Lori Garver, NASA Deputy Administrator, Resigning In September
Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
Lori Beth Garver, 52, a Michigan native who holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics, is stepping down from her role as Deputy Administrator at NASA (effective September 6, 2013) to pursue other interests.
On her Twitter feed, Garver tweeted this morning: “Thanks to the #NASA team and #spacetweeps everywhere for your support. Sad to go; excited for next challenge with @WeAreALPA!” @WeAreALPA refers to the Airline Pilots Association.
Nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the US Senate, Garver began her duties as Deputy Administrator on July 17, 2009. As Deputy Administrator, Garver was second in command and worked closely with top dog at NASA, Charles Bolden.
While her position has been short-lived (just over four years), it was not the first time Garver had held a position at NASA. During her first stint at the US space agency beginning in 1996, Garver worked as a special assistant to the NASA Administrator and senior policy analyst for the Office of Policy and Plans. She then took over the lead role at that position until her first departure in 2001.
After her return to NASA in 2009, Garver held numerous senior positions in space policy. She was a member of the NASA Advisory Council, a guest lecturer at the International Space University, president of Women in Aerospace and president of the American Astronautical Society.
In a statement made to a number of sources, Garver officially expressed her decision to resign as NASA Deputy Administrator:
“After quite an extensive decision process, I have decided to make a career change. I will be resigning from my position as NASA Deputy Administrator, effective September 6 and have accepted a new position in the private sector outside the space industry. NASA will be sending out a formal announcement tomorrow with all the details. It has been great working with you all these years and I’m sure that our paths will continue to cross. As you know, I’ve been a long-time aerospace community member, but I am also excited to take on this new challenge. This change comes at the same time David and I are starting a new chapter personally, with our youngest headed off to college in a few weeks – so big changes ahead. There will definitely be time for a ‘proper’ goodbye sometime over the next month. Until then, thank you for always being there for me and for a better future through space development.”
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden had this to say about Garver’s resignation as Deputy Administrator:
“I have had the pleasure and honor of working side by side with Lori for the past four years, as we sought to position the agency for 21st century spaceflight, scientific discovery and deep space exploration. She has been an indispensable partner in our efforts to keep NASA on a trajectory of progress and innovation. In a time of great change and challenge, she has been a remarkable leader who has consistently shown great vision and commitment to NASA and the aerospace industry.”
“Lori has led the way on so many of the Obama Administration’s space priorities, including our commercial crew and cargo program, the re-establishment of a space technology mission directorate, our use of challenges and prizes, and our unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion. As one of only a few top women leaders in the aerospace industry, she has been an extraordinary role model for young girls, inspiring them to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and pursue their dreams in space and here on Earth,” added Bolden. “Lori will always be a great friend to me and to our agency.”
With the announcement that Garver will be resigning from the Deputy Administrator position, there has been some speculation that the White House may not fill the position. According to an unnamed source reporting to Lee Roop of al.com, the Obama administration may opt to let Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot, former head of Huntsville’s Marshall Space Flight Center, serve in an acting capacity.
John Holdren, Director of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, had this to say:
“Lori Garver has worked tirelessly in support of this administration”s aerospace priorities, from human space exploration and technology development to Earth science and aeronautics research. She ensured that U.S. taxpayers were getting the most for their money from NASA with innovative public-private partnerships in space and on Earth, and her focus on getting more women and other underrepresented groups engaged in science, technology, engineering, and math was just as important.”
“On behalf of President Obama, as well as myself, I want to thank Lori for her leadership, dedication, and work on behalf of the American people, and wish her all the best in future endeavors,” said Holdren.