"It was a very difficult decision," said Thrash. "It's not one of leaving, but of going."
Overall, when the Air Zoo museum offered him the position, Thrash said it was an opportunity he could not pass up.
"This really speaks to the heart of my passion," said Thrash, who wanted to get back into the aerospace industry.
Thrash had led the independent nonprofit organization since March 2009 and has increased its emphasis on scientific workforce development.
MaryAnn Woods Przekurat, The Da Vinci Science Center's director of finance and human resources, will serve as the organization's interim CEO starting Jan. 24. A search process for a new CEO is under way.
Thrash, who lives in Macungie, will begin his new position Jan. 28. As president and CEO, he would be responsible for the daily operations of the museum and become the face of the organization to the public.