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GTRI Names ICL Lab Director James McGarrah Chief of Staff

Published: April 4, 2013


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Georgia Tech Vice President and Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) Director Robert McGrath has announced that Information and Communications Laboratory (ICL) Director James “Jim” McGarrah will be the new Chief of Staff, effective May 1, 2013.

McGarrah will report to the Director, and will serve as part of the GTRI leadership team, which consists of Deputy Director of Research Tom McDermott, Deputy Director of Support Lisa Sills and Senior Director of Financial Administration Rebecca Caravati. As Chief of Staff, McGarrah will serve as the ambassador and spokesperson for GTRI, facilitating visits by VIPs and participating in internal and external networking events.

He will assist and advise McGrath by managing overall communications, staff support, organizing meetings, setting agendas, coordinating with campus on state and federal government relations, and communicating with various internal and external audiences. He will also inform the director and leadership team to support timely decisions on GTRI and Georgia Tech strategic and operational matters.

Recruited in 2008 to head up ICL, McGarrah served in the Navy for 37 years, culminating in his promotion to the rank of Rear Admiral. He also spent 24 years working for Southern Bell, BellSouth and Cingular Wireless, leaving as Executive Director of National Network Engineering and Operations during his service in the Navy’s Reserve components.

“As one of our lab directors, Jim comes into the chief of staff role with intimate knowledge of how GTRI operates and communicates internally,” McGrath said. “He knows our role as Georgia Tech’s largest and most applied research institute, and he can communicate the indispensable contributions that GTRI makes to our vast array of defense R&D customers.”

From 2006 to 2008, McGarrah served as a special assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense. He is serving as the Georgia State Chair and the Chair of the Training Subcommittee for the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve organization. He is a member of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, Business Executives for National Security (BENS), both the National and Georgia societies of Professional Engineers, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the National Defense Industrial Association and the Navy League of the United States.

McGarrah earned his bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from the United States Naval Academy, and master’s degrees in human resources management from Pepperdine University and in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech.