Press Release

NASA Names Two Deputy Associate Administrators for New Science Mission Directorate

By SpaceRef Editor
July 7, 2004
Filed under , ,

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

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

SpaceRef staff editor.