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Bruce Buckingham
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
321-867-2468

08.21.06
 
RELEASE : 52-06
 
 
Simpkins Named Director of New KSC Engineering Group
 
 
NASA Kennedy Space Center Director Jim Kennedy announced today that Patrick Simpkins has been appointed the director of the center's new Engineering Directorate. He replaces Steve Altemus, originally selected for the position, who recently accepted another position at Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The new 600-person Engineering Directorate at KSC will centralize the center's engineering activities, processes and personnel into one organization that will have an independent reporting line of authority. It will ensure the highest quality of engineering rigor at the center. The directorate will officially begin operation in October.

Simpkins will assume the responsibilities of the director's position immediately to ensure that all issues associated with the reorganization are addressed and to help with the successful transition from concept to operations. Bill Parsons, the KSC deputy director, will assume the responsibilities of acting director of the Advanced Planning Office, Simpkins' most recent position.

Over the course of his career at KSC, Simpkins has worked as an engineer, performing systems engineering integration for human space flight programs and payloads for more than 15 years. He was also KSC's Human Resources director for 2 1/2 years, during which time he received a doctorate in business administration from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He holds a bachelor's degree in environmental engineering from the University of Florida and a master's degree in human resource management from the Florida Institute of Technology, as well.

Simpkins has played key roles in the strategic decision-making process at KSC, most recently as chairman of the Organizational Development Team for the Engineering Directorate. In this capacity, he guided the development of this reorganization, one of the most significant changes made to the center's structure since the transition from the Apollo to the Space Shuttle Program.

"Pat's unique balance of technical and staff experience will be instrumental in helping with the change necessary to make this new directorate a success," remarked Kennedy. "I am confident that he will continue to be successful, and will be instrumental in guiding this new organization in coordination with all other stakeholders as we pursue the Vision for Space Exploration."

Scott Kerr will serve as the deputy director of the Engineering Directorate. Kerr also had an instrumental role on the Organizational Development Team and has managed several large technical organizations at KSC.

"Kerr and Simpkins will be a dynamic team, ably navigating the center through the challenges that lie ahead," asserted Kennedy.

Other reassignments at KSC include the selection of Oscar Toledo as the director of the Design and Development Engineering Office in the new Engineering Directorate and Shannon Bartell as the director of Safety and Mission Assurance. Bartell replaces Denny Kross, who is retiring, and she will assume her new post on Oct. 1.
 

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