Expedition Team

Gary Borda - W-10


Occupation: Experiencing Life and Paying Back (I recently retired after 32 years with NASA and U.S. Navy)

I’m so happy to be paying back SEA while participating in such a worthwhile expedition as Plastics at SEA: North Pacific Expedition 2012. Sailing aboard the RV Westward in the summer of 1973 was a special experience for me for many reasons. Though it was 39 years ago, midnight bow watch on the Westward, with the dark sea below and incredible stars all around, stars you just don’t see on land, is one of my most vivid memories.

I received my B.S. in aerospace & ocean engineering from Virginia Tech in 1978.  The mountains and the New River kept me in Blacksburg for two additional years as a graduate research and teaching assistant at Tech before I took a job with the Navy in 1980.  I worked for 10 years at the David Taylor Naval Ship Research and Development Center just outside Washington, DC as an engineer and naval architect conducting R&D in naval surface ship design and propulsor-hull interactions.  The last four of those years I also attended law school, receiving my Juris Doctorate from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 1990 (commuting from DC to Baltimore four nights a week for four years).  After passing the Maryland and DC bar exams, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Patent Bar Exam, I moved to the Navy Office of the General Counsel where I practiced patent law for the next seven years. In 1997, I moved to NASA Headquarters in Washington DC, where I was a proud member of the Government’s finest legal team, NASA’s Office of the General Counsel, for 15 years until my retirement on Dec. 31, 2011.  At NASA I began a wider intellectual property law practice protecting the Government’s rights and the public’s interest in technology developed by or for NASA.  For most of my time at NASA I was the Agency Counsel for Intellectual Property, directing NASA’s intellectual property law program and leading a team of 20 IP attorneys and 15 staff located at eight NASA Centers and NASA Headquarters.

I’ve been married for 26 years (my wife Carmen recently retired after 33 year as a Naval Architect with the Navy).  We have two children, Allison (21) and Jared (19). We are a very active family—thiking, skiing, traveling, and competing in various sports.  We try to get outside—to the mountains, the ocean, the canyons, the rivers, the prairies—whenever we can. I enjoy long hikes (especially in the many National Parks we have visited), spending time in the surf with my kids, exercising, coaching (I’ve coached wrestling for the past 10 years), listening to music, cooking, eating good food, and volunteering for good causes.  Most importantly, Carmen and I have always stressed the importance of education and have instilled in our children a love of science, technology, engineering and math.  As a result, our children are studying biomedical engineering (Allison, at University of Virginia) and electrical engineering (Jared, at Virginia Tech).