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Board Title

Executive Director


Spearfish, S.D.

Date Appointed

Appointed by

SDSTA Board of Directors

Mike Headley was named executive director of the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA) on July 1, 2013.

The appointment was part of a reorganization of the management of the Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab), which is owned and operated by the SDSTA. The SDSTA Board of Directors chose Headley to replace Ron Wheeler, who stepped down as executive director and who now serves on the SDSTA Board. Headley also will continue role as laboratory director, a post he has held since 2011.

Headley's appointment to this additional management role was made on the strong recommendation of Wheeler, who has held the position for the past five years. ?Mike Headley is extremely well qualified to lead our project ,? Wheeler said. South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard agreed. "I congratulate Ron Wheeler as he steps away from his role as Executive Director," Daugaard said. "The Lab would not be where it is today without Ron's skill and vision. I'm pleased that Mike Headley and Ron Wheeler will continue to provide leadership to this important effort."

Headley joined the SDSTA in August 2008. ?I?m honored that Ron Wheeler and the board of directors have entrusted me with this responsibility,? Headley said. ?We have a great team at the Sanford Lab. Under Ron?s leadership, we have successfully transformed the Homestake gold mine into the deepest underground laboratory in the U.S. And our future looks even more exciting.?

SDSTA Board Chairman Casey Peterson said Headley was well prepared for his expanded responsibilities. ?We hired Mike at the same time we hired Ron Wheeler, knowing he had the ability to move into the executive director?s position,? Peterson said. ?In the past five years, he has not disappointed us. We have great confidence in his skills.?

Headley grew up in Brookings, S.D. He earned a bachelor?s degree in computer science from South Dakota State University and a master?s of business administration from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He served in the United States Air Force for six years as a project management officer for satellite systems. Then he joined the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center) near Sioux Falls, S.D. At EROS Headley led development of ground systems for the Landsat 8 satellite system. Headley lives in Spearfish, S.D., and has one child, a daughter.