Andrea Seastrand will serve as Executive Director of the California Space & Technology Alliance. The selection was announced at a press conference Wednesday, January 15, at the Central Coast headquarters of CSTA. According to California Space & Technology Alliance Board President Ray Deutsch, who made the announcement, the position was offered to former congresswoman Seastrand after a two-month executive search which concluded the week prior. Ms. Seastrand will take on duties of her new position beginning February 1, 1997.
The California Space & Technology Alliance (CSTA) received its designation in March of 1996 by the California State Defense Conversion Council. Under the terms of its contract, CSTA is directed by the Office of Strategic Technology (OST) and the California State Department of Trade and Commerce "to develop a Commercial Space Strategic Plan" to help California maintain and enhance its leadership in space technology globally and "to deliver decentralized State of California services, resources, programs and activities for technology development, commercialization, application and competitiveness in industry sectors relevant to commercial space." As a corollary to the responsibilities outlined by the OST, CSTA "will review and evaluate all statewide commercial space related grant proposals." The State of California has also given the organization the responsibility to "develop commercial space and technology programs and plans", create and retain high-paying jobs, develop new commercial or dual-use products, and demonstrate productivity enhancements within commercial space and related industries.
"The selection of Andrea Seastrand was made after carefully considering the breadth of knowledge and experience this type of position requires," stated Board President Ray Deutsch. "It was critical that we find someone familiar with commercial space and technology issues and even more important that the person have a good understanding of how commercial space and technology fit into the larger picture of regional economic development, both local and statewide job creation and global competitiveness."
Seastrand, who represented California's 22nd District - home to Vandenberg Air Force Base - in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1994-1996 led commercial space support efforts at the national level with the introduction of The National Spaceport Act of 1995. The Central Coast district is home to Vandenberg Air Force Base, site of commercial space development efforts. Seastrand has been a leader in these efforts since serving as a member of the California State Assembly from 1990-1994. As a congresswoman, Seastrand was appointed to the Committee on Science, where she served on both the Space and Aeronautic and the Technology Subcommittees. In addition, she served on the Aviation Subcommittee and was vice-chair of the Public Buildings and Economic Development Subcommittees within the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. She was also an active member of the Aviation and Space Caucus.
Born and raised in Chicago, Seastrand graduated from DePaul University in 1963 and moved to the Central California Coast. Her late husband, Eric Seastrand, served in the California State Assembly from 1982 until 1990. The Seastrands raised two children on the Central Coast where Seastrand still resides.
"Commercial space and technology are strategic to California's economic development efforts to bring high-paying jobs and clean industry to the state," states Seastrand. "By helping to unite the industry and develop statewide commercial space goals and priorities, CSTA will play an important role in establishing California as a global leader in commercial space. I am pleased that the Board of Directors of CSTA has asked me to continue to play a part in this exciting effort."