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Dr. Donald Mendoza

NESC Chief Engineer at ARC

Dr. Donald Mendoza is the NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC) Chief Engineer at the Ames Research Center (ARC). He began his career at the United States Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB, where he helped develop the F-15 and F-22 air superiority fighters. He returned to graduate school and joined the National Research Council in Washington, DC, to develop a new suite of tools based on photoluminescence to measure aerodynamic surface pressures and temperatures for ARC.

Upon returning to civil service, he joined the ARC Systems Safety and Quality Assurance (SS&QA) organization, where he performed safety analyses of various flight and ground systems. Dr. Mendoza spent the next portion of his NASA career helping ARC construct its project management and systems engineering capabilities while in the Systems Management and Chief Engineer’s Offices, respectively. As the ARC Quality Management System Manager, he led the Center’s effort to become AS9100 compliant.

As the Chief of ARC’s System Safety and Mission Assurance (SS&MA) Division, he developed numerous risk-based processes that allowed ARC to provide cost-effective SS&MA support to its diverse portfolio of projects. He also led the restoration of critical programs, including GIDEP, Met/Cal, and ESD, ensuring they were compliant with AS9100, and launched the ARC Procurement Quality and Supplier Assurance Office.

As the NASA Deputy Technical Fellow for Quality Engineering, he helped revise the Agency’s Hardware Quality Assurance Program Requirements for Programs and Projects (NPR 8735.2) and develop a strategic roadmap for quality assurance process improvements.

In addition, during his ARC tenure, he served as the Executive Assistant to the Center Director, Chief Knowledge Officer, NASA Engineering Standards Program Representative, Risk Management Officer, and Mishap Investigation Chair. He has authored or co-authored dozens of ARC and Agency governing and technical documents, including those for risk management, systems engineering, spacecraft design and environmental testing, quality engineering, and over 400 lessons learned. Dr. Mendoza completed his undergraduate and doctoral work at California Polytechnic State University and the University of California, Berkeley, respectively.