Mike Simmons was a telescope operator at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles in the mid 1970’s. He went on to become President of the Los Angeles Astronomical Society (LAAS), founding President of the Mt. Wilson Observatory Association (MWOA), and founding President of Astronomers Without Borders (AWB). He received the Clifford W. Holmes Award, for his many outreach and public education efforts, at the Riverside Telescope Makers Conference in 2005, and is the namesake for Minor Planet 22294 “Simmons”, so named in 2003. He has also been an instructor in the Consortium for Undergraduate Research and Education in Astronomy (CUREA) program at Mt. Wilson Observatory.
Mike Simmons traveled to Iran in 1999 to view the total solar eclipse. He returned to Iran several times to build international cooperation with the amateur astronomy community in Iran, and in 2004 went to Iran to join Iranian amateur astronomers observing the transit of Venus. In 2006 He journeyed to the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq with donated observing equipment for that isolated community of amateur astronomers. These efforts have blossomed into Astronomers Without Borders, a fully international effort at building peaceful social contacts through amateur astronomy.