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Darrel Williams, Ph.D., Chief Scientist

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Darrel Williams

Dr. Williams joined Global Science and Technology as our Chief Scientist in February 2010 after retiring from a distinguished 35-year career in NASA Goddard’s Earth Science Division. At NASA Goddard he conducted remote sensing research to develop enhanced techniques for assessing terrestrial ecosystems worldwide. Over time he assumed science management positions of increasing responsibility, including international field campaign manager, Branch Head, Landsat Project Scientist, and Laboratory Associate and Acting Chief. He worked with and mentored several EOS-era Project Scientists (Terra, Aqua, ICESat, NMP Earth Observer-1, Landsat Data Continuity Mission, etc.), and received NASA medals for Outstanding Leadership (1997) and Exceptional Service (2000). In 1999, Williams received the “Aviation Week and Space Technology 1999 Laurels Award” for outstanding achievement in the field of Space in recognition of his science leadership role for the Landsat 7 mission. In 2006, he received an "Outstanding Alumni Award" from the School of Forest Resources at the Pennsylvania State University where he received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Forest Science. Williams attained his Ph.D. in Physical Geography from the University of Maryland in 1989. In 2012, Williams was invited to join the Advisory Board for the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, College of Natural Resources and Environment, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, more popularly known as Virginia Tech University. In 2017, Williams received the William T. Pecora Award in recognition for his individual contributions as a catalyst behind many innovations for the Landsat program and for outstanding contributions to understanding the Earth through remote sensing. The Pecora Award is a joint NASA and USGS award that is widely regarded to be one of the highest form of recognition in Earth remote sensing.

In addition to fulfilling his Chief Scientist duties, Dr. Williams’ activities at GST have been focused on the development of highly capable lower cost smallsat solutions for Earth and weather observations.