USU alum returning as newest SDL head

By Emilie H. Wheeler
The Herald Journal
September 10, 2008

Dr. Douglas Lemon
North Logan, UT — A Utah State University alum will return to Logan this fall after being selected as the Space Dynamics Laboratory’s new director, the university’s Research Foundation announced Tuesday.

Doug Lemon will replace Mike Pavich, who will retire. Lemon’s first day is scheduled for Oct. 20.

Although he has spent several years outside the valley, Lemon said he looks forward to returning.

“It’s a chance to give something back — and to be associated with the university,” he said. “To me, it’s coming full circle back to where I began.”

Lemon received his bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. in physics from USU and was awarded the school’s Robins Award in 1974. He has worked at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington state, including as its director of laboratory strategy. Lemon has also served as CEO of Advanced Geographic Information Systems Inc., a PNNL technology spin-out company.

In addition to attending USU, Lemon grew up in the valley, spending time with his mother, who was a faculty member at USU. His wife, Alice Mae, also graduated from the university and three of their children have attended the school.

Outgoing SDL head Mike Pavich said Lemon brings several positive attributes, including his familiarity in strategic initiatives and technology advancement, entrepreneur experience and his ties to USU.

Pavich, a retired two-star general, said he appreciates his time at SDL.

“It’s been a great challenge and wonderful experience to work with such dedicated people doing important work for the nation,” Pavich said. “There is significant work that’s done here that contributes to both national defense and scientific accomplishment at all levels.”

Lemon said he sees the opening as a chance to both make a difference in Cache Valley and attend to the needs of the nation. His goals for SDL include expanding the organization’s understanding and involvement with the effects and research of global climate change, and taking a new direction by looking into developing microscopes. SDL already deals expensively with sensors.

“One of the major tools the scientific community is pursuing is imaging,” he said.

Lemon also called importance to continuing in the commercialization process. His two years as an entrepreneur provided a “harsh lesson in capitalism,” he said, in addition to providing the experience necessary for this job.
“You have to have market readiness,” he said. “I think the nation needs that. I’m very passionate about the need to compete globally.”

Lemon said he will move from Richland, Wash., before his Oct. 20 start date and his wife will join him soon. Pavich will retire to Layton, where his family owns a home.

© 2008 The Herald Journal