Patrick Scheuermann, chief operating officer of NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, has received NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Medal for his leadership during the facility’s recovery following Hurricane Katrina.

The award honors employees whose outstanding leadership has a pronounced effect on NASA’s technical or administrative programs.

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin presented the award to Scheuermann during a recent ceremony at Michoud. The Administrator praised Scheuermann for “extraordinary leadership and selfless dedication” during the facility’s recovery from Hurricane Katrina, which hit the Gulf Coast last August.

Under Scheuermann’s leadership, Michoud was able to quickly return to its business of building and processing external fuel tanks for NASA’s Space Shuttle Program. Just nine weeks after the hurricane, the facility had returned to full operations and most of its 2,000 employees – 600 of whom lost their homes in the storm – had returned to work.

Michoud is near the center of the hurricane’s worse destruction. Several buildings on the 832-acre site sustained window and roof damage, but only one shuttle fuel tank was damaged when a concrete roof panel fell and bounced off the side of the tank.

The Michoud manufacturing facility contains one of the largest production buildings in the nation, which includes a vertical assembly building for stacking external tank components, pneumostatic and systems test buildings and administrative offices. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, New Orleans, is under contract to produce the bright orange,15-story-tall tanks.

Michoud’s unique manufacturing facilities figure prominently in the Vision for Space Exploration, since derivatives of the external tank are partof the design for the next generation spacecraft.

Scheuermann was appointed to his current position Aug. 26, just four days prior to Katrina’s landfall on the Gulf Coast. He is responsible for the day-to-day management and operation of the facility.

Scheuermann began his NASA career in 1988 at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Miss., working as a shuttle main engine test conductor. In 1994, he became chief of the New Business Office. In 1999, he was selected to serve as a NASA fellow on the legislative staff of U.S. Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi.

In 2001, he became the deputy director of center operations at Stennis, where he served until appointed to his current position.

A New Orleans native, Scheuermann grew up in Arabi in St. Bernard Parish. The son of Karl and Carol Scheuermann, he is a 1982 graduate of Holy Cross High School in New Orleans. He received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1986 from the University of New Orleans.

In 2001, Scheuermann received NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal for significant service characterized by unusual initiative and creative ability that clearly demonstrated substantial improvement in engineering, aeronautics, space flight and space related endeavors. He received a Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2001 from the University of New Orleans. He also was a finalist in NASA’s astronaut candidate selection program in 1998.

Scheuermann and his wife Sarah live in Slidell with their son and daughter, Chandler and Christina.