Latrell's feet planted firmly on the ground

Filed under: One on One |

* Name: Joe Latrell

* Organization: Beyond-Earth Enterprises

* Position: President/CEO

* Hometown: I was born in Schenectady N.Y., but I call Colorado Springs my home.

* How long have you lived in Colorado Springs: 28 years.

* Education: I graduated from Widefield High School in 1985. I have taken some college courses but mostly I’ve learned from working in the real world.

* A few words about your company: Beyond-Earth started out as a concept to enter the X-prize, but we changed our focus to providing people a real opportunity to participate in space by letting them send something personal to space and back.

* Recent accomplishments: We just completed building our test vehicle and are on a countdown to launching it. It took six years to get from concept to working systems, and I am very proud of the team we have that made it possible.

* Biggest career break: I’ve had a number of “lucky career breaks” in my life. The biggest for me has always been finding people who have the same desire to see something happen. With Beyond-Earth, we’d still be on the drawing board if it weren’t for their will to see this company work.

* The toughest part of your job: Staying focused. There are so many demands on my time that just getting one thing done can seem a challenge. To keep doing one task despite interruptions is something I will always be working on.

* Someone you admire: Gunter Wendt. Gunter ran NASA’s launch pad operations for manned space flight from the early days of Mercury through the space shuttle. The man is funny, determined, articulate and methodical about his passions.

* About your family: I’m married with four children, Jay, Megan, Zach and Josh. Josh died of SIDS nearly six years ago, but he will always hold a place in my heart.

* Something else you’d like to accomplish: Fly into space, but I’m working on that part.

* How your business will change in the next decade: I see the space tourism industry starting, and we will be ready with manned flights when it happens. Right now we are just sending personal items; soon it will be the person themselves.

* What book are you currently reading? Other than technical journals, I am currently re-reading “The Man Who Sold the Moon” by Robert Heinlein.

* What is the one thing you would change about Colorado Springs? I’ve watched Colorado Springs grow up a lot in 28 years, but in some respects we still think like we are a small town. We are a big city with big city issues and we need to focus our efforts to keep it a wonderful place to live, work and raise children. We can’t think and act small anymore.