NOAA 2006-087
Contact: John Leslie
NOAA News Releases 2006
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Mary Ellen Kicza, an award-winning aerospace engineer and federal satellite program manager, has been named to the top position at NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service. Kicza, who has served as deputy assistant administrator since October 2005, takes over as assistant administrator – successor to Gregory W. Withee who served in that capacity since 1999.

As assistant administrator, Kicza will lead NOAA’s satellite acquisition and operations programs and the agency’s climate, oceanographic and geophysical data access, archive and dissemination activities.

“Mary’s satellite expertise and proven leadership will be invaluable to NOAA and the public we serve,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.

Before coming to NOAA, Kicza was the associate deputy administrator for systems integration at NASA. As a senior NASA official, she was responsible for ensuring critical support elements were in place to execute NASA’s missions. Her accomplishments at NASA earned her two Meritorious Service Awards, NASA’s Distinguished Service, Scientific Achievement, and Outstanding Leadership Medals.

Kicza began her career as an engineer at McClellan Air Force Base in California, developing and testing software for the U.S. Air Force satellite communications systems. In 1982, she joined NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where she was a lead engineer for data systems supporting the Atlas Centaur and Shuttle Centaur launch vehicles. While at NASA, she also served as deputy director for the Solar System Exploration Division, assistant associate administrator for Space Science, associate center director for the Goddard Space Flight Center and associate administrator for Biological and Physical Research.

Kicza received her bachelor’s degree in electrical and electronics engineering from California State University, and a master’s degree in business administration from the Florida Institute of Technology.

“I’m excited to have this opportunity to continue working with such a dedicated team, focused on supporting NOAA’s mission of bringing scientific excellence to the nation through provision of satellite observations and other global environmental data and information services,” said Kicza.

In 2007 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, celebrates 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

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