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New leadership to take helm at NMSU’s Physical Science Lab

Steve Hottman will retire July 1 as director of the Physical Science Laboratory at New Mexico State University. He has led the lab since 2012 and served as deputy director from 2006-2012.

Portrait of a man
Steve Hottman will retire July 1 as director at New Mexico State University’s Physical Science Laboratory. (NMSU photo)
Portrait of a woman
Joanne Esparza has been named interim director at New Mexico State University’s Physical Science Laboratory. (NMSU photo)
Portrait of a man
Henry Cathey has been named interim deputy director at New Mexico State University’s Physical Science Laboratory. (NMSU photo)

“As a result of the leadership Steve provided, PSL is strategically positioned to take advantage of opportunities with the Department of Defense, Intelligence community and industries. Steve has successfully made PSL more viable for partnerships,” said NMSU Vice President for Research Vimal Chaitanya.

Longtime NMSU and PSL employee Joanne Esparza has been selected as interim director of PSL.

“Joanne has served PSL/NMSU since 1987 in various capacities, including program manager for the Information Modeling and Threat Analysis Division as a primary liaison with the Army Research Laboratory/Survivability Lethality Analysis Directorate (ARL/SLAD) from 1994 to 2003,” Chaitanya said. “When PSL’s activities were divided into space-aerospace and information science, Joanne provided the leadership to the Information Science Division and was later named deputy director of PSL in July 2012. Joanne has brought in and successfully managed large defense contracts to the satisfaction of the customers. Joanne is known and respected by these customers.”

Esparza earned her bachelor’s in mathematics from Stanford University in 1974.

Henry Cathey will step in as interim deputy director at PSL.

“Henry has served PSL for 20 years and has worked in support of the NASA Balloon Program,” Chaitanya said. “Henry will focus on developing new business and partnerships for PSL both within NMSU and with the external community in addition to performing his duty as deputy director.”

Cathey has a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Vanderbilt University and a master’s in mechanical engineering from George Washington University.

Their work to guide the critical work being done at PSL will help ensure continued success of this important part of the university.

“PSL is an asset to the university in terms of the experience and opportunity it brings to position NMSU to support scientific and service missions for federal agencies and contractors, particularly for the defense industry,” Chaitanya said. “NMSU students get an opportunity to work on developmental, testing and evaluation projects with some of the nation’s premier agencies and organizations.”

PSL has trained and supported more than 16,000 students.