Press Release

NASA Administrator Names Neal M. to be Special Assistant to the Administrator and acting Chief of Strategic Communications

By SpaceRef Editor
July 1, 2004
Filed under ,

NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe today named Dr. Neal M.
Burns to be Special Assistant to the Administrator and acting
Chief of Strategic Communications, effective immediately.
Burns is Director of the Center for Brand Research at the
University of Texas at Austin.

Burns’ chief responsibility will be to develop agency-wide
communications strategies, by assessing NASA capabilities and
resources and refocusing them throughout the agency, to
better communicate the Vision for Space Exploration for both
internal and external audiences.

“I am excited about the addition of Neal to our team and look
forward to the perspectives and insight his background
brings,” said Administrator O’Keefe. “His long-standing
involvement with NASA and the combination of theory and
practice he represents gives us a jump-start on delivering
our communications more effectively.”

Burns’ relationship with NASA dates back to 1959, when he
directed studies on aviation safety and survival and tested
cockpit designs and astronaut mobility for the Mercury and
Apollo astronauts. Throughout the agency’s history, he has
provided valuable assistance and counsel on a variety of
systems and research projects.

Burns also has spent nearly four decades in senior leadership
and management positions in the field of corporate
communications. At the University of Texas, home to one of
the top communications and advertising programs in the
nation, he directed the development of the Account Planning
Specialty in the Graduate School and serves as a professor of
advanced courses at the undergraduate level.

From 1986 to 1997, he was Senior Partner, Director of
Research and Account Planning, Carmichael Lynch, Inc.,
Minneapolis, which provided communications and advertising
services to such well-known companies as Harley Davidson,
Northwest Airlines and Porsche.

He founded and managed The Burns Group, Inc. from 1974 to
1986 in Minneapolis. The company focused on marketing and
advertising needs in the high technology marketplace and was
known for its strong creative and well-articulated research
and marketing plans. In July 1986, Carmichael Lynch acquired
the company.

Burns has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Physiology
from the University of Illinois and a master’s degree and a
doctorate from McGill University.

The day-to-day communications activities of the agency will
be conducted by the assistant administrators for Public
Affairs, Legislative Affairs and External Relations. Burns
will coordinate the strategy of these day-to-day activities
in his new role in accord with the transformation agenda
outlined last week.

For more information about NASA, visit the Internet at:

SpaceRef staff editor.