Dr. Jim Reilly Takes the Helm at the U.S. Geological Survey

Geoscientist/Astronaut/Explorer Will Lead Interior Agency

Last edited 09/29/2021

Date: May 14, 2018
Contact: Interior_Press@ios.doi.gov

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today welcomed the arrival of Dr. Jim F. Reilly II at the Department of the Interior to begin his tenure as the 17th director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

“Dr. Reilly is an accomplished explorer, scientist, and public servant who has spent years defending our nation as a Navy Reserve officer and pushing the limits as an astronaut,” said Secretary Zinke. “Dr. Reilly will be a strong leader for the USGS as it addresses the natural resource opportunities and challenges we face as a nation. I am excited to finally have him on board and look forward to working with him.”

The 137-year-old agency that Reilly will lead has more than 8,600 employees; conducts research in every state; and is the nation's largest water, earth, and biological science and civilian mapping agency.

“The distinction of continuing to serve our country one more time, as the 17th Director of the U.S. Geological Survey, is a great honor and one I am proud to be given,” said Dr. Jim Reilly. “I’m grateful for the faith Secretary Zinke and President Trump have in me and I truly look forward to serving with the USGS team in delivering science in the interest of our people.”


Secretary Zinke poses with Dr. Jim Reilly of the USGS. Photo by Tami Heilemann, Interior.

The USGS conducts multidisciplinary scientific research that provides impartial information needed by land and resource managers, planners, emergency services officials, and other decision makers to make informed policy decisions. USGS science helps to minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; to manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and to enhance and protect our quality of life.

Most recently, Dr. Reilly served as a subject matter expert and curriculum developer for the U.S. Air Force National Security Space Institute. He has extensive leadership experience in the public and private sectors, military, and academic organizations and will bring those skills to the USGS.

A former astronaut, Reilly completed three shuttle missions and five spacewalks during his 13 year career with NASA. He has logged over 856 hours in space. He also served on multiple geological expeditions in locations around the world, including on the Antarctic Peninsula and the continental shelf of the Gulf of Mexico as the chief geologist for Enserch Exploration, Inc.

Dr. Reilly is an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, and has membership in the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Naval Reserve Association, Reserve Officers Association, and the Association of Space Explorers.

He received his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees in Geosciences from the University of Texas at Dallas.

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