Gerry Griffin is the former director of the Johnson Space Center in Houston. In prior NASA positions, he served as deputy director at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and the Dryden (now Neil A. Armstrong) Flight Research Center in California. At NASA headquarters in Washington D.C., Griffin also held the posts of assistant administrator for legislative affairs, associate administrator for external relations and deputy associate administrator for space flight (Operations).
He joined NASA as a flight controller in Mission Control, specializing in guidance, navigation and control systems for Project Gemini and the early unmanned missions of the Apollo program. Before the first manned mission, Apollo 7, he was selected to be a flight director and served in that role for all of the Apollo manned missions. Griffin was the lead flight director for Apollo 12, Apollo 15 and Apollo 17. His “gold” team conducted half of the lunar landings made during Apollo: missions 14, 16 and 17. His team was scheduled to conduct the landing of Apollo 13. But when the landing was cancelled as a result of an oxygen tank explosion, his team played a key role in the safe return of the astronauts.
Griffin earned a bachelor of science in aeronautical engineering from Texas A&M University (TAMU) and was commissioned as an officer in the United States Air Force. He served four years on active duty – first in flight training, then flying as a weapon systems officer in jet fighter-interceptors. He left active duty and joined the space program as a systems engineer/flight controller at the USAF Satellite Test Center in Sunnyvale, California. In the private sector, he also held senior engineering positions with Douglas Aircraft and General Dynamics/Fort Worth before joining NASA.
After taking early retirement from NASA, Griffin became president and CEO of the Greater Houston Chamber of Commerce, then later joined Korn/Ferry International, a worldwide executive search firm, as the managing director of the firm's Houston office.
Today, he is a technical and management consultant for a broad range of clients. He remains a senior consultant for Korn/Ferry International where he conducts search assignments for senior-level executives primarily in the firm’s global aerospace and defense practice. Griffin was a founding director of Comerica’s Bank of the Hills, Kerrville, Texas; a member of the advisory board of Alpha Space LLC in Houston, Texas; a trustee of Schreiner University in Kerrville, Texas; and a member of the advisory board of the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, College Station, Texas. He is a former member of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, a former trustee of the Universities Space Research Association and a past chair of the TAMU 12th Man Foundation.
Because of his real-life role as an Apollo flight director, Griffin was a technical advisor for the 1995 major motion picture, Apollo 13. He also served as a technical advisor and actor in the movies, Contact and Deep Impact.
Griffin is an active general aviation pilot and aircraft owner, and holds a commercial license with an instrument rating for single- and multi- aircraft, as well as helicopters.
Griffin and his wife, Sandy, live in Hunt, Texas.