Rick Searfoss


  • After a distinguished career as an astronaut and in the US Air Force, Colonel Searfoss captivates audiences when he speaks on leadership, teamwork, and personal performance.
  • Colonel Searfoss flew three Space Shuttle missions, and is one of less than a hundred people to ever command a human space mission.
  • His first space flight in 1993 set the record for the longest duration Space Shuttle mission, and in 1998 Searfoss commanded the STS-90 “Neurolab” mission–the most complex scientific research space mission ever flown.
  • Searfoss’ consistent level of dedication and commitment led him to receive many awards, including the F-111 Instructor Pilot of the Year, Air Force Aero Propulsion Laboratory Excellence in Turbine Engine Design Award, Distinguished Flying Cross, Defense Superior Service Medal, and NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal.

  • As one of less than a hundred people ever who have actually ever commanded a human space mission, Colonel Rick Searfoss speaks on leadership, teamwork, and personal performance with authority born of in-depth personal experience. He has piloted two Space Shuttle missions and commanded a third, with over 939 hours in space and 5400 hours flying time in 61 different types of aircraft.

    His first space flight in 1993 set the record for the longest duration Space Shuttle mission. In 1996, he piloted Atlantis to the Russian space station Mir. With the STS-90 “Neurolab” mission on Columbia in 1998, Rick commanded the most complex scientific research space mission ever flown, with unparalleled mission success. Rick has over twenty-five years of experience as a leader in some of the most demanding team endeavors possible – human space flight, test flying, and tactical military aviation. Unsurpassed credibility and experience coupled with out-of-this-world speaking skills!

    Colonel Searfoss was the number one graduate in his United States Air Force Academy class overall, academically, in engineering, and in the Aeronautical Engineering major. He later earned a graduate degree from the California Institute of Technology on a National Science Foundation Fellowship. Outstanding Young Men of America, distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force Fighter Weapons (Topgun) School and U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. His many awards include F-111 Instructor Pilot of the Year, Air Force Aero Propulsion Laboratory Excellence in Turbine Engine Design Award, Distinguished Flying Cross, Defense Superior Service Medal, and NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal. Top results through dedicated effort and commitment. Rick brings that same dedication to enthusiastically sharing the principles of success with every group he meets.

    Beyond the unique professional experiences he has enjoyed, Rick’s incredibly supportive wife and three daughters keep him focused on what’s truly important: faith, family and service beyond self. His varied outside interests include running, backpacking, model airplanes, soccer, science fiction, and classical music. With compelling firsthand examples from richly rewarding professional and personal experiences, Rick speaks from the heart to teach, motivate, enlighten, and uplift audiences and fulfill his personal mission:

    “Sharing the achievement, teamwork, and leadership lessons of human space flight while bringing the wonder of Space to Earth for all to enjoy”

  • LEADERSHIP “Right Stuff Leadership! – Solutions from a Top Gun Command Astronaut”
    Purpose – Program – People – Perspective. True leaders balance all these elements to get the job done, build their organization, and uplift their followers. Colonel Rick Searfoss, Top Gun fighter pilot, test pilot, and astronaut, personally knows that commanding a Space Shuttle mission requires the utmost in competent, trustworthy, and service-oriented leadership. Too much is at stake for anything less than the real “right stuff!” Crucial real-world lessons delivered with high energy for all leaders!

    TEAMWORK, TRUST  “Trust-Based Teamwork”
    Secrets of trust-based, effective teams. Astronaut crew mates must act in unity as a finely honed team, literally trusting their lives to one another while fulfilling their nation’s trust to care for billions of dollars of national assets and achieve real results for mission success. They also need to lead and motivate the members of a vast variety of other specialized teams for the mission to succeed. It’s the perfect model for any ambitious team venture! Space Shuttle Commander and “team captain” Rick Searfoss shares these universal teamwork principles to accelerate your team’s ascent to the pinnacle of cohesion and success.

    INNOVATION, ADAPTABILITY  “Boosting Leading-Edge Innovation”
    Develop flexible adaptability to embrace the opportunities change offers. Research, innovation, and the exploration of the unknown in space give startling examples of adaptability. Amplified with Rick’s unique current test pilot work helping develop leading-edge new technologies with the most creative private space companies of the new millennium, this program will prepare your team to innovate your way to a profitable and exciting future!

    EXECUTION, ACCOUNTABILITY   “Execution Excellence When It Really Matters”
    Human space flight demands the relentless pursuit of execution perfection.   Learn how to apply the real-life execution principles learned from leading Space Shuttle missions to your own dynamic business challenges.  Colonel Searfoss’ Prepare – Apply – Adapt – Debrief Astronaut Execution Cycle provides crucial keys for those in today’s difficult business environment who must get the job done, and done right!

    SALES, PEAK PERFORMANCE  “Countdown to Success! – The Peak Performance Primer”
    Competition to become an astronaut is fierce and only the very peak performers – literally one in thousands – succeed.  Much like in Sales!  From a successful astronaut career to his entrepreneurial space company business development leadership successes in recent years, pinnacle performer Rick Searfoss has wired the Countdown to Success.  This program will arm you with the tools and attitudes to launch your own trajectory to peak personal effectiveness in sales or in life, for out-of-this-world results!

    CUSTOMER SERVICE  “Customer Service – The Mission that Matters!”
    Imagine leading a 500 million dollar project that was over 8 years in development and which peaked in a short 16 day window.  Now consider delivering a unique service in one of the most hostile and unforgiving environments possible, on behalf of thousands of clients and customers who gambled their professional hopes,dreams, and future on your performance.  With a “service before self” focus, Space Shuttle commander Rick Searfoss shares a powerful, results-oriented approach to energizing customer service regardless of the challenges!

  • The way you applied your team and leadership experiences to our business was phenomenal! As a business executive, I know the value of a great speaker, and your presentation brought incredible value to our conference. Your enthusiasm and passion along with those stunning visual images fit the tone perfectly. Your tailored presentation and the willingness to spend extra time with us put you at the top of my list of memorable speakers.”

    – Paul Garcia, CEO and Chairman, Global Payments


    A perfect start – powerful, exciting, informative, and fun!

    – Barry Grimm, Hernandez Engineering


    I appreciate your professionalism as well as your extremely courteous manner. You completely enthralled them not only with the subject matter, but with your polished delivery. I have been with the Medical Society for seven years and have had the pleasure of engaging several outstanding speakers. You not only eclipsed those other speakers by attracting a record attendance, you also generated a phenomenal number of calls and notes from attendees expressing their appreciation for the evening.

    – Dean Larson, Executive Director, Marion Polk County Medical Society


    Thank you for adapting your speech to our audience. Working with you was a pleasure; thanks for being so flexible.”

    – Barbara DeWitz, Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau


    … incredible how he tied our theme and work to his background in space exploration. Inspiring and a fantastic start to the entire week!

    – Arlene Kaplan, International Right of Way Association


    I just wanted to thank you very much for the outstanding job you did speaking to our National Account Managers during their Top Gun Program Graduation Dinner. The feedback has been nothing short of stupendous. Honestly, they are still talking about how surprised they were to have such a prestigious speaker that not only took the time to find out about the audience but also took time during dinner and afterwards at the hotel to share your experiences with them! These folks have been in the pharmaceutical industry an average of 20+ years and have been exposed to numerous keynote speakers. They have all expressed their gratitude and surprise that they finally had a speaker that understood who they were, what their challenges were, and customized the talk to fit their needs.”

    – Joe Gilhooly, Senior Manager, Managed Healthcare Training, Aventis Pharmaceuticals


    Your message and ability to connect with various members of our team were right on target a meaningful learning experience for our team and fun at the same time. That is a great combination.

    – Dave Sorensen, Vice President, Purchasing, General Mills, Inc.


    Your real-life experience was both fascinating and entertaining. You were the star of the show. Your approachable style and amazing awareness of Microsoft products made you a perfect part of our event team.

    – Jack Miller, District Business Solutions Manager, Microsoft Corporation


    What to expect from one of the real astronauts. They’re bright, but are they entertaining? This one certainly is! We loved it!

    – Dave Scott, President, Slanted Fedora Entertainment


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