Alumnus Jonathan Pettus now MSFC associate director

Jonathan Pettus

Jonathan Pettus is the associate director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.

Michael Mercier | UAH

University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) alumnus Jonathan Pettus (MS ’95, Computer Science) was named associate director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville in December 2016, where he manages and leads development of the center's business operations, guides daily business decisions and oversees center operational policy and processes.

In addition, Pettus serves as a senior adviser in advancing the direction of the center's future.

In his new position, Pettus provides executive leadership to the center's senior management for NASA space transportation, propulsion, space systems and scientific research programs and projects. Marshall employs 6,000 on- and near-site civil service and contract employees.

“It is an honor and a privilege to serve as the associate director for an organization that has been and is so important to our community, our state, and our nation,” Pettus said of his recent appointment. “We have a rich history at Marshall and with the development of our new Space Launch System rocket, it’s a very exciting time for our team here.”

Before becoming the associate director of MSFC, Pettus held a variety of senior leadership positions in information technology at NASA, including serving as the NASA chief information officer at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., from 2006 until 2009.

In 2009, Pettus returned to Huntsville and Marshall Space Flight Center as the director of Marshall's Office of the Chief Information Officer (CIO), a position he first assumed in 2005.

“It was a great honor to serve as the senior official responsible for information technology at NASA,” he says. “But I enjoy being closer to the action and I love being part of the incredible work being done at MSFC.”

As CIO director, Pettus led delivery and operations of information technology solutions to enable Marshall’s programs and mission, including the center's computing infrastructure, communications networks and software systems. He supervised 140 civil service and more than 1,000 contractor personnel and managed an annual information technology budget of more than $300 million.

While at NASA Headquarters in Washington, he managed an integrated portfolio of information technology infrastructure and applications that supported NASA's human spaceflight, scientific and aeronautical programs, and he led development of a new information technology strategy.

Pettus joined Marshall in 1991 as a computer engineer, designing critical elements of desktop computing environments used center-wide and leading development of Marshall's first Internet website. His career experience includes leading teams that have facilitated online technologies for companies conducting business with NASA, implementing the agency’s computerized business management and budgeting systems and integrating all of NASA’s program applications.

As director of the NASA Integrated Enterprise Management Program Competency Center from 2002 to 2005, he led more than 300 business and information technology professionals tasked with the integration, development and operation of NASA’s enterprise-level business applications, providing application support services to more than 15,000 agency users.

“UAH and MSFC share a symbiotic history,” Pettus says. “When I read about Dr. von Braun’s vision for UAH as an institution of higher learning that would help attract and develop the technical workforce that NASA needed in Huntsville, I see myself. My studies at UAH in computer science laid a foundation that helped enable me to be part of the continuing fantastic mission of MSFC.”


Jim Steele


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