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Remarks at Ceremonial Swearing In of NIST Director Dr. Patrick D. Gallagher


Friday, November 20, 2009



Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke
Remarks at Ceremonial Swearing In of NIST Director Dr. Patrick D. Gallagher
NIST Headquarters Campus
Gaithersburg, Maryland

Thank you, Katharine. Good morning everyone.

This is a great day for NIST and the Commerce Department.

We’re here to swear in Dr. Patrick Gallagher as the 14th director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

I want to welcome all of our guests here today, especially Pat’s wife, Karen, and their three sons, Sean, Devin, and Ryan.

I would also like to acknowledge the overwhelming support of Congress for Dr. Gallagher's nomination.

We’re pleased to have with us

  • Congressman David Wu, Chairman of the House Science and Technology Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation;
  • Ken Reicherd from Senator Ben Cardin’s office;
  • Jahantab Siddiqui from Senator Barbara Mikulski’s office;
  • Chan Lieu from the Senate Commerce Committee, and
  • Mike Quear, staff director of the House Technology and Innovation Committee.

Dr. Gallagher is taking over leadership of one of the Department’s oldest agencies. As you know, NIST traces its history back to 1901. That’s when Congress created the National Bureau of Standards to provide important measurement tools for our growing industries and commerce.

To staff this new agency, Congress provided a $27,000 budget for salaries, including $5,000 for the director and $3,500 each for the physicist and the chemist.

Clearly, it was a fantastic investment.

For over a century, NIST has been at the forefront of some of our nation’s critical industrial, scientific and technological advances.

Today, the agency that Dr. Gallagher will oversee has resources of $1.6 billion and a talented and skilled workforce of 2,900.

And Pat is extremely well prepared for this responsibility.

A physics and philosophy graduate of Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, Pat earned his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Pittsburgh.

He first came to NIST 16 years ago, as a beam line researcher at the Center for Neutron Research. In 2004, he moved up to serve for four years as director of the Center. Since 2008, he has served as Deputy Director of NIST and in acting capacity as Director.

Pat also served as a NIST agency representative for the White House Science and Technology Council in 2000.

We are fortunate to have someone of Pat’s experience and expertise taking the helm at NIST, especially as this administration is working to accelerate the development of new technologies in areas like clean energy and efficiency.

Congress has assigned NIST the responsibility of coordinating and accelerating the development of national interoperability standards for an electric smart grid.

A national smart grid is a cornerstone of President Obama's energy policy. It has the potential to drastically increase our energy efficiency, expand our use of renewable energy and save American electric consumers money.

Pat Gallagher will be an indispensable part of this project, as well as other vital NIST initiatives in areas like cyber security, nanotechnology and manufacturing.

The most important quality, however, that makes Pat a great NIST director is his integrity. Pat is fond of saying that a hallmark of NIST is “getting it right.”

I have seen Pat in action for the last eight months, and he embodies that spirit. So I have great confidence in his ability to lead NIST toward even greater achievements in the future.

I want to thank Pat, and all of you, for the important work you are doing to keep our nation safer, healthier and more prosperous.

We all share the pride of Pat’s family and colleagues in seeing this dedicated public servant nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate for this important post.

I know that Pat is eager to hit the ground running. So let me ask Pat to join me.