Griffin’s senior leadership played integral crisis communications roles in the aftermath of the Space Shuttle Challenger and Columbia tragedies.
Crisis: Space Shuttle Challenger Tragedy (1986)
NASA lacked a comprehensive, integrated crisis communications plan to deal with such an incident. As result, it was forced to manage the crisis response on the fly, and received intense negative feedback from media, Congress and investigating authorities.
At the time, Griffin’s Jeff Carr worked as a Public Affairs contractor to NASA. He provided vital communications support to the Challenger Accident Investigation Team to help explain the cause of the tragedy and to put more proactive measures in place for future crises.
- Produced and directed official NASA documentary detailing the cause of the accident
- Developed comprehensive Public Affairs crisis communications plan integrated at the program, center and agency level
- Assembled crisis media preparation briefing; performed situational training should a similar event ever occur in the future
The fully reviewed and tested plan was a central asset in helping NASA navigate through the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy 17 years later.
Crisis: Space Shuttle Columbia Tragedy (2003)
At this time, Jeff Carr was the Director of Communications and PR for United Space Alliance, a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, and the prime contractor for the Space Shuttle Program. Jeff’s role at USA included leading the development and implementation of a company crisis communications plan and ensuring that it integrated fully with Shuttle Program contingency response plans. Jeff was responsible for all communications related to USA’s response to the tragedy, and served as its primary spokesperson.
- Developed tested and validated the plan prior to final acceptance
- Conducted crisis communications training for company spokespersons and leadership
- Implemented crisis communications plan throughout the crisis
- Served as national media spokesperson in the early hours of the crisis
- Served as primary liaison to NASA and industry communications organizations
In her role at Griffin Communications Group, Gwen Griffin coordinated on-air appearances of third-party, subject matter experts on major networks (i.e. Charlie Bolden on CBS Network, Tom Jones on FOX News Network) to educate the public as the tragedy unfolded.
Photos Courtesy of NASA