USU Space Dynamics Lab to split lead duties

By Kim Burgess
The Herald Journal
July 14, 2008

The Space Dynamics Laboratory at Utah State University will soon see some changes in leadership.

Current SDL head Mike Pavich plans to retire in October, and the organization has decided to split his position between two new hires — SDL director and president of the USU Research Foundation.

Pavich has held both titles for two years. Previously, the jobs were always handled by two people, and Pavich was solely SDL director.

According to Melanie Pond, SDL’s director of human resources, the return to two leaders was motivated by a push to expand the number of businesses housed within USURF. Many of these businesses will be spinoffs of projects developed at SDL.

“One of the key commitments is taking applied technology to the marketplace,” Pond said. “(USURF) needs its own cost structure and management team >to keep that growing.”

The SDL director will continue to head that organization and is chiefly responsible for making connections that lead to new business for the company, Pond said.

“A lot of it is a relationshipbuilding position,” she explained. “This is the person on the road making SDL known through every hallway of Washington, D.C., and Huntsville, Ala., and Los Angeles, Calif.”

Pavich developed those skills and contacts through 29 years of Air Force service and 11 years working with Ogden government, Pond said.

The 66-year-old retired two-star general has led SDL since 2003.

“It has been five of the most exciting years of my life,” Pavich said. “These are great people. This is an organization that is very professional and very capable, but it operates like a family.”

SDL is accepting applications for the director job and will begin the search for USURF president in early 2009.

The USU-owned SDL is a non-profit research corporation employing more than 400 staff members. It has contracts to develop new technologies for the Department of Defense, NASA and other government agencies.

© 2008 The Herald Journal