July 11, 2012 by Emily C. Kelley, NMSU News Center
With Steve Hottman leading the Physical Science Laboratory team on an interim basis, following former PSL Director Jay Jordan’s recent retirement, the organization will maintain its current customer base and continue to grow, serving the New Mexico State University community and beyond.
“PSL does work on campus, at White Sands Missile Range; at the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility at Palestine, Texas; at the Wallops Flight Facility in Chincoteague, Va.; at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland; and in Washington, D.C.,” said Steve Hottman, interim director of the Physical Science Laboratory. “And those are just our permanent locations. We have people who work around the world, from the Arctic Slope to Antarctica, and at numerous points in between.”
The reach of PSL’s work is extensive, but its beginnings humble.
“PSL started right after World War II and one of its roles was to supply employment for students and spouses,” Hottman said. “We still have this role of giving students experiential activities – real projects – supervised and mentored by our staff.”
In addition, Hottman sees continued focus on PSL’s principal domains of aerospace and information science, and ensuring that PSL is positioned to best serve its primary customer base of Federal agencies during a time when these agencies face funding pressures.
“We must be properly positioned to provide the best service possible and be aligned to take care of the requirements of these agencies,” he added.
While much of PSL’s business is with Federal agencies, it also works in the area of economic development in New Mexico, partnering with the Arrowhead Center on some initiatives. PSL also provides meaningful jobs for graduates in the state.
As a research, development, testing and evaluation contractor, PSL performs a wide variety of research, testing and validation for the Department of Defense and other Federal government departments and agencies and is widely known as an expert agency in the field of unmanned aircraft systems.
“We are the only flight test center in southern New Mexico,” Hottman said. “We have an unmanned aircraft systems coalition across the state – and access to aerospace – and performing that research and development. This work does touch many parts of the state, but also reaches nationally and internationally.”
Hottman has been at PSL since June 1998 and is currently working on his dissertation in engineering psychology, with a focus on unmanned aircraft systems, at NMSU. He has a master’s degree of industrial engineering from Texas A&M University.