On Wednesday, the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority, that state’s equivalent to Alaska Aerospace, announced Nash would take over as its executive director beginning July 31.
“We are very excited to have Dale join the VCSFA team,” Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton said in a press release. “His years of experience in the aerospace industry will be a tremendous boost to the Authority as it works to become the No. 1 commercial spaceport in the U.S.”
Nash joined Alaska Aerospace Corporation in January 2007, and has over 30 years of experience in the aerospace industry. During his time at Alaska Aerospace, he pushed for business development, federal funding and policy issues. He did not return calls for comment by press time.
Nash’s resignation comes as Alaska Aerospace plans the largest expansion of the Kodiak Launch Complex to date.
In an agreement announced earlier this year, Alaska Aerospace plans to build a third launch pad at the complex, a $125 million project built with the help of Lockheed Martin, which is expected to back the majority of the project’s financing.
Alaska Aerospace president Craig Campbell said the corporation’s board of directors will choose a new CEO. He anticipates the board making a decision as soon as possible.
“I think the board is very happy with the leadership that Dale Nash has provided to the Alaska Aerospace organization, and I think they’re going to want to continue that,” Campbell said. “I don’t think we can afford to have a gap in the CEO position for a long time. We’ve got the budget session coming up in the Legislature, we’re right in the middle of serious discussions for financing Launch Pad 3, and we are actively working with another potential customer that is seriously looking at moving operations to Kodiak.”
The board of directors will hold a special session to address the issue, although a date has not been set.
While Alaska Aerospace Corporation is losing a CEO, it may be gaining a relationship with VCSFA.
The two organizations run similar operations with launch complexes, but do not directly compete with each other. Alaska Aerospace runs polar launches while VCSFA runs equatorial launches from its Wallops Island facility.
“I see great synergy opportunities for Virginia and Alaska to work together,” Campbell said. “This could be more attractive to customers who want consistent pricing, policies, procedures and techniques between East Coast and West Coast opportunities.”
Nash replaces Billie Reed, who is retiring after serving as VCSFA executive director for the last 17 years. Reed will likely stay on as a consultant for a short time as the transition is made. Reed knows Nash personally and thinks he is a good fit for VCSFA.
“I’m really looking forward to Dale showing up,” Reed said. “He’s done great things for Alaska and we’re fortunate he’s chosen to join us. We’re very happy.”
Contact Mirror writer Nicole Klauss at nklauss@kodiak