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NASA'S Marshall Center Director David King Receives Presidential Rank Award -- Nation's Highest Honor for Federal Service
Kim Newton
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
(Phone: 256.544.0034)

News release: 05-133

David King David A. King, director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., has been awarded the Presidential Rank Award for Distinguished Executives -- the highest honor attainable for government work.

The Presidential Rank Award is given annually to a select group of senior federal executives for outstanding leadership and service in some of the most critical positions in federal government. Executives who have consistently demonstrated strength, integrity and commitment to public service in their careers are nominated for the award by members of their agency. Review boards, made up of private citizens, refer a select few to the President for approval.

King is one of only four NASA employees nationwide to be honored. He is one of only 55 members of the Senior Executive Service, a corps of highly qualified executives who fill top positions in the federal government, to be selected for the Distinguished Executive award by the President. That rank is awarded to just 1 percent of the more than 7,800 career members of the Senior Executive Service.

"I am honored to receive the Presidential Rank Award, one I share with the entire Marshall team," King said. "This award recognizes all the work accomplished here at the Marshall Center and our commitment to excellence in furthering NASA's mission and the Vision for Space Exploration." The Vision for Space Exploration calls for the safe return of the Space Shuttle to flight to complete the International Space Station, and human and robotic exploration of the Solar System.

In 2001, King received the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Executives, recognizing high-performing senior career employees for long-term accomplishments.

As director of the Marshall Center, King heads one of NASA's largest field installations, with more than 6,200 civil service and contractor employees and an annual budget of approximately $2 billion. Named to the position in 2003, he manages a broad range of propulsion, scientific and space transportation activities contributing to the nation's space program.

Prior to his appointment as director, King served as deputy director of the Marshall Center from 2002 until 2003. In that capacity, he played a key role in NASA's Space Shuttle Columbia recovery operations based in Lufkin, Texas, in 2003. He served as the senior on-site NASA official, directing efforts to search for clues and recover debris from the Feb. 1, 2003, accident.

King joined NASA in 1983 as a main propulsion system engineer at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. He held numerous managerial and leadership positions at Kennedy, including deputy director of Shuttle Processing in 1996; Shuttle launch director in 1997; and director of Shuttle Processing in 1999. King again assumed the responsibilities of Shuttle launch director in 1999, overseeing six Space Shuttle launches, including missions to the Russian space station Mir, the International Space Station, and a repair mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. In 2000, he was named director of Space Shuttle processing, managing and coordinating all Shuttle processes and launch operations at the Kennedy Center and overseeing the work of approximately 5,400 civil service and contractor employees.

King, a native of Sumter, S. C., earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of South Carolina in Columbia in 1983 and a master’s degree in business administration from the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne in 1991.

In 2000 and 2004, King was recognized with the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal for notable outstanding leadership affecting technical or administrative Agency programs. He received, in 1996, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, an award granted for significant sustained performance and characterized by unusual initiative or creative ability.

King and his wife, the former Lisa Bashaw of Columbus, Ohio, have two daughters and reside in Madison.

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