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Michoud Leadership

Robert H. Champion
Director NASA Michoud Assembly Facility

Robert H. Champion is the director of the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. Named to the position in June 2019, Champion oversees one of the world’s largest manufacturing facilities where important elements of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion spacecraft are being built. He manages an annual operating budget of $60 million, more than two million square feet of manufacturing space, and 829 acres of land at the multi-tenant facility. More than 3,000 federal, state, academic, and technology-based industry employees work at Michoud.

Prior to this role, Champion served as deputy director of Marshall’s Propulsion Systems Department from October 2015 to 2019. From 2014 to 2015, he was deputy of Marshall’s Space Systems Department.

In 2010, Champion was appointed deputy director and chief operating officer for Michoud. That same year, he completed NASA’s Senior Executive Service (SES) Candidate Development Program. Members of the SES operate and oversee nearly every government activity in approximately 75 federal agencies.

In 2012 Champion was selected to the Senior Executive Service and continued his roles as deputy and COO for MAF. Champion oversaw the facility’s transition from building space shuttle external tanks to operating as a multi-tenant facility which began to manufacture and assemble the SLS core stage and Orion spacecraft through 2014.

From 2007 to 2010, Champion was division chief of Marshall’s Stage Systems Engineering and Integration Office, responsible for the technical integration of the subsystems which made up the Ares I upper stage.

Prior to his work as a division chief, he worked as deputy manager, chief engineer, and technical manager in the Propulsion System Engineering and Integration Office in Marshall’s Space Shuttle Propulsion Office from 2004 to 2007.

From 2000 to 2004, Champion held management positions in Marshall’s Internal Relations and Communications Department, the Next Generation Launch Vehicle Program and for the Boeing Orbital Space Plane Project.

Serving as a team lead for Marshall’s Vehicle Propulsion System from 1999 to 2000, Champion coordinated system design and analysis support for several spacecraft and launch vehicle propulsion projects. Prior to this, he served for nearly five years as team lead for the design of the X-34 Main Propulsion System. He began his distinguished career at Marshall in its Preliminary Design Office in 1986 as a propulsion engineer.

Throughout his career at Marshall, Champion received numerous awards. He was recently selected as an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Associate Fellow and received the 2018-2019 AIAA Holger Toftoy Award for outstanding technical management in the fields of aeronautics and astronautics.

In addition, he has received several of NASA’s highest awards including the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, the NASA Medal for Exceptional Service, Space Flight Awareness Honoree, Director’s Commendation, and the NASA Contracting Officers Technical Representative of the Year.

Champion earned his bachelor degree in aerospace engineering from Auburn University in 1986. He has four adult children in Huntsville.

Mike Allen
Deputy Director NASA Michoud Assembly Facility

Mike Allen currently serves as the deputy director of the Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is responsible for the day-to-day management of the multi-tenant manufacturing facility, where NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion spacecraft are being built. SLS, the world’s most powerful rocket, will carry astronauts in the Orion crew vehicle, science experiments and cargo on deep-space missions, including journeys to Mars. Michoud, a NASA-owned facility managed by the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, is one of the world's largest manufacturing plants.

Mr. Allen has served in many different positions during his 34 years at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) including work within programs as well as support organizations.

Prior to being selected for this position Mike Allen served as the technical integration lead for the SLS Project Planning and Control office from 2016 to present. His team was responsible for integrating Element schedules, risk and technical performance to determine overall performance of the SLS program.  He also served as the Business Manager for the Stages Element of the Space Launch System (SLS) Program where he led the development of budget requirements for both in-house work at MSFC and MAF, as well as the prime contractor effort by Boeing.

From 2013 to 2016 Allen served as the vice-chairman and MSFC lead of the Source Evaluation Board for the current Synergy Achieving Consolidation Operation and Maintenance (SACOM) contract between MAF & SSC. He was instrumental in the development and awarded of the 10-year $1.2 billion SACOM contract which jointly supports the Michoud and Stennis Space Center.

From 2006 to 2013 Allen served as the manager of the Space Shuttle and Ares transition office responsible for the disposition and retirement of all Ares and 30 years of Space Shuttle assets (including documentation and hardware). One of the largest transition efforts ever conducted by the agency, this involved assets worth billions of dollars that were controlled by MSFC and Michoud and the Space Shuttle program, and assets located at other NASA centers (SSC, KSC, JSC) and prime contracts sites. Allen was responsible for all activities associated with the disposition of assets and developing procedures and guidelines for the deployment or donation to other organizations. This included the transition of Ares and Space Shuttle hardware for the use by the SLS program.

From 2000 to 2006 Mike served as assistant manager of the MSFC test and evaluation department where he was responsible for all propulsion test activities, including facilities, conducting propulsion test, supervision of all test area personnel, and developing and executing all requirements for the department.

From 1996 to 2000 he served as the manager of the X-34 Experimental Flight Test Vehicle Demonstration Project and was responsible for the total requirements for the design, development, implementation, and execution of the project.

Prior to his X-34 involvement, he served one year (1995 – 1996) detailed to NASA Headquarters as the Space Shuttle Propulsion Liaison between Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) and NASA Headquarters. Served as the technical expert for all Space Shuttle propulsion projects.

Allen started his carrier in 1986 in the independent assessment group with the Center Comptroller Office and then transferred to the Space Shuttle project in 1988 where he held many positions with Space Shuttle Main Engine office and the Space Shuttle Booster office.

Allen has received numerous NASA awards including NASA Exceptional Achievement and Exception Service Medals, Silver Snoopy Award and Space Flight Awareness Award.  He received a BS in Industrial Engineering from Auburn University in 1981 and an MBA from Alabama A&M in 1990.  He and his wife Tammy have 3 children and 7 grandchildren.

Lionel Joseph Dutreix III
Deputy Chief Operating Officer, NASA Michoud Assembly Facility

Lionel Dutrex

Lionel Dutreix is the Deputy Chief Operating Officer of NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. Named to the position in 2017, he manages the day-to-day operations of NASA's only manufacturing facility. Sitting on 832 acres, Michoud is a multi-tenant manufacturing facility, where development of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion spacecraft are underway. SLS, the world’s most powerful rocket will carry astronauts in the Orion crew vehicle, science experiments and cargo on deep-space missions, including journeys to Mars.

Prior to his arrival at Michoud, Dutreix was Assistant Director of Center Operations at Stennis Space Center (SSC). In this role, he provided leadership and oversite for all support services including the Environmental and Industrial Hygiene office, Office of Protective Services, Facility Design and Construction, Facility Operations and Maintenance, Information Technology, and Facility Planning and Utilization services for the entire Center which includes over 40 Government Agencies and Commercial Tenants with a total of 5000 employees.

From 2013 to 2016, he was the Contracting Officer's Representative responsible for implementing a newly awarded 10-year $1.2 billion Synergy-Achieving Consolidated Operations and Maintenance (SACOM) contract which jointly supports the Michoud and Stennis Space Center.

From 2007 to 2013, he was the Project Manager for the design, construction, and activation of a new Altitude Test Facility at Stennis Space center.

From 2000 to 2007, he was Chief Test Operations and Electrical Branch Chief for the Engineering and test Directorate at Stennis Space Center.

Prior to joining NASA, Dutreix worked for Rockwell International supporting the Space Shuttle Main Engine Test Program at Stennis Space Center as a Data Systems Manager as well as an Instrumentation Lead Engineer.

Dutreix has received numerous awards over his 32-year career supporting Human Space Flight including the NASA Space Flight Awareness Award, NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, NASA Technical Utilization Award, Rockwell International, Rocketdyne Division, Engineer of the Year for Stennis Space Center, and the University of New Orleans Dean’s Student Organization Council Distinguished Teaching Award as an Adjunct Professor. He was a University of New Orleans, Department of EE Adjunct Professor and a University of New Orleans Engineering Advisory Council Member.Dutreix contributed to multiple publications including the AIAA - Activation of the E1 UHP Propulsion Test Facility at Stennis Space Center, 2001 and NASA Tech Briefs - Generating Multiple Calibrating Voltages Simultaneously, October, 1992.Dutreix received a master’s and bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of New Orleans. He also holds several professional certificates including Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and Professional Engineer (PE). Dutreix lives in Slidell, LA with his wife Sherri and his five children.