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William Bierbower Appointed to Senior Executive Service, Named Chief Counsel at NASA's Marshall Center
Angela Storey
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.

News Release: 06-145

William Bierbower HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – William Bierbower has been appointed to the federal Senior Executive Service as chief counsel in the Office of the Chief Counsel at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

The Senior Executive Service is the personnel system covering top managerial positions in approximately 75 federal agencies.

Bierbower leads the office responsible for addressing legal and regulatory issues affecting the Marshall Center and its organizations. He was named to the position in September 2006.

Bierbower had served as directorate lead counsel for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington since 2005. He was legal advisor to NASA Associate Administrator Scott Horowitz regarding the agency's major exploration initiatives. These included the Ares I and Ares V vehicles programs and the Lunar Precursor Robotic Program – each managed at the Marshall Center – and the Orion crew exploration vehicle. Ares I is the crew launch vehicle that will carry NASA's Orion capsule with its crew of up to six astronauts into space. Ares V is the cargo launch vehicle that will carry heavy cargo and large hardware to space for lunar missions.

From 2003 to 2005, Bierbower was directorate lead counsel for NASA's Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters.

In 1999, Bierbower became senior commercial attorney in the NASA General Counsel's Office, advising program offices on commercial and intergovernmental use of NASA facilities. He advised programs on commercializing NASA assets such as the agency's wind tunnels, media archives, including historic film and photographs, and the U.S. allocation of the International Space Station. These initiatives involved collaborative use of NASA, industry and academia capabilities to develop and test technologies and capabilities of mutual interest, and sharing of data and inventions resulting from the collaborations.

In 1994, Bierbower joined the private sector to become executive trustee of the Stewart Trust, a public charitable foundation supporting research and treatment of cancer and pediatric illnesses. The foundation, based in Washington, has programs that include initiating collaborative research programs for innovative therapies with oncology research departments at major U.S. universities, as well as funding non-profit entities providing care of indigent patients.

Bierbower joined NASA in 1987 as a procurement and general law attorney at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. In 1991, he moved to NASA Headquarters as senior attorney in the General Counsel's Commercial and International Law Division. He specialized in research and development agreements with industry, academia and government agencies.

From 1981 to 1987, he was a partner in the Washington Law Offices of Bierbower & Bierbower specializing in corporate law and litigation.

Bierbower earned a bachelor's degree in political science in 1976 from Duke University in Durham, N.C. In 1981, he earned a Juris Doctorate degree from Georgetown University in Washington.

Bierbower's awards for NASA service include the General Counsel's Leadership Award in 2006, the Exceptional Performance Award in 2005 and the NASA Exceptional Service medal in 2002 -- recognizing significant, sustained performance characterized by unusual initiative or creativity. In 2006, he was honored with a Space Flight Awareness Award for dedication to quality work and flight safety.

Bierbower has served as chairman of the Research and Development Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section on Government Contract Law. He has written articles in the field of industry-government research and development agreements. He is a cofounder and former board member of the Goddard Alliance, a non-profit organization supporting the mission of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

A native of Bethesda, Md., Bierbower and his wife, the former Winifred Hamilton of Washington, live in Huntsville and have three sons.

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