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Troy A. Thrash – a nationally-respected authority and advocate for scientific and technical workforce development – served as the Da Vinci Science Center’s Executive Director and CEO from March 2009-Jan. 2013. Thrash transitioned to become President and CEO of the Air Zoo museum in Portage, Mich., an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.
During Thrash’s tenure, the Da Vinci Science Center expanded its visitor programming substantially, adopted a focus on scientific and technical career development, bolstered the collective versatility and skill set of its staff, increased its financial vitality, and generated a dramatic increase in popularity. Highlights of Thrash’s tenure included and a 70 percent increase in yearly visitation and program and event participation from 2009-2013; the adoption of a three-year strategic plan credited with putting the Center of course for future growth; the adoption of its current mission statement – to bring science to life and lives to science; and the completion of a re-branding process that produced its current slogan – Open for ExSCIting Possibilities.
A native of Northampton, Pa., Thrash preceded his work at the Da Vinci Science Center by serving as Executive Director of the National Aerospace Development Center (NADC) in Alpharetta, Ga., from 2005-2009. In leading the NADC, Thrash built and managed partnerships with federal and state governments, industry groups, educators, workforce systems, and community developers to help regions across the United States build and maintain vibrant technical workforces. Thrash also has contributed to several additional organizations focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and workforce development – including SkillsUSA, the Federation of Galaxy Explorers, the Civil Air Patrol, and FIRST Robotics.