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Daniel M. Bufton
SOFIA Project Manager
Daniel M. Bufton assumed the project manager role for SOFIA on Sept. 1, 2019. He is respected as one of NASA's leading experts in wind tunnel restoration and operations, capital improvements projects, and advanced project management. Bufton has substantial industry experience having held positions as a project engineer, project manager and area manager for major refinery, hydroelectric and geothermal power plant, hospital, college campus facilities, water and wastewater treatment facilities, and research laboratory projects.
Bufton began his civil service career at Ames in August 1991 as the manager of the Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel Modernization Project. He was the founding member of the Ames Electrical Power Safety Committee, served as construction manager for the completion of the U.S. Space Camp at Ames, was activation manager for the 9x7 Wind Tunnel facility, and chaired a SOFIA Independent Assessment Review. In 1997, he became chief of the Aerofacilities Engineering and Maintenance Branch. Two years later, in 1999, he became the deputy chief for the Wind Tunnel Operations Division.
In 2004, Bufton was appointed as the founding chief of the Ames Project Management Division where he invested his management expertise to support the completion of the X-37 Project; the recovery of the SOFIA Cavity Door Project; a series of aero and thermal protection projects, the Ames proposal for participation in the Abort Test Booster, and two Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter secondary payload proposals including the winning Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (known as LCROSS) proposal. During this tenure, Bufton was also the project manager for Ames’ efforts in support of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter/Prometheus Program.
As the deputy director of the Program and Projects Directorate, Bufton shared responsibility for the safe, efficient and functional implementation of Ames projects and programs. At this time, the directorate was focused on spaceflight and scientific projects that included the successful completion of the LCROSS and Lunar Atmosphere Dust and Environment (LADEE) projects, the successful integration of the Kepler project, and successfully sustaining the SOFIA science project. He also assumed direct responsibilities for completing "Sustainability Base," Ames' first LEED Platinum-certified building. Bufton subsequently transitioned to the position of associate director of Ames in November 2014.
Bufton has been the recipient of NASA’s highest award, the Distinguished Service Medal and NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Medal. He has also received numerous Agency and Center-level awards for safety, critical project completions and outstanding leadership. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from San Jose State University and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix.