Steven Gallagher is named UCAR chief operating officer

Gallagher brings extensive experience working with research organizations

Jul 28, 2021 - by Staff

Steven Gallagher has been named chief operating officer for the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). His first day will be August 16.

At UCAR, Gallagher will oversee the many functions of UCAR Operations that support and enable the missions of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the UCAR Community Programs. This includes human resources, finances, facilities, risk management, and information technology. Gallagher will also serve as a key contact for the National Science Foundation, which is NCAR’s sponsor, ensuring that UCAR is fulfilling its responsibilities as manager of NCAR. 

Gallagher comes to UCAR with over 30 years of executive leadership and management experience in scientific research organizations. Gallagher served as the budget director for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Washington, D.C., with duties that included planning and executing the agency’s $6 billion annual budget, 17,000 employees, and 400 facilities. 

Most recently, he served as the chief operating officer and assistant vice chancellor for Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) at the University of California San Diego. At SIO, Gallagher  managed the day-to-day operations for  4,000 students, 1,200 staff, and 40 facilities. He administered a $400 million annual operating budget and capital construction fund, and oversaw all capital planning and facility construction activities, among other duties. He also led the successful implementation of a comprehensive diversity and inclusion program.

“Steve’s experience with federally funded research and his understanding of how to effectively work within large research organizations will be a huge asset for UCAR and NCAR,” said UCAR President Antonio Busalacchi. “I know that Steve has a passion for supporting the research, and I am confident he will lead our operations in a way that prioritizes the important science that goes on here.”

“I am honored to be selected for the position and looking forward to joining the UCAR leadership team,” Gallagher said. “I have enjoyed working with UCAR during my tenure at NOAA and Scripps, and I look forward to supporting and advancing its world-class research and education mission.

Additional comments on Gallagher's selection

Margaret Leinen, Director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Vice Chancellor for Marine Science at the University of California San Diego

"It is wonderful to see Steve Gallagher’s talents for planning, operations, and finance return to serve the geoscience community through this position at UCAR. He brings a wealth of experience to UCAR that will help the organization and its members provide outstanding service to our field."

Joseph Klimavicz, Managing Director of United States Operations for KPMG Information Technology Services

"Steve is a great hire for UCAR. As NOAA CIO and director of high performance computing and communications, I partnered with Steve to deliver unbelievable increases in supercomputing to power the climate research mission. Steve was very supportive and understood the value proposition associated with big compute. In addition, Steve has great expertise in navigating complexities from constrained budgets and competing agendas."

Louis W. Uccellini, Director of the National Weather Service

"Steve is the consummate budgeteer and administrator. He is adept at forming relationships across organizations and disciplines to advance strategic objectives. At NOAA, Steve played a key role in making the NOAA Center for Weather & Climate Prediction a reality. I have the utmost confidence in Steve and wish him all the best in his new role at UCAR."


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