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April 25, 2002

Ann Hutchison

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

Phone: 650/604-3039 or 650/604-9000

Release: 02-49AR


On May 3, William E. Berry, deputy director of NASA Ames Research Center, will retire after more than 35 years of government service.

During his NASA career, Berry has directed many significant programs and developments at NASA Ames, including the creation of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, an innovative ‘institute without walls.’ He also was the driving force behind the establishment of NASA Research Park, a first-of-its-kind research and development center that brings together the best of government research, academia and private industry.

"Bill Berry has been an outstanding, dedicated leader," said Ames Director Dr. Henry McDonald. "He has been an exceptional individual and a dedicated civil servant. With enthusiasm and visionary leadership, he has lead NASA Ames’ transformation from an aeronautical research center to a world leader in information technology, nanotechnology and biotechnology."

"With Bill Berry's retirement, NASA says ‘well-done’ to one of its outstanding managers," said Samuel Venneri, Associate Administrator, NASA's Office of Aerospace Technology.  "Bill's commitment to proactively develop and lead new approaches for program and institutional transformations was a major factor in posturing Ames Research Center for the 21st century."

As Ames’ deputy director since 1997, Berry has had operational responsibility for implementation of Ames’ aeronautics, space and information systems research, technology development and project activities. Under Berry’s leadership, Ames is transforming former Navy facilities and land at Moffett Field into NASA Research Park, a federally owned research-and-development complex under a joint economic development plan with other federal agencies, community leaders, major universities and the private and non-profit sectors.

Berry has been a major leader of new NASA science and research enterprises in collaboration with the educational and private industry communities. He oversaw the establishment of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, a partnership between NASA and several academic and research organizations to promote, conduct and lead integrated, multidisciplinary, astrobiology research and to train young researchers. Astrobiology is the study of the origin, distribution and future of life in the universe.

Berry also made important contributions to Ames in a variety of areas, including the biosatellite, Mars Viking and Pioneer Venus projects. He led the center's development of its on-going, successful life sciences flight experiments on the space shuttle, Russian space station Mir and the International Space Station.

Berry has led fundamental changes in NASA Ames’ research approach and has an exceptional record of effective project and program management. He streamlined management of joint programs such as the NASA-Federal Aviation Administration demonstration program for the application of NASA’s software technology to the nation’s air traffic control system.

With Berry’s encouragement and guidance, NASA Ames has built and maintained a diverse, well-trained, highly motivated workforce. Ames has been a pioneer in the use of diversity dialogue groups to improve cooperation and communication among the many ethnic and cultural groups at the center. His latest initiative commits NASA Ames to aid the National Hispanic University in San Jose, Calif., in receiving full academic accreditation and to encourage community outreach efforts by the technical staff with faculty and students.

Berry has emphasized the transfer of the technology developed at Ames to the American public and he is deeply committed to encouraging the application of new NASA technologies to everyday uses. Berry oversees the Ames Technology Commercialization Center, a small-business incubator, located in San Jose, Calif., providing opportunities for start-up companies utilizing NASA technologies to grow and become robust high-technology businesses.

Berry began his federal career as a co-op student at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston in 1964. He joined NASA Ames in 1966 after graduating from Drexel University, Philadelphia, with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Since then, he has served in many key technical and management roles, including chief of the Advanced Life Support Division and chief of the Life Science Flight Project Office. As director of the Space Research Directorate, he led major project activities in infrared astronomy, life sciences and reusable launch vehicles with a combined budget approaching one billion dollars, as well as world-class research programs in space, Earth and life sciences. He also served at NASA Headquarters in 1993-94 as the deputy director of the Life and Biomedical Sciences and Applications Division.

In 2001, President George W. Bush named Berry to the rank of Distinguished Executive in recognition of his efforts to makes Ames more effective and to create a new vision for its future. He also was recognized with a NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal in 1998 and a Meritorious Rank in 1996.



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