James Ortiz


Email: james.n.ortiz [at] nasa.gov

James Ortiz is a Senior Advisor to the NASA Associate Administrator (NASA’s Chief Operating Officer (COO)).  As part of that role, he leads Agency transformation activities in aspects of Program Management and Engineering Capabilities. He has been named as the NASA Program Management Improvement Officer (PMIO) to lead NASA’s implementation of the Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act (PMIAA) directed to improve the Program Management capabilities and performance of NASA space flight and aeronautics missions. 

Dr. Ortiz was the former Director of the Independent Program Assessment Office (IPAO) from 2009 to 2015 at NASA Headquarters.  As Director of the IPAO, he had responsibility over the independent assessment of the Agency’s highest priority spaceflight projects including assessing for sound technical approaches, adequate cost, schedule, management, and overall risk posture to ensure that spaceflight projects were on a path to mission success.

Dr. Ortiz joined NASA at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in July 1990 from the U.S. Air Force where he served as flight test engineer for electronic warfare systems on high performance aircraft. During his career at NASA, Dr. Ortiz has held several technical and executive assignments including Head for International Space Station Astronaut and Flight Controller Systems Training; Senior NASA Research Exchange Engineer with the Air Force Research Laboratory in New Mexico; Chief of the JSC Mission Operations Advanced Projects Office; and Manager of the Office of Analysis and Assessment reporting to the JSC Center Director. He later served as Deputy Manager for Integrated Avionics and Software for the next human space exploration vehicle, the Orion project. Dr. Ortiz also led the design certification review of the Space Shuttle fleet for return to flight after the Columbia accident.

Dr. Ortiz holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering (EE) from the University of Houston, a ME in EE from the University of Florida, and a MS in Systems Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. He holds a BS in EE from Los Andes University in Colombia, South America. Dr. Ortiz is a graduate of the Senior Manager’s in Government Program at the Kennedy School at Harvard University.

Dr. Ortiz is a member of the U.S. Government Senior Executive Service.