The National Space Club Florida Committee each year recognizes area representatives of the news media and other communications professionals for excellence in telling the space story along Florida’s Space Coast and throughout the world. The award is named in honor of Harry Kolcum, the former managing editor of Aviation Week & Space Technology, who was Cape bureau chief from 1980 to 1993, prior to his death in 1994. Kolcum was a founding member of the National Space Club Florida Committee.
Traditionally, one individual or team award is presented to representatives of the news media and professional communicators.
Professional member of the news media who regularly covers launch and space operations in Florida.
Communications-related professional representing corporate, government or military entities involved with launch or missions operations in Florida.
The nominee must have excelled at facilitating and/or communicating the space story to the general public in a consistent manner deserving of recognition.
Florida residency is not required to receive the award, but the achievements being recognized must have been made while employed in Florida.
Previously receiving an NSCFL Award does not automatically disqualify a candidate. The Award Selection Committee will consider the matter on a case by case basis.
Nominations for this award are accepted from mid-April and are due June 30th. The award is presented each year during the Celebrate Space Awards Banquet.
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Tariq Malik is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as sky watching and entertainment. He became Space.com’s spaceflight writer in 2004, Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree for science and environmental reporting from New York University.
Tina Leighty works as the Executive Director of Quality Compliance for Axient (formerly Millennium Engineering and Integration or MEI. She serves as Program Chair for Space Congress | SpaceCom and as Celebrate Space Chair for the National Space Club Florida Committee (NSCFL), along with several other committee positions. She currently holds the position of Secretary on the NSCFL Executive Board while also holding Board Committee positions with United Way of Brevard and the Merritt Island Moose Lodge. She earned her Bachelor’s from the University of Central Florida in 2007 and her MBA from Florida Tech in 2022.Tina started her career in aerospace in 2009 with MEI as a member of the Safety and Mission Assurance Support Services Program Management Office. She began volunteering with the NSCFL and Florida Space Week that same year. A natural leader, Tina progressively took on more responsibilities as a volunteer for both organizations, eventually organizing major events promoting the story of space throughout the Space Coast and Tallahassee. Her role with Space Congress came in 2020, along with the challenges of COVID, when she led their first virtual event in 2021. Tina resides in Merritt Island with her Yorkie, Malla.
Brendan Byrne is a space reporter at WMFE public radio in Central Florida and a contributor to National Public Radio. Byrne has reported on the space beat since 2014. Byrne’s reporting is heard daily throughout the state of Florida on more than a dozen public radio stations. He is a frequent contributor to NPR’s national programs, with reports appearing nationwide on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and around the clock on NPR’s 24/7 newscast program. His work has received numerous awards.
Byrne also created and hosts the popular space exploration podcast “Are We There Yet?” which examines the human aspect of space exploration. After nearly four years as a podcast product, the show is now also broadcast on FM radio stations across Florida.
Byrne is a native Floridian and graduate from UCF. He lives in Orlando with his wife Madeline.
Dicksy Chrostowski serves as the Center Communications Director with NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC). She was born in Pennsylvania and became a resident of Florida in 1990. She earned her bachelors in Business Management at the University of Central Florida. While at UCF, she started her career with NASA as an intern. She has worked in various fields within NASA and has served the last 10 years in the Communications and Public Engagement Office. In this capacity she has assisted with managing an organization of communication professionals through various large scale events and projects to communicate the NASA KSC story to the public, media and distinguished guests. This all during a very dynamic time of transition in which KSC became a multi-user spaceport. It was important that the World knew that NASA was not out of business but transforming in a way that would enable commercial space flight. Most recently the organization hosted the President, Vice President, media, any many distinguished guests for the first commercial crew launch in which NASA launched humans to space from US soil for the first time since the last Shuttle flight in 2011. She resides in Rockledge, Florida with her husband, son and daughter.
2018 Kolcum Award Recipients
Marcia Dunn is an award-winning aerospace writer for the Associated Press based at Kennedy Space Center. She took on the space beat in 1990 following the retirement of the late Howard Benedict, a fellow Kolcum Award honoree. She has covered dozens of launches, including 99 Space Shuttle missions, with her words seen by millions around the world. Marcia grew up on a farm in southwestern Pennsylvania and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. She resides in Cocoa Beach with her husband, Stefano, and son, Nicola
John Janokaitis is the media relations chief for Aerodyne Industries in Cape Canaveral and is responsible for producing a variety of communications products for employees and news media. He also is a contributing editor for Jacobs’ monthly newsletter on the Test and Operations Support Contract. A second-generation space worker, John is in his 39th year at Kennedy Space Center. He earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Florida and a master’s degree in Aviation from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. He and his wife, Mary, reside in Cocoa Beach.
2017 Kolcum Award Recipients
Nick Thomas, KSC Visitor Complex
Nick Thomas has had a passion for the space program since watching the first launches of the Mercury program from his backyard in Daytona Beach. His resume includes acting gigs on TV and in movies, and in 1980 he was screen tested for the role of Gordon Cooper in “The Right Stuff.” He began work at the KSC Visitor Complex in 1987, briefing guests on Space Shuttle and ELV operations. A key member of the communicator staff for 30 years, he has helped develop specialy tours, and currently assists with the Astronaut Encounter program, as well as offering daily briefings on current space operations at KSC and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. A Silver Snoppy honoree, he also is an active pilot. He and his wife, Laura Jean Thomas, reside in Titusville.
Florida Today Space Shuttle Era Photo Team
From even before the first Space Shuttle launch in 1981, to the months that followed the final flight of STS-135 in 2011, photographers at Florida Today – the Space Coast’s newspaper – documented the 135 missions at every step of the way. Through their eyes as captured by their cameras, they told the story of the Space Shuttle Program. They were there for every move of an orbiter, every crew arrival, every countdown demonstration test, every launch and every landing. They were eyewitness to every triumph and every tragedy. Along the way they endured mosquitos and alligators, late nights and early mornings, and new technologies and storytelling methods that came along. Each are deserving of this honor. Today we recognize Craig Bailey, Mike Brown, Malcolm Denemark, Pat Jarrell, Rik Jesse, Delinda Karnehm Hood, Scott Maclay, the late Bob McDonald, Craig Rubadoux, Tim Shortt and Amanda Stratford.
2016 Michael Curie and Greg Pallone
Mike Curie is a NASA Public Affairs Officer at the Kennedy Space Center, where he also is the News Chief. Mike began his space career in 1985, working for the newsroom contractor at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, where he voiced NASA film and video productions. In 1998, he joined United Space Alliance and became a PAO. In 2007, he joined NASA at Headquarters in Washington as one of associate administrator Bill Gerstenmaier’s PAOs. And in 2012, he moved to KSC as News Chief at the Press Site. Originally from Orrville, Ohio – home of Smuckers and famed basketball coach Bobby Knight, Mike proudly points out – he went to Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Mike lives with Teresa Loudenslager, a three-legged dog and three cats in Indian Harbour Beach.
Greg Pallone is Brevard County Bureau Chief for Central Florida News 13 and has been reporting on Space Coast launches and mission operations since September of 2007. Before joining Central Florida News 13, Pallone was most recently the main anchor and night side Managing Editor at the ABC/FOX combo in Savannah, Georgia. It’s the same station where he began his professional broadcast journalism career 10 years earlier. Greg grew up in Marietta, Ga. He attended college at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, and interned at a small cable station there. After graduation, Pallone worked as an anchor-reporter in Savannah and Albany, Ga. and as a reporter-anchor in Huntsville, Ala. and Charlotte, N.C. before returning to Georgia as a reporter for the CBS affiliate in Atlanta. Greg lives in Melbourne with his wife, Katie.
2015 Peter King and Jim Lewis
King is a nationally respected broadcaster for CBS Radio News who has reported on NASA for two decades. In addition to covering numerous space milestones, including construction of the International Space Station and John Glenn’s return to space in 1998, Peter broadcast the first network radio report of trouble as the Columbia accident unfolded in 2003. He’s also covered scores of hurricanes, tornadoes, six Super Bowls, three World Series, and is frequently heard as an anchor for CBS News Radio’s hourly newscasts and updates. And on top of all that, Peter is an accomplished pianist and an authority on major league baseball. He is originally from Dobbs Ferry, NY and earned a BS in TV and radio from Ithaca College in New York. Peter and his wife, Lisa live in East Orlando with their pug, Otis and their cat, Scout.
Lewis is president of Communications Concepts, Inc. in Cape Canaveral. Jim began his career as a local radio broadcaster covering the final Apollo missions, Skylab and the Apollo Soyuz Test Program. In 1978 he formed Communications Concepts to enable better world wide coverage from the Cape of NASA, military and commercial space activities by providing state-of-the art coverage of preparations, launches, and technical highlights. His commercially produced videos and television coverage of rocket launches have been used by broadcast networks, individual stations, and commercial space companies ever since. He is originally from Rochester, NY and moved to Florida at age 10. He has studied TV and radio at UCF in Orlando and business with LaSalle University in Philadelphia. Jim and his spouse, Michelle, have three grown children, all boys, and seven grandchildren.
2014 Irene Klotz and Alysia K. Lee
Klotz is a veteran aerospace writer with nearly 30 years of experience covering launch and mission operations on Florida’s Space Coast and around the world. She began covering the space program in 1985 at Florida Today, and has spent most of her career reporting for Reuters, the highly-respected, British-based media outlet. She also writes for Discovery News, where her work often focuses on the results of space science missions launched from Cape Canaveral. Her engagement with social media includes posting reports to her Twitter account, which has nearly 6,000 followers. She also has worked for, or contributed to, space.com, Aviation Week & Space Technology, UPI and the National Space Society’s Ad Astra magazine. Klotz earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from Northwestern University in Chicago. She has one grown son, Joshua, and currently resides in Melbourne Beach.
Lee is Director, News and Multimedia Services, for Abacus’ Information Management and Communications Support contract at the Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39 press site. She leads a team of employees engaged in producing all live NASA TV programming originating from KSC, all video stories and packages, thousands of official images posted to the web, and hundreds of compelling stories written for the KSC website, whose audience numbers in the millions. She began working at KSC in 2004 as a NASA TV and KSC Web studio producer. Before then she served as producer or senior producer for several Michigan-based television stations. Lee earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication from the University of Michigan at Flint. She and her husband, Greg, live in Viera with their three sons, Brandon, Cooper and Jackson.
2013 Andrea Farmer and John Zarella
Farmer is senior public relations manager of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, which is operated by Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts on behalf of NASA. For nearly 10 years she has told the NASA and KSC story and inspired support for the space program. She is responsible for community and media relations, including social media, crisis communications and news content. She was a key player in promoting the opening of the new Space Shuttle Atlantis attraction, gaining worldwide attention of Florida’s Space Coast. She is a native of Melbourne, Fla., and earned her bachelors of science in business administration from the University of Central Florida. She has worked for the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Andrea lives in Titusville with her husband, Michael.
Zarrella is CNN’s Miami correspondent, named to this position when the Miami bureau was established in December 1983. He is responsible for CNN’s coverage of news in Florida, Central and South America and the Caribbean, and has covered every major hurricane to hit Florida and the Gulf Coast. He is a principal correspondent for CNN’s coverage of the U.S. space program, covering such events such as John Glenn’s 1998 return to space, the Mars Pathfinder mission and numerous other launches. John was the CNN network correspondent on site during the 1986 Challenger disaster. In 2011, he covered the final flights of the Space Shuttle program. He joined CNN in November 1981 as executive producer at CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, having previously worked for stations in South Florida, Baltimore and Atlanta. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from St. Thomas University, formerly Biscayne College, where he helped establish the college’s journalism program. John lives in Davie, Florida, with his wife, Robin. They have four children.
2012 Sid Champagne and Emily Perry
Champagne is a veteran videographer who has worked for WFTV Channel Nine, the ABC affiliate in Orlando, during the past 22 years. His experience covering the space program began with the Space Shuttle mission to deploy the Hubble Space Telescope in 1990, and continued through the end of the program in 2011. Sid’s expertise with the space program was considered instrumental to the station’s coverage of the 2003 Columbia tragedy and counts the 1998 return-to-space mission of retired U.S. Sen. John Glenn as a highlight of his career. He is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; earned a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from Louisiana State University in 1985; and worked for several stations in the state for five years before moving to Central Florida. Sid lives in Port St. John with his wife, Robin.
Perry is director of the Air Force Space & Missile Museum at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, a post she has held for 18 years. Her duties include overseeing the museum’s reference library, curating more than 400 historical artifacts, and supervising a volunteer organization that includes more than 100 docents. She is a native of Prairie Village, Kansas; earned a Bachelor’s degree in Social Science from New College of the University of South Florida in 1984; and spent 12 years working for several museums and history organizations in South and Central Florida. The Air Force has recognized Emily with five Heritage Project Awards and a Noble Patron of Space Award from the Association of Army Space Professionals. Emily resides on Merritt Island.
2011 Jim Banke and Cheryl Hurst
Hurst is the Director of Education and External Relations Directorate at Kennedy Space Center. In this position she provides guidance and direction to KSC’s strategic communications team, government relations representatives, public outreach programs, guest operations, protocol, and education programs. She leads professional communicators, project managers, and educators as they interface with the public, communicating NASA’s messages to internal and external audiences including senior management, business and community leaders, legislators, dignitaries, academic institutions, KSC guests and the general public. She also manages the KSC Visitor’s Complex concession agreement and has oversight of the KSC History program and Speakers Bureau.
Banke is owner and president of MILA Solutions, LLC, providing strategic communications, media products and project management services to the aerospace industry. He is an award-winning, veteran communicator with 25 years of experience as an aerospace journalist, writer, producer, consultant, analyst and project manager based at Cape Canaveral. His expertise and experience with the space program was recognized in 2006 by Gov. Jeb Bush, who appointed him to the Governor’s Commission on the Future of Aeronautics and Space in Florida, which led to the creation of Space Florida. Banke was honored by NASA in 2007 with a Distinguished Public Service Medal.
2010 John Glisch and Tracy Yates
Glisch is the editorial page editor of Florida Today, and as such is considered to be one of the Space Coast’s leading local voices in commenting on actions taken by policymakers at all levels. That has been especially true this past year as he has written extensively about changes to NASA and the space program as a result of decisions made by the White House and Congress. His career spans 35 years having spent 25 years as a reporter, editor and editorial writer covering every aspect of the space program from launch and mission operations at the Cape to the politics of budget and policy in Washington. He has twice been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. A native of Milwaukee, Wis., he earned a degree in journalism and political science from Marquette University in 1977. John lives in Cocoa Beach with his wife, Merry Lynn, and daughter, Allie.
Yates is the manager of communications and public relations for United Space Alliance at the Kennedy Space Center. She is the company’s spokesperson in Florida and is responsible for preparing public statements and communications on launch operations and workforce activities at KSC. Her contributions this past year to the Florida Space Day 2010 activities in Tallahassee and in working with media on stories related to the retirement of the Space Shuttle are particularly noteworthy. Before joining USA in 2004, she spent time as a journalist in Georgia and as a communications specialist in Pennsylvania state government. She assumed her present role at USA in July 2008. A native of Pittsburgh, she earned a degree in journalism from Penn State in 1981. Tracy lives in the Suntree area of Melbourne with her husband, Jim Lacey.
2009 Scott Harris and Jessica Rye
Rye currently serves as the Senior Manager of Regional Communications for ATK responsible for all aspects of communications in both Florida and Alabama. Prior to joining ATK she served as the Chief of External and Internal Communications for United Launch Alliance, the recently formed company that brought together The Boeing Company’s Delta Programs and Lockheed Martin’s Atlas Programs to provide expendable launch vehicles for U.S. government missions. Before joining ULA, Jessica served as NASA’s primary spokesperson and public affairs officer for the Space Shuttle Program at the Kennedy Space Center.
Harris is a political reporter with a solid news background who has worked in Central Florida during his entire career as a broadcast journalist and played a significant role in launching News 13. His news concentration includes covering government and politics here at home and across the state and country. His knowledge of the local area and people gives viewers a valuable perspective. When not covering the political arena, Scott is reporting from a different world at the Kennedy Space Center for NASA coverage. His knowledge and depth of NASA and the space shuttle program provide News 13 with exclusive information, essential background information and an endless amount of contacts.
2008 Leigh Holt and Justin Ray
Ray is editor of Spaceflight Now, an online website based at Cape Canaveral that has documented U.S. and international space news since 1999. Prior to that, Justin worked for two years as an aerospace reporter at the Florida Today newspaper. He began his career as an intern at Patrick Air Force Base’s public affairs office in 1996 and wrote for the Missileer base newspaper. The Ohio native has covered more than 100 Delta rocket launches, more than 65 Atlas flights, more than 50 space shuttle missions and the International Space Station program, plus scientific spacecraft such as the Mars rovers and Cassini. He attended college at the University of Central Florida and now resides in Viera.
Holt began her tenure with the County in 2001 and has coordinated several planning initiatives including Brevard Tomorrow, Together in Partnership, Commission on Aging, Commission on Mental Health, and the Persons with Disabilities Project. Leigh relocated to Brevard with her family in February, 1998 and worked at United Way where she led their first community planning effort. Leigh’s interest in political advocacy began after she and her husband, Ken, became foster parents and adopted Tina and Raul. Over the last ten years, she has worked to improve Florida’s child welfare system and currently serves on the board of Community Based Care of Brevard.
2007 Babs Angel and Joe Carrroll WCPX/WKMG TV
Angel, recently retired with more than 26 years as a civil servant, has served as a professional communicator on the Space Coast since 1994. Born in Meldorf/Holstein in Northern Germany, Angel and her family moved to Titusville in 1994, where she continued in the public affairs profession working as an Air Force contractor for the 45th Space Wing at Patrick AFB. She served in the capacity of Chief, Community Outreach for over 12 years and during that tenure also worked for one year in Cape Canaveral AFB Public Affairs. While serving at the Cape, Angel supported the media during launches.
Carroll has worked almost 40 years as a professional video journalist and for the past 22 years has been with WCPX/WKMG TV in Orlando, where he was awarded the “Best News Cameraman” for Central Florida. Carroll was the videographer for the WKMG Emmy Award series “Behind the Lines” on Kuwait, Iraq and Bahrain and he also covered the 1991 Soviet Coup. His first on-site lift-off was Apollo 11 serving as a member of Walter Cronkite’s crew and he has covered most of the U.S. manned launches since then. Married to Mary Ann, an independent video producer, the Carroll’s have four children Joe, Marisa, Jean Marie Schmidt and Nicole Keating.
2006 Red Huber and Debbie Land
Huber is a Senior Photographer for the Orlando Sentinel, with some 35 years of experience. He has covered space operations at Cape Canaveral for more than two decades, documenting more than 100 launches. His work has appeared in National Geographic, Time, nationally published books, newspapers and websites around the world.
Land is General Manager of the Astronaut Hall of Fame working for Delaware North. She joined the company in 1998 and worked in marketing, managing many major events that helped bring the excitement of spaceflight to the general public. Prior to joining Delaware North she was marketing manager for US Space Camp Florida and the Astronaut Hall of Fame.
2005 Craig Covault Aviation Week and STS-114 RTF Team KSC
Covault is space technology editor for Aviation Week & Space Technology and chief of the magazine’s Cape Canaveral bureau. He filed stories from 20 countries and wrote most extensively on space from Russia, China and Japan, as well as Europe. He was the publication’s Paris Bureau Chief from 1992 to 1996.
The STS-114 Return to Flight Team from KSC’s public affairs office received a special Kolcum award honoring their support of Discovery’s mission in 2004.
2004 George Diller NASA/PAO and Todd Halvorson Florida Today
Diller is a NASA Public Affairs media information specialist at the Kennedy Space Center. He began his career at KSC in January 1979 as a writer for McGregor & Werner, Inc., and has been with NASA since May 1984. He holds degrees in Communications and Business Administration from the University of South Florida in Tampa. Prior to working at KSC he worked 11 years in radio broadcasting at stations in Clearwater, Tampa and Orlando, and had among his responsibilities covering the Kennedy Space Center as a newsman. Diller is a native Floridian and has lived in Titusville since 1978.
Halvorson is senior aerospace reporter for Florida Today, the Gannett Co. Inc. newspaper that serves the area surrounding the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The veteran aerospace writer has covered NASA, DOD, commercial and international space programs since 1986. He also worked for two newspapers in Ohio from 1981 to 1986. Halvorson is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, where he earned a B.A. in English Literature, and Certificates of Writing in both Journalism and Fiction. He and his wife, Annis, live in Titusville. They have three children.
2003 Julie Andrews and William Harwood
Andrews is communications manager for the Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Andrews began her career with General Dynamics in 1980 as a technical writer/editor and then worked for Martin Marietta and Lockheed Martin. From 1995 to 2000 Andrews was director of Public Affairs for International Launch Services. She was assigned to the Cape in 2000. Andrews is a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minn., with a B.A. in English. She and her husband Patrick live in Merritt Island.
Harwood is senior space consultant for CBS News based at Cape Canaveral. He also covers space exploration and astronomy for The Washington Post and Astronomy Now magazine. Harwood covered STS-2 in 1981 as a student journalist. In 1982 he joined United Press International as a reporter based in Columbia, S.C. He was named UPI’s Cape Canaveral bureau chief in 1984 and then joined CBS in 1992. Harwood is a graduate of the University of Tennessee with a B.A. in Journalism. He lives in Merritt Island with his wife and two children.
2002 Pat Duggins, Lisa Malone and Lt. Col. Michael Rein
Duggins is news director of Orlando public radio station WMFE-FM and is considered National Public Radio’s resident “NASA expert.”
Malone is with NASA public affairs at KSC and among many other achievements is noted for being the first female “Voice of Shuttle Launch Control.”
Rein was recognized for his work as public affairs chief for the 45th Space Wing at Patrick AFB during the difficult times following Sept. 11, 2001.
2001 Dan Billow and Hugh Harris
Billow earned the media award as space reporter for NBC affiliate WESH-TV in Orlando.
Harris was recognized for his long career with NASA public affairs, which included providing commentary for many shuttle launches.
2000 Howard Benedict and Jack King
Benedict earned the first Kolcum media award for his long career as an aerospace writer for the Associated Press.
King won the first Kolcum communications honor for his work with NASA as the “Voice of Apollo.”