Appointed to the deputy director position in April 2007, she shares responsibility with the center director in managing the Kennedy team of civil service and contractor employees, determining and implementing center policy and managing and executing Kennedy missions and agency program responsibilities. As Kennedy transitioned into a multi-user spaceport, she led cross agency initiatives with the Federal Aviation Administration and U.S. Air Force to streamline government processes and support commercial space operations, to increase government efficiency and limit redundancy. Beginning in September 2012, she served a 12-month appointment at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., as the deputy associate administrator and acting director for the Office of Evaluation. More recently, in May 2017 Petro was named the Program Executive to lead the agency-wide initiative for a phased implementation to restructure all mission support functions, including Human Capital, Finance and Legislative Affairs, and to ensure efficient and effective support of NASA’s missions.
Petro began her professional career as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army after graduating in 1981 from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, with a Bachelor of Science in engineering. She served in the U.S. Army’s aviation branch with various assignments overseas in Germany. She also holds a Master of Science in business administration from Boston University’s Metropolitan College.
Prior to joining NASA, Petro served in various management positions for Science Applications International Corp., also known as SAIC, and McDonnell Douglas Aerospace Corporation. At SAIC, Petro held a number of positions, including program/project manager, division manager, and deputy operations manager for several entities within the corporation’s operations. She interfaced with NASA, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy and commercial entities on numerous aerospace and military programs. As the interface to senior-level government customers, Petro was responsible for overseeing program and project managers and providing operational guidance on various technical programs.
At McDonnell Douglas Aerospace, Petro advanced from mechanical engineer and payload manager, leading the processing and integration of classified payloads for both space shuttle and expendable launch vehicles; to program manager for executing a classified, multimillion-dollar U.S. Department of Defense program, integrating payloads onto various space vehicles at U.S. Air Force and NASA facilities; to senior manager in Advance Products Division; to senior manager for Communications and Data Systems Division.
Originally from Detroit, Michigan, she now resides with her family in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida.