MOJAVE — As Mojave Air and Space Port CEO Karina Drees departs for a new job in D.C.,  an interim was selected to replace her while the board of directors goes through its selection process.

The board of directors made the decision Dec. 3 to appoint former board member David Evans as the interim CEO under a short-term consulting agreement to keep MASP projects on track until a permanent replacement could be found for Dres.

Drees announced her eventual departure in October, with the goal to leave in January after her contract was up. 

During the Dec. 3 meeting, Drees stressed the need to maintain ongoing projects during what she called a lengthy process to select the space port's next leader. 

She added that Evans had already began being briefed.

“We started getting him (Evans) up to speed just yesterday, but he’ll primarily take on the role early January,” Drees said at the Dec. 3 meeting. “We’ll just start to give him some background information and make introductions now so that come early January he’ll be pretty up to speed on the topics going forward.”

Evans has served on the board for years, and while he threw his name into the hat for re-election, announced his resignation on Oct. 3, just days before the Nov. 3 election.

The board has undergone a change. In addition to Evans leaving his spot on the board, two other incumbents — Terry Allred and Andrew Parker, were defeated in re-election terms, replaced by new members Robert Morgan, Chuck Coleman and Dianne Barney. 

Bill Deavers has stepped into the role of acting board president while Jim Balentine continues his role as board secretary.

Drees leaves for a new job in Washington D.C. as president of Commercial Spaceflight Federation. CSF announced in a Nov. 30 news release that she would begin her new role Jan. 4. She has previously served as an active member of the CSF Board of Directors for five years, including serving as treasurer from 2017 to 2020.

“Taking on the role of President of CSF at this stage of the industry’s evolution is an incredible opportunity,” said Drees in the CSF news release. “I look forward to learning from the members and working with the team and incoming Administration and new Congress to continue advancing commercial space priorities for the nation.”

Drees will be responsible for all aspects of the CSF operation including working directly with its 85-plus members representing every aspect of the commercial space sector to develop and implement a vision and strategy that reflects industry priorities; builds on its successful track record on policy and regulatory issues; articulates consistent, compelling messages nationally and in the global arena; enhances cross-industry coordination; and management of day-to-day activities including overseeing staff and budget.

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