rock. Higher Orbits Is bringing this excitement to kids! You know if that could have been around when I was their age, it would have been phenomenal!

KT: It’s nice to see where the connection comes in especially for board members. It is so important to see that one-on-one connection with the students. I think it is such a special thing that people don’t realize until they are at one of our events.

Now, I noticed you have quite a bit of experience working as a councilman, a board member, and leader in various local and community organizations within Wadsworth. Can you talk a little bit about how this experience has impacted your role as a board member?

TS: Well, I guess you realize how everything is interconnected, things don’t stop at a board of directors meeting, things don’t stop at a city limits sign, you know if you bring a STEM camp in here, you bring people in here, suddenly, its “oh look at Wadsworth, look what they have” and vice versa! You will have kids here going “oh my gosh, I got to intermingle with astronauts.” The space program is becoming more and more accessible every day.

KT: It absolutely is! It’s so exciting to see students watch the milestones unfold before them in the space industry. 

The last one is a fun one… if shipping and packaging was not an issue, what three things would you bring if you were traveling to mars tomorrow?

TS: Traveling to Mars tomorrow huh? Well, I got to get my go bag ready…

  1. Camera
    I would definitely take my camera because anything I could capture like that would be breathtaking.
  2. Telescope 
    Something to look at things. I mean I’m in space but again, something along those lines you know… it takes me back to my passion for Astronomy!
  3. Space Memorabilia 
    I have some coins that were minted that had metal in them from Apollo 11. I also have a piece of the foil that was on Apollo 11 when it landed…To take something like that, to have that in my hand or in my pocket when on Mars… I mean that is one of those things where you are kind of taking a little bit of history with you!

Tom’s excitement for space, care for Higher Orbits students, and out of this world positivity make him a galactically great asset on our board!

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