Dr. David Evans – Science Expert; Directed Programs at Smithsonian, NOAA

Dr. David Evans-Senior Executive and Public Policy Expert

Dr. David L. Evans is a senior executive and public policy expert with more than three decades of success providing thought leadership and skilled management of science-based initiatives and programs, spanning ocean, astrophysics, atmosphere, marine, botany, biology, environmental, zoology, and with particular recent emphasis, energy sustainability and climate change. He has expertise in science education and the public’s use of science for policy.

He has directed highly successful public sector programs at the Smithsonian Institution, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Office of Naval Research, served as a key advisor, subject matter expert, and coordinator with the White House, Congress, and the President’s cabinet, and bridged public and private sectors in a corporate setting to advance climate change and sustainability concepts, products, services, and programs.

Dr. David Evans recently served as the Executive Director of the National Science Teaching Association, leading 55,000 teachers adopting new science education standards, publishing four peer-reviewed journals and 20 books per year as well as conferences with over 20,000 attendees annually.

Dr. Evans served as Director of Noblis, Inc.’s Center for Sustainability—Earth, Energy, Climate, and led expansion of ocean, atmosphere, space, energy, and environmental science and engineering programs. He has built a profitable Climate Change Adaptation and Energy Sustainability practice that assists federal, state, and local governments in planning for a carbon-limited future and adapting to climate change. Under Dr. Evans’ leadership, a multimillion dollar market at NOAA, GSA, DOD, and other agencies has been developed, and the organization achieved double-digit revenue and profitability increases for two consecutive years.

As Under Secretary for Science at the Smithsonian Institution from 2002 to 2007, Dr. Evans directed 2,500+ employees across museum and research institutions including the Natural History and Air and Space Museums, the National Zoo, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, the National Science Resources Center, the Tropical Research Institute in Panama, the Environment Research Center, the Smithsonian Scholarly Press, and International Relations. He spearheaded development of the Institution’s first-ever Strategic Plan for Science, transcending silos to create institutional consensus and an agreed-upon framework for actionable priorities. Dr. Evans raised more funds for science during his tenure than had been raised in the Institution’s entire history, which were applied to opening of dramatic new exhibits and major renovations such as the National Zoo’s Asia Trail and Natural History’s Ocean Hall. He turned around a publicity, political and morale disaster at the National Zoo, dealt with substantial controversy while making five, highly successful Director appointments, introduced performance-based reviews, and launched multiple innovative programs.

At NOAA as Assistant Administrator for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, Dr. Evans oversaw a workforce of more than 2,000 in directing OAR’s programs in coastal, ocean, marine, atmospheric, climate, space, and geophysical sciences at research laboratories and university-based programs nationwide. He pioneered a Climate Observations and Services Program (precursor to a new National Climate Service) and developed the first strategic plan for research spanning all areas of OAR’s charter, efforts which garnered him a Presidential Rank Award. Here he also served at the White House as Science Advisor and coordinator for a new U.S. Climate Change Science Program.

Previously at NOAA as Deputy Assistant Administrator for the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Dr. Evans oversaw conservation, management, and utilization of U.S. living marine resources and directed Fisheries programs. With 2,400 employees and a $350 million budget, he developed policies on domestic and international fisheries management and introduced one of the earliest multi-species fishery management plans, testifying frequently before Congress in an often-hostile environment. As Deputy Assistant Administrator and Senior Scientist for NOAA’s National Ocean Service (NOS) managing nautical charting and coastal zone management programs, Dr. Evans developed a strategic plan for NOS and transferred the 450-person Aeronautic Charting Program from NOAA to the FAA.

Dr. Evans began his Washington career as Program Manager for the Physical Oceanography Program at the Office of Naval Research. His early career track in academia culminated in tenured professorship in oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. Dr. Evans holds a Ph.D. in Physical Oceanography from the University of Rhode Island and a BA in Mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania. His affiliations include the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Meteorological Society, and the American Association of Museums. Dr. Evans has served on numerous boards and panels, as a congressional witness, and a reviewer for scientific journals. He is a frequent public speaker on subjects ranging from scientific literacy to biodiversity science to climate change.