Landon Hance and Paul Ridenhour, maintenance supervisors with the Division of Facilities Maintenance, Design, & Construction (FMDC), recently received special recognition from NASA for their work supporting the 2017 solar eclipse event at the State of Missouri Capitol.Hance and Ridenhour each received NASA’s Group Achievement Award as well as a special certificate of appreciation. The Group Achievement Award is a “prestigious NASA certificate awarded to any combination of Government and/or non-Government individuals for an outstanding group accomplishment that has contributed substantially to NASA’s mission,” according to NASA’s website.

Award for Landon Hance

Hance led logistics for the three-day celebration surrounding the total solar eclipse, while Ridenhour was in charge of securing infrastructure needs. They and their teams collaborated to make the event a success.

“It’s humbling and rewarding to receive this recognition from NASA,” Hance said. “Overseeing the logistics for the 2017 solar eclipse was an incredible experience for me, and the event would not have run so smoothly if it wasn’t also for the hard work of my team at FMDC. The team at NASA was very professional and their support contributed to the success of the event. I’ll never forget how amazing that day was.”

Award for Paul Ridenhour

“I was very proud to play a part in the success of this event, and it means so much to receive this recognition from NASA,” Ridenhour said. “My team and I made sure the infrastructure was in place for the event, and I’m proud to say our work helped ensure everything went according to plan. It’s an honor to have been a part of such a historic day.”

“When I heard Landon and Paul received this special recognition from NASA, I was proud and excited for them, but I was not surprised,” said Office of Administration Commissioner Sarah Steelman. “They are both such hard workers, and they come through for those who need their help time and time again. They deserve this award from NASA as well as the appreciation from everyone they diligently serve across state government.”

The 2017 solar eclipse was a highly-anticipated event throughout the U.S. that took place on Aug. 21, 2017. Jefferson City was not only in the path of the total solar eclipse, but the Capitol City was also one of the locations where the total solar eclipse could be viewed for the longest amount of time. With Jefferson City being an ideal viewing location, the state Capitol’s south lawn became a viewing area.

In preparation for the historic event, Hance and Ridenhour collaborated with NASA coordinators throughout a six-month planning process. They helped the NASA coordinators establish locations for their on-site headquarters as well as a mobile trailer that featured educational activities for children, such as exploring moon rocks and watching an eclipse through a virtual-reality headset.

NASA also relied on Hance, Ridenhour, and their teams in FMDC to set up electricity that supported stage equipment for a concert, the educational trailer, and a van that broadcasted the total solar eclipse from the Capitol. They oversaw the set up and monitoring of sound equipment used for the concert and important announcements, such as reminding the public to wear their eclipse glasses.

Because the Capitol’s outdoor lighting automatically turns on in low light, Hance made sure the lights would not turn on during the total solar eclipse to ensure everyone had the optimal viewing experience.

Reflecting on the experience, Hance and Ridenhour were pleased the event ran smoothly so the public could enjoy the solar eclipse. They remember hearing the gasps and cheers from the crowd when the moon started to block the sun. For Hance and Ridenhour, it was a sign of a job well done.