Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Parsons Assumes Role as NASA's Kennedy Space Center Director

RELEASE: 07-01Parsons Assumes Role as NASA's Kennedy Space Center Director

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida getsnew leadership today as William W. Parsons assumes the role as thefacility's ninth director, succeeding James W. Kennedy, who isretiring from the agency."I've known and worked with Jim Kennedy for well over a decade, and Ibelieve that no better appointment to the role of Kennedy SpaceCenter director could have been made in the aftermath of the Columbiatragedy," said NASA Administrator Michael Griffin at Headquarters inWashington."But as Jim retires, I think it is also true that we have in theagency no better person to succeed him than Bill Parsons.

Since myreturn to NASA, Bill has become a valued friend as well as a keycolleague. His integrity and dedication to the job are obvious to allwho know him, and his prior experience provides an unmatchedbackground for his new role. He has been both a program manager and acenter director, and has the broadest possible knowledge of the NASAhuman spaceflight community. He's the right person to take KennedySpace Center through the end of the shuttle era and into the era oflunar exploration."In September, Griffin named Parsons as Kennedy's successor. He hasserved as the center's deputy director since February."It is a tremendous privilege to follow in the footsteps ofextraordinary people who have held the position of director of theKennedy Space Center," said Parsons. "Jim's strong technicalleadership and heartfelt love of the space program have served thecenter well, and he will be truly missed as he begins this newchapter in his life."After the Columbia tragedy, Parsons led the Return to Flightactivities for the agency as Space Shuttle Program manager and played a major role in the success of the Discovery STS-114 mission in 2005.

Parsons previously served as director of NASA's Stennis Space Centerin Mississippi. He was first assigned to Stennis in 1997 as the chiefof operations of the Propulsion Test Directorate. Parsons moved toNASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston to become the director of theCenter Operations Directorate and later served as that center'sdeputy director. He returned to Stennis in 2001 where he was directorof the Center Operations and Support Directorate and was named centerdirector in August 2002.In 1990, Parsons joined the NASA team at Kennedy Space Center as a launch site support manager in the Shuttle Operations Directorate. Healso worked as an executive management intern and later as theshuttle flow director of the Shuttle Operations Directorate atKennedy. In 1996, he became manager of the Space Station Hardware Integration Office at Kennedy."The thousands of people who make up the team at Kennedy are the mosttalented and dedicated group of professionals I have had the honor towork with," said Parsons. "I look forward to the future and being apart of completing the International Space Station and launching thevehicles that will take us back to the moon."Parsons has received numerous honors, including the Presidential RankAward (Meritorious Executive); NASA's Exceptional Service Medal andDistinguished Service Medal; and the Silver Snoopy, awarded byastronauts for outstanding performance in flight safety and missionsuccess.Parsons holds a bachelor's degree in engineering from the Universityof Mississippi, Oxford, and a master's degree in engineeringmanagement from the University of Central Florida, Orlando. Heresides on Merritt Island, Fla., with his wife and two children.For information about NASA's Kennedy Space Center, visit:http://www.nasa.gov/kennedy

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