Alisha Swofford named new UCAR Chief Operating Officer

Swofford brings knowledge of UCAR and 17-plus years of operations leadership

Oct 27, 2023 - by Jessica Bauters

Alisha Swofford has been selected to serve as the permanent chief operating officer of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), effective October 29. Swofford has been serving in the interim COO role since April 2023 and has lent a steady and strategic hand to the organization during that time.Alisha Swofford

“I have heard from many people in Operations and other areas around the organization about what a positive experience it is working with Alisha, and her leadership has helped not only lead us through challenges, but also helped usher in cultural changes that are making our organization stronger,” said UCAR President Antonio Busalacchi. “I am confident Alisha will take our operations to a new level in support of our critical science, and I greatly look forward to working alongside her as we march toward — in her own words — destination: world-class.”

As COO, Swofford will continue to oversee UCAR Operations, supporting and enabling the scientific missions of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and UCAR Community Programs. UCAR Operations includes human resources, finances, facilities management, risk management, information technology, and health and safety. The COO is also a key contact for the National Science Foundation, which is NCAR’s sponsor, ensuring that UCAR is fulfilling its responsibilities as manager of NCAR. 

Swofford first came to UCAR in 2019 as the deputy director of Facilities Management. During her time in that role, she focused on cultural initiatives and process improvements and helped lead the group through the COVID shutdown. Prior to stepping in as interim COO, she served as deputy director of Operations for two years. As interim COO, she has provided support to NCAR during the stand down of the Research Aviation Facility, led the organization’s transformative Space Planning Initiative, conducted UCAR Operations’ first Operational Satisfaction Survey, and more.

Prior to coming to UCAR, Swofford was assistant director of facilities management at the University of Colorado Boulder, area operations manager at Nike, and operations manager at FedEx. She has an MBA from Missouri State University.

“I could not be more proud and elated to have been chosen for this role,” said Swofford. “I care deeply about this organization’s mission and the people working toward and in support of our goals. There is nothing more important than the work being done at NCAR and UCP, and it is a dream come true that I now have the opportunity to do even more to support that work.”

UCAR is a nonprofit consortium of 126 North American colleges and universities focused on research and training in Earth system science.

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