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NASA’s Glenn Research Center Director to retire after 40 year career

NASA announced Monday Dr. Marla Pérez-Davis, director of NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, plans to retire in June after nearly four decades of service at the agency.

A photo of Dr. Marla Pérez-Davis, director of NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland

“Marla’s four decades of service to NASA have made a remarkable impact on critical agency goals and missions in aeronautics, human exploration and, of course, on Glenn Research Center. Her trailblazing legacy is the members of the Artemis Generation she has inspired to believe they, too, can work for, and lead, at NASA. I wish her well in her future endeavors,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

Pérez-Davis’ career with the agency will conclude where it began: at Glenn. Over her 38-year career at Glenn, Pérez-Davis held several positions, including deputy center director from 2016 to 2020, and deputy director of the Research and Engineering Directorate from 2014 to 2016. In this role, she was responsible for leading, planning, and coordinating all phases of Glenn’s research and engineering activities to accomplish NASA missions.

Earlier in her career, Pérez-Davis’ leadership as the chief of the Electrochemistry Branch resulted in new energy storage and power capabilities critical to advancing aeronautics and spaceflight, as well as the formation of new partnerships to support NASA missions. She also is the recipient of numerous accolades, including the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Executives, and 2021 Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Corporation Engineer of the Year.

Her tenure as Glenn’s director began in January 2020, just two months before the country experienced its first pandemic in 100 years. She has effectively and compassionately guided the center workforce through the global COVID-19 pandemic, engaging regularly and frequently with them to ensure the mission continued safely. Major milestones and activities completed at Glenn during this time include the construction of the new Research Support Building, testing on the Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I Moon mission, and testing for the X-59 QueSST quiet supersonic aircraft.

While Pérez-Davis’ retirement does not take effect until June 17, Nelson and team have already begun the process to identify an acting director. The agency also will soon start the formal process to identify a successor and will announce a selection later.

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