AIAA Houston Section Executive Order – Treasurer direction, delegation, and openness


Treasurer: If an event costs more than fifty dollars ($50) or requires money to be reallocated (no budget was previously assigned for this committee), it requires an EC presentation.  If, however, money has already been assigned to a committee or event, and they are working within reasonable expectations, I delegate EC authority over purchasing up to two hundred and fifty dollars ($250), so long as it will be reported in your monthly EC Treasurer Report, which falls within the reasonable responsibilities of the position that you hold.  Secondly, AIAA dinner meeting costs should be held to $25 or less for members, unless approved by the EC, and the costs of program events like dinner meetings is also within your discretion.

Example 1: Wings Over Houston has small expenses related to the event, which are well established and well understood.  It should not require approval to spend money on this event, which would be already approved through the EC vote to accept the annual budget.

Example 2: The Annual Technical Symposium must develop a budget that contains all expenses related to the event.  Although this is a typical event held every year, with pretty typical expenses every year, the cost of this event exceeds the level of expected treasurer discretion and reasonable judgment would be that these expenses should be discussed briefly with the EC for approval.

Example 3: The Programs Committee, setting prices wisely for dinner meetings throughout the year decides to spend overages at the end of the year on a social event in the Gilruth Pavilion to celebrate the completion of a successful and busy year.  This “celebration” will cost $200, and will be considered a free event for all members.  This expenditure, while less than $250 is unique enough that I would expect it to be discussed in advance.

Example 4: The Programs Committee plans a dinner meeting in which the total costs are expected to be $1000, and prices appear to be reasonably set to avoid a substantial loss or profit, based on anticipated expenses.  Music costs were off-set by corporate sponsorship that was raised, and the event is being held locally at a reasonably priced venue.  Unless something concerned you about the cost of the event, you should be able to report this event through your monthly budget report to the EC and proceed as you feel is appropriate.

Example 5: The Life Sciences TC decides to hold a lunch and learn event at Gilruth, providing lunch for members for a small fee.  No budget was assigned to the TC, but the potential for a loss appears to be reasonably less than $250, and you feel the risk of a substantial loss or profit is negligible and easily can be absorbed by the budget.  You should be able to report this event through your monthly budget report to the EC and proceed as you feel is appropriate.

EC: Please let me know if there are any questions.  The authority delegated to each position on the org chart should be used wisely and when in doubt, ask the chair, the treasurer (if money is involved), and the secretary if you should be added to the agenda for an upcoming EC meeting.

All AIAA members are welcome to attend and weigh in on EC decisions, although voting is restricted to the members listed in the by-laws.  As such, I ask that we each consider whether we should include all upcoming EC meetings to the website, and consider forwarding topics of interest to our committees as appropriate.  Anyone that wishes to get more involved in the Section may be added to the EC distribution list as appropriate, per the discretion of the email chair and their management (Comm Chair).  The Top 7 and EC email distributions should be used appropriately to reflect the appropriate level of review; do TC chairs really need to look at this?  I also recommend an “All Ops (including committee members) + top7” and an “All Tech (including committee members) + top7” distribution.  We need to be cognizant of balancing the need to be open about AIAA Houston Section Business with the desire to keep our EC meetings short.  Every member has a right to come participate in EC meetings, and should be encouraged to do so.

A final org chart, including the appointed positions will be distributed within a week, as the last few decisions are expected to be made soon.  There will be new support committees for certain positions on the org chart, and the goal should be to detail these support committees on the new website by the end of this calendar year (if appropriate/possible).

Thank you for your continued support, and I look forward to working with each of you.

Daniel A. Nobles
Chairman, 2012-2013

Space Settlement Design Competition – Volunteers Needed

The Space Settlement Design Competition-International Finalist Round is taking place at the JSC Gilruth Center Saturday 28 July through Monday 30 July, and we are looking for volunteers to help create the usual wonderful experience for the high school student participants. We are looking for Technical Experts to conduct Technical Sessions Saturday 28 July (1:00 -2:30 p.m.), to “rove” and answer student questions Saturday afternoon/evening and/or all day Sunday, to serve as “Red Team Reviewers” Sunday 29 July afternoon and evening, and/or (if not Red Team members), and to serve as Judges on Monday 30 July. The four “technical disciplines” for the Competition basically encompass:

Structural Engineering-includes overall conceptual design of the settlement exterior, construction materials, and sizes/locations of interior facilities.

Operations Engineering-includes infrastructure, e.g., electrical power, internal and external transportation, communication, water, waste handling, and agriculture.

Human Engineering-includes determination of human needs (e.g., food, air, water, sewage, radiation protection), and also designs the community and residences.

Automation Engineering-includes design of computers and robots for construction, service to the settlement’s population, and conducting the community’s business

The 16 teams participating in this year’s Finalist
Competition represent high schools in California, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Texas, Argentina, Australia, Canada, India, Pakistan, Romania, and the UK (including students from Botswana). Their challenge will be to design the first settlement on Venus, where you know we will concoct challenges and surprises.

If you are interested in volunteeting please contact Jack Gafford at We look forward to seeing some of you at the Gilruth Center in a little over a week!

RSVP for the Annual Awards Dinner

Happy July 4th, all! Hope you are enjoying the day with loved ones.

The RSVP form for the Annual Awards Dinner is available. Please RSVP at the event’s page to select the applicable options and pay via PayPal.

Please RSVP by Wednesday, July 25, 2012.

If you are experiencing any difficulties with using the form, please contact Irene Chan at

Questions about the event? Contact Alan Sisson at

We look forward to seeing you on the 31st!