The University of North Texas System Board of Regents has selected Lesa B. Roe, Acting Deputy Administrator for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), as the sole finalist for the position of Chancellor. Ms. Roe's selection was announced August 17 during the UNT System Board of Regents meeting at the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth.
"The UNT System is very proud to present Lesa Roe as the sole finalist for our Chancellor position – she is a results-oriented, decisive leader with proven success in operating in a high-risk, high-visibility environment," said G. Brint Ryan, Chairman for the UNT System Board of Regents. "Lesa has more than 30 years of experience in corporate-level strategic positioning and execution for a multi-billion dollar federal agency and her track record of driving efficient productivity, combined with a wealth of experience working with federal and state-level legislators, makes her an ideal fit to lead the UNT System into a new era."
The Chancellor is the chief executive officer of the UNT System and is responsible for all aspects of the System's operations, including management of 10,000+ employees and oversight of the three UNTS campuses – UNT in Denton, UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth and UNT Dallas – as well as the UNT System administration. As sole finalist, Ms. Roe is set to replace Lee F. Jackson, becoming the UNT System's third Chancellor and the first-ever woman to lead UNTS.
In her current position with NASA, Ms. Roe partners with the Chief Operating Officer to lead strategy, execution, and operations nationally across all NASA field centers for a $19.6 billion annual federal agency and $31 billion in assets. Her leadership has led to numerous breakthrough science, space, and aeronautics innovations and missions advancing our nation's leadership and international knowledge of aeronautics and space. Ms. Roe provides cross-functional corporate management and directs 10 field center installation managers, five primary product line managers, CIO, CFO, and general oversight of 17,000 employees. In addition, she directs program and project teams on product/mission delivery, acquisition strategy, partnership and international strategy and risk management. In addition, Ms. Roe has a passion for engaging students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and has initiated and engaged in numerous student programs both internal and external to NASA.
"Serving the UNT System, the North Texas region and the State of Texas would be a tremendous honor and opportunity – thank you to the Board of Regents for their confidence and trust in my leadership," Ms. Roe said. "As a leader I strive to be strong, but approachable, and I believe teamwork is fundamental to the success of any organization. I am extremely proud of our NASA teams' mission accomplishments over the years, but I'm just as proud of the fact that NASA has been an employee-rated best place to work in the federal government for five consecutive years."
Robert Lightfoot, NASA's Acting Administrator and Chief Operating Office, said the UNT System can expect an experienced and energetic leader in Ms. Roe.
"Lesa brings a unique ability to develop a strategic vision backed by an action-oriented implementation plan to achieve the results necessary to accomplish a mission and as a person, she is one of the most genuine and engaging people you will ever meet," Lightfoot said. "Lesa's vast experience and success leading at NASA – a large organization with 10 geographically dispersed field centers – is directly applicable to leading a University System, with similar challenges and opportunities. The UNT System should expect a high-energy, results-driven leader with a laser focus on the mission of UNTS and its critical role of preparing the next generation to enter the workforce. "
Now that Ms. Roe has been named the sole finalist for the Chancellor position, state law requires that 21 days must pass before final action can be taken by the Board of Regents on her employment. Chancellor Jackson, the state's longest-serving Chancellor, will remain in his position until Ms. Roe takes office and will continue to serve the UNT System until the end of 2017. The search and selection process for the UNT System Chancellor position was conducted by Mike JR Wheless and Scott Watson of Wheless Partners Executive Search.
Ms. Roe holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Florida and a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Central Florida. She has served on numerous boards and advisory councils including: the Virginia Governor's Aerospace Advisory Council, American Astronautical Society, Virginia FIRST Robotics, and the Virginia Research and Technology Advisory Commission. Her many honors include: 2017 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics AIAA Fellow, the 2015 Senior Executive Service Presidential Distinguished Rank Award and the 2006 Presidential Meritorious Executive Rank Award; NASA Exceptional Service Medal; University of Florida's Distinguished Career Achievement and Outstanding Leadership in Engineering Awards; the 2010 Women in Aerospace Leadership Award; the 2010 YWCA Women of Distinction in Science and Technology; and the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 2012 Bridge Builder Award. Ms. Roe and her husband, Ralph, NASA's chief engineer, have three children.