To operate three major facilities (VLA, VLBA, GBT) and, at the same time, undertake two major construction projects (ALMA and EVLA), the NRAO must have a strong and effective senior management team. Thus, it is a great pleasure to announce that after a careful and extensive search, Philip R. Jewell has accepted the position of NRAO Deputy Director. Phil assumed his Deputy Director duties effective June 20, 2005. As Deputy Director, Phil will oversee all of the Observatory’s operations in New Mexico, West Virginia, and Virginia.
Phil comes to the Deputy Director position in Charlottesville having served as Site Director at Green Bank since 1999 where he did an exceptional job leading the West Virginia staff responsible for the Green Bank Telescope (GBT) development, operations, and maintenance. Prior to his arrival in Green Bank, Phil served the Observatory in several capacities, including Deputy Site Director in Tucson. Phil’s management skills and intimate understanding of the Observatory’s capabilities and culture will serve him well as Deputy Director.
Phil succeeds Jim Condon, who served as Interim Deputy Director for the past nine months. I would like to thank Jim for the outstanding job that he has done for me and for the Observatory. The Observatory faced major challenges during these months, and Jim has seen us through this period with remarkable skill, dedication, and calm.
It is also my pleasure to announce that Richard Prestage has agreed to serve as Interim Site Director for Green Bank when Phil Jewell assumes the Deputy Director position. Richard has been Phil’s Deputy in Green Bank. He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge regarding the Green Bank staff and telescope to his new responsibilities. A search committee will be named in the near future to seek a permanent Green Bank Site Director.
George Clark has also recently joined the NRAO senior management team as Associate Director of Administration, arriving from the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii. At the NRAO, George is responsible for all the administration and business services of the Observatory, an important set of responsibilities.
Adrian Russell joined the NRAO as North American (NA) ALMA Project Manager in February 2005. His leadership has solidified the Observatory’s improved management of the NA ALMA Project. Adrian has recently taken on additional responsibilities as North American Project Director for ALMA at the NRAO. He will have oversight responsibility for both the NA ALMA Project Office and the NA ALMA Science Center (NAASC) during the construction period. A search for a permanent head of the NAASC will be conducted soon as Paul Vanden Bout has indicated his intent to step down from this position by the end of 2005.
The senior management team also includes Peter Napier, who continues as Project Manager for the EVLA construction. Miller Goss, Head of the Division of Scientific and Academic Affairs (DSAA), oversees the scientific and academic programs of the Observatory. David Hubbard, as Head of Program Management Office (PMO), is responsible for reviewing programmatic status and future planning across the entire Observatory. Perhaps most importantly, Jim Ulvestad and Richard Prestage are at the front-lines ensuring that the VLA/EVLA, VLBA, and GBT facilities are optimized for astronomical research for the international astronomical community.
The Observatory’s senior staff has been preparing intensively for the Senior Review of the National Science Foundation (NSF) - Astronomy Division portfolio. The goal of this Senior Review is to free up $30M of annual funding within the division by 2011 that will be distributed to the design and development of future projects such as the Giant Segmented Mirror Telescope (GSMT), the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), and ALMA operations. By July 31, 2005, NRAO, NOAO, NSO, NAIC, and Gemini have been directed to supply to the NSF the case, priority, and the defensible cost for their facilities, as well as the cost and timescale associated with potential closure of each of the component facilities. Guided by the Senior Review, the NSF will make decisions regarding the selective reduction of current facilities in order to start new initiatives. Community involvement is absolutely crucial, especially given the fast-track decision time-scale required by the NSF. It is important for everyone affected by these decisions to carefully consider whether the proposed changes are viable and lead to a vital and sustainable future, or whether the proposed pace and scope are too drastic.
The NRAO senior staff is actively seeking input from the astronomical community and has been critically examining every aspect of our current operations in West Virginia, Virginia, and New Mexico. The Observatory’s scientists, engineers, technicians, managers, and administrators have proposed and are actively considering a wide range of innovative options to enhance NRAO’s scientific productivity and cost effectiveness, including seeking funding from sources outside the National Science Foundation. Regardless of the proposals and decisions that emerge from this comprehensive internal review process and the NSF Senior Review, the NRAO will remain dedicated to and focused on its primary mission: providing world-class, front-line research facilities that enable truly transformational science for the astronomical community.
K. Y. Lo