Jody Singer was named director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center Sept. 13, 2018. (NASA photo)
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, whose first director was Dr. Wernher von Braun, today celebrated its first woman leader as NASA named Joan "Jody" Singer director of the big Alabama center.
"Jody's deep management experience over three decades at the project, program and center levels will be a huge asset to Marshall's critical work supporting NASA's goals of returning to the Moon to stay," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in making the appointment.
'She is really an impressive leader,' Bridenstine said in an interview. "I got to see her interact with her staff when I went down there to visit the Marshall Space Flight Center recently, and in that interaction I could just see how much her staff respects her and likes her and what a great team she had down there."
"When I was there we did a lot of community oureach things, reaching out to our industry partners, our academia partners, the local Chamber of Commerce," Bridenstine said, "and it was clear everywhere I went that Jody had great relationships with the community."
"It is amazing," Singer said when asked how it feels to sit in von Braun's chair. "It is a great privilege. But it all goes back to the folks and great team we have not only at Marshall, but at NASA that makes the difference. That's what gives me a lot of confidence as we push forward to break the boundaries of human spaceflight. This team will continue to be a part of it."
Alabama's congressional delegation was quick to praise the selection. U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby called her "an excellent choice" in a statement, and Congressmen Mo Brooks and Robert Aderholt issued statements praising the selection and Singer's experience and knowledge.
"Her deep understanding of the Space Launch System and other critical NASA projects, along with her dedication to MSFC and the entire agency, make her the ideal candidate for this position," Shelby said.
Marshall has nearly 6,000 civil service and contractor employees and an annual budget of about $2.8 billion. It is best known as NASA's propulsion center, where rockets are designed and tested for travel in space. It is leading development of NASA's Space Launch System rocket. But Marshall is also involved in a wide range of NASA programs including human space flight, science and technology.
Singer is a native of Hartselle, Ala., and holds a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. She joined NASA in 1985 as an engineer in the professional intern program.
Singer held a variety of engineering and management positions in the space shuttle program during her early NASA career. She was an engineer in the Space Shuttle Main Engine Project Office and and deputy manager in the External Tank Project Office.
In 2002, after being appointed to the Senior Executive Service - the special personnel system for top managers in federal agencies - she was named deputy manager of the Shuttle Projects Office. She managed the Reusable Solid Rocket Booster Project Office, and she was responsible for safety during the ground test program that led the agency back to flight after the Columbia accident.
She has been deputy program manager of the Space Launch System Program and deputy manager of the Space Shuttle Propulsion Office. She led the Flight Program and Partnerships Office at Marshall and was appointed deputy director of Marshall in 2016. She has been serving as acting center director since the retirement of Todd May as center director in July.
Singer and her husband, Christopher Singer, live in Huntsville. They have three children.
Quelle: Huntsville Times