NASA Names Two Deputy Associate Administrators for New Science Mission Directorate

Press Release From: NASA HQ
Posted: Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Alphonso V. Diaz, who will assume leadership of NASA's new Science Mission Directorate as its Associate Administrator on Aug. 1, today named Orlando Figueroa Deputy Associate Administrator for Programs and Alison L. McNally Deputy Associate Administrator for Management in the directorate, effective Aug. 1.

As the Deputy Associate Administrator for Programs, Figueroa will be responsible for ensuring that flight programs and projects are organized and conducted consistently with directorate and agency policies; sound management and engineering practices are followed to ensure safety and success; and commitments are met. He also will chair the directorate's program management council, where he will oversee in-depth assessment and evaluation of programs and projects at critical milestones, to approve their programmatic, management and technical readiness to proceed into formulation and/or implementation phases.

"I'm very pleased Orlando has agreed to take on this new challenge as NASA continues its transformation," Diaz said. "His long and varied experience in the agency's science activities over more than 20 years will serve him well as the agency moves toward its new structure to implement the Vision for Space Exploration."

Figueroa is the Director, Solar System Exploration, and Acting Director, Mars Exploration, in the Office of Space Science. He was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In 1978 he received a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus, and later completed advanced courses in mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland. He has been a member of the federal Senior Executive Service since 1997.

Figueroa's past experience includes the position of NASA Deputy Chief Engineer for Systems Engineering. He also spent 22 years at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. While at Goddard, Figueroa served as Head, Cryogenics Technology Section; lead cryogenic engineer for the Cryogenic Optical Assembly of the Cosmic Background Explorer; manager for the Superfluid Helium On Orbit Transfer (SHOOT) Shuttle Experiment; manager for the Small Explorers (SMEX) project; manager for the Explorers Program; and Director, Systems Technology and Advanced Concepts Directorate.

Figueroa has received numerous awards for group achievement, outstanding performance and exceptional service, including the Presidential Rank Award for Outstanding Performance as a Senior Executive in 2001. He was awarded the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal in March 1993 for SMEX management; the Community Stars Award in 1994 from the Maryland Science Week Commission for his support of innovative education programs; the Pioneer Award in 2002 from the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Corporation for his contribution to the advancement of science and technology and youth education. Also in 2002, Hispanic Business magazine selected him as one of the nation's most influential Hispanics. He is the author of several technical publications in the field of cryogenics and on the SMEX missions and the Mars exploration program.

As the Deputy Associate Administrator for Management, McNally will be responsible for general management of the Science Mission Directorate, including all resource, functional and administrative activities. McNally will ensure strategic business processes are in place to effectively plan and implement the mission of the directorate. McNally also will chair the directorate's general management council, and serve as the directorate's representative to the Chief Operating Officers Council.

"I'm very glad to have Alison take on this challenging and critical role as the agency goes through transformation. Alison's expertise in business management will be vital as we implement the Vision for Space Exploration," Diaz said.

McNally currently is the Associate Director of the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. She began her federal career at Goddard in 1981 as a Presidential Management Intern, and assumed increasing levels of responsibility in the center's resource management community. In 1988 she transferred to NASA Headquarters and held numerous resource and institutional management positions, including Assistant Director for Institutional Resources and Policy Analysis in the Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology.

While at Headquarters McNally served as the Executive Officer to the NASA Administrator and Associate Deputy Administrator, supporting all aspects of their activities including participation in meetings with Congressional members, international delegations and the National Space Council. She was the focal point and liaison for the NASA Associate Administrators and Center Directors in communicating their expectations and concerns in accomplishing the agency mission. Upon her return to Goddard in 1998, McNally served first as Deputy Director, and then Director, Management Operations Directorate, before being named to her current position.

McNally earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development from the University of Connecticut in 1979, and a Master of Science degree in Social Work from Columbia University, New York, in 1981. She also has completed the Simmons College Graduate School of Management Middle Management Program, and the Harvard University John F.Kennedy School of Government Program for Senior Managers in Government.

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