Mission Crew

 

Walt Cunningham

Col. Walt Cunningham

USMC-Ret.
APOLLO 7

Walter Cunningham, a member of the third group of astronauts selected by NASA, was the Lunar Module pilot on the first manned Apollo mission, Apollo 7, an 11-day Earth-orbit flight in October 1968. He was born in Creston, Iowa, on March 16, 1932.

He received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in physics in 1960 and a Master of Arts degree in physics in 1961 from the University of California at Los Angeles. He worked as a scientist with the RAND Corporation before becoming an astronaut. He attended the Advanced Management Program, Harvard School of Business, in 1974. Cunningham joined the Navy in 1951 and began flight training in 1952. He joined a Marine squadron in 1953 and served with the Marine Corps until 1956 and in the Marine Corps Reserve program until 1975. He holds the rank of Colonel, USMC (retired).

NASA selected him as an astronaut in October 1963, and on October 11, 1968, he, Commander Walter Schirra and Command Module pilot Donn Eisele were launched aboard Apollo 7 – a spacecraft that had been almost completely redesigned after the first Apollo crew died in the Apollo 1 launch pad fire on January 27, 1967. The 260-hour, 4 1/2-million-mile flight was a complete success and provided NASA with confidence to send the next Apollo crew, Apollo 8, into orbit around the moon. Cunningham retired from NASA in 1975 and two years later, a book about his experiences as an astronaut, “The All American Boys,” was published by Macmillan. He currently is president of Acorn Ventures, Inc., Houston. Cunningham serves on the Board of Directors of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. Walt Cunningham was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame on October 4, 1997.

VIEW NASA BIO

Charlie Duke

Brig. Gen. Charlie Duke

USAF-Ret.
APOLLO 16

Charles M. Duke Jr. explored the rugged highlands of the moon’s Descartes region with John Young during the Apollo 16 mission in April 1972.

Duke was born October 3, 1935, in Charlotte, North Carolina. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in naval sciences from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1957 and a Master of Science in aeronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1964. Following his graduation and commission from the Naval Academy, Duke entered the U.S. Air Force and received flying training at Spence Air Base, Georgia, and Webb Air Force Base, Texas. He completed advanced training in F-86L aircraft at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. He served three years with the 526th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, before transferring to the Aerospace Research Pilot School. Upon graduation from the school he remained on as an instructor, teaching control systems and flying in F-101, F-104 and T-33 aircraft.

Duke was among 19 new astronauts selected by NASA in April 1966. After serving as a member of the astronaut support crew for Apollo 13, he was named Lunar Module pilot for Apollo 16, along with Commander John Young and Command Module pilot T.K. Mattingly. They were launched April 16, 1972, and reached the moon three days later. While Mattingly orbited the moon in the command ship “Casper,” Young and Duke landed their lunar ship “Orion” on the Cayley Plain in the Descartes highlands. During three outside excursions over three days, they drove a Lunar Rover 16 miles and collected 213 pounds of lunar rock and soil. In 1975, Duke retired from NASA to enter private business. He is a president of Charlie Duke Enterprises, Inc., and is an active speaker and Christian lay witness. He is a brigadier general in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. Duke serves on the Board of Directors of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. Charles Duke was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame on October 4, 1997.

VIEW NASA BIO

Al Worden

Col. Al Worden

USAF-Ret.
APOLLO 15

Alfred “Al” Worden (born February 7, 1932), is a retired Colonel in the USAF and an American astronaut and engineer who was the Command Module Pilot for the Apollo 15 lunar mission in 1971. He is one of only 24 people to have flown to the Moon.

Following time spent in the USAF as a test pilot and instructor, Al Worden was one of the 19 astronauts selected by NASA in April 1966 and served as support and backup crew for many early Apollo flights. Al served as Command Module Pilot for Apollo 15, which flew between July 26 and August 7, 1971. Mission achievements particular to Al include the first scientific instrument module bay flown and operated on an Apollo spacecraft and the first EVA from a Command Module during transearth coast. Additionally, Al has been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “Most isolated human being” during his time alone in the Command Module Endeavour. When the orbiting Command Module was at its greatest distance from Dave Scott and Jim Irwin in the Falcon, Al Worden was 2,235 miles away from any other human beings. Whilst performing humanity’s first deep-space EVA during Apollo 15’s homeward journey and Al logged 38 minutes in extravehicular activity outside the Command Module, Endeavour.

In completing his three excursions to Endeavour’s scientific instrument module bay, Al retrieved film cassettes from the panoramic and mapping cameras, performing the first deep-space EVA and reported his personal observations of the general condition of equipment housed there. Apollo 15 concluded with a Pacific splashdown and subsequent recovery by USS Okinawa. In completing his space flight, Worden logged 295 hours and 11 minutes in space. After the Apollo program, Al was Senior Aerospace Scientist followed by chief of the Systems Study Division at the NASA Ames Research Center from 1972 to 1975.

After retirement from NASA and active duty in 1975, Al became President of Maris Worden Aerospace, Inc., and then staff Vice President of BG Goodrich Aerospace. Al also served as Chairman of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation until 2011, providing scholarships to exceptional science and engineering students. Al now spends much of his time engaged in public speaking and visiting schools to raise the profile of STEM subjects. In 2011, Al’s memoir Falling To Earth made the top 12 of the LA Times Bestseller list.

VIEW NASA BIO

 

Speakers & Moderators

 

Saba Abashawl

Saba Abashawl

Chief External Affairs Officer
Houston Airport System

As Deputy Director of the Houston Airport System, Saba manages the External Affairs division for Global Industry Relations, Government Affairs and Corporate Communications. She leads a variety of Business Development initiatives that together, provide a vital support network for new and expanded air service in Houston. This means a greater level of connectivity for millions of Houstonians, fueling economic growth.

Saba also serves as Executive Officer for the Mayor of Houston in foreign affairs and business development initiatives, fostering economic vitality for both the Houston Airport System and the greater Houston region.  She organized trade missions to numerous countries in the Americas, Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Asia, affording Houston businesses significant contacts and joint venture opportunities.   Her efforts not only seek to maximize the number of nonstop flights available to Houston, but also position and reinforce Houston as a “global gateway” destination to international leaders.

Saba holds a Master’s degree in International Finance and Business from the University of St. Thomas, and is an active member of numerous civic and professional organizations.

E: Saba.Abashawl@houstontx.gov
T: (281) 233-1829
fly2houston.com

Richard Aboulafia

Richard Aboulafia

Vice President
Teal Group

Richard is Vice President of Analysis at Teal Group. He manages consulting projects in the commercial and military aircraft field and analyzes broader defense and aerospace trends. He has advised numerous aerospace companies, including most prime and many second- and third-tier contractors in the US, Europe and Asia. He also advises numerous financial institutions on aerospace market conditions.

Richard writes and edits Teal Group's World Military and Civil Aircraft Briefing, a forecasting tool covering over 135 aircraft programs and markets. He also writes publicly about aviation and defense, with regular columns in Aviation Week and Space Technology and at Forbes.com. His articles have also appeared in Slate.com, the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Professional Pilot, and other publications. Frequently cited as an aviation industry authority by trade and news publications, Richard has also appeared on numerous television news and radio programs including ABC, BBC, Bloomberg, Reuters, CBS, CNN, NBC, NPR and PBS. He has spoken at numerous conferences, including ATRIF, NAFA, NARA, Network for Aerospace Management in Europe (NAME), and Speednews.

He presents a yearly lecture to the National Defense University/Industrial College of the Armed Forces and has served as an expert witness in aerospace markets. Before he joined Teal Group in 1990, Richard analyzed the jet engine market at Jane's Information Group, served as an aerospace industry consultant for an international trade advisory company and supported research projects at the Brookings Institution. He has a Masters degree in War Studies from King’s College, University of London and a Bachelors degree from George Washington University. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife, Casey, son, Simon, and daughter, Wren.

HE Al Ahbbi

H.E. Dr. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi

Director General
UAE Space Agency

H.E Dr. Mohamed Nasser Al Ahbabi has been appointed as Director General of the UAE Space Agency after having the responsibility of designing and creating the agency.

He obtained his first Degree in the USA, then his MSc and PhD in the United Kingdom within the Information and Communication Technologies domain where he has published more than 20 scientific papers. Dr Ahbabi has contributed and led numerous strategic projects in the ICT domain towards the benefit of the UAE government. He has also led a UAE Armed Forces Think Tank Project within the Centre of Excellence. His role embedded advising the military and government at a strategic level on emerging concepts and technologies in the area of smart defense, cyber warfare and space developments. He was the head of YAHSAT MilSatCom and other Space Projects. He has an active role in ITU-R, UN Space working groups and ICT professional associations. Dr Ahbabi is also a key speaker in a number of international conferences in the area of Smart Defense, mil-Space, Cybersecurity, and Smart governments. He is also a board member of YahSat Company, UAEU Council and of the UAE ICT fund.

In his role as the Director General of the UAE Space Agency, he leads a team of 50 that manages the UAE’s space sector. He is responsible for realizing the agency’s goals of growing this Sector. He recommends the National Space Strategy and related laws, policies, and regulations to the government. He promotes and supports Industrial and R&D space projects. Dr. Al Ahbabi is also responsible for establishing and maintaining international relationships and partnerships, coordinating with national concerned authorities and providing guidance to non-government space sector organizations. In his role as the Director General of the UAE Space Agency, he leads a team of 50 that manages the UAE’s space sector. He is responsible for realizing the agency’s goals of growing this Sector. He recommends the National Space Strategy and related laws, policies, and regulations to the government. He promotes and supports Industrial and R&D space projects. Dr. Al Ahbabi is also responsible for establishing and maintaining international relationships and partnerships, coordinating with national concerned authorities and providing guidance to non-government space sector organizations.

David Alexander

Dr. David Alexander

OBE, Director and Professor Physics and Astronomy
Rice Institute

David Alexander is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, where his primary areas of research are solar physics, exoplanetary physics and earth remote sensing.  He also serves as the Director of the Rice Space Institute, where he is responsible for providing vision, direction, and leadership, managing the various institute programs, identifying and fostering research opportunities for our faculty, and interacting with government and the space industry.

Professor Alexander was recently named an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty the Queen in the Birthday Honours List of June 2018 for services to US/UK connections in the space industry and higher education. He received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2004 and was appointed a Kavli Frontiers Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences in 2006.  He is a former Chair of the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society and former Chair of the NSF Solar Heliospheric Interplanetary Environment (SHINE) program.  Professor Alexander has served on many national and professional committees including the NASA Advisory Council’s Heliophysics Subcommittee and the NASA Solar Heliospheric Management and Operations Working Group (SH-MOWG).  He currently serves on the advisory board of SpaceCom, the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture at the University of Houston and on the editorial boards of Space Science Reviews and ROOM: The Space Journal.  He has been named a GlobalScot by the Scottish government  and appointed to the UNESCO EOLSS subcommittee on the Science of Space. He was also recently elected to the Board of Directors of the American Astronautical Society.

Professor Alexander joined the faculty at Rice in 2003, coming from the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto, California where he was a Staff Physicist working on the development of advanced space missions for solar physics.  He received his Bachelor of Science in Natural Philosophy and Astronomy, and his doctorate on Relativistic Cosmological Models from the University of Glasgow.

E: dalex@rice.edu
T: (713) 348-3633
rsi.rice.edu

Steven Ansley

COL Steven R. Ansley

Director, CCDC-Atlantic
U.S. Army
Sirisha Bandla

Sirisha Bandla

Business Development and Government Affairs Manager
Virgin Orbit

Sirisha Bandla currently works on Government Affairs and Business Development for Virgin Galactic and its sister company, Virgin Orbit - supporting both LauncherOne and SpaceShipTwo programs. Previously, Sirisha served as the Associate Director for the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, an industry association of commercial spaceflight companies. At CSF, Sirisha works on various policies with the aim to promote the commercial space industry and make commercial spaceflight a reality. Before CSF, she worked as an aerospace engineer designing components for advanced aircraft at L-3 Communications in Greenville, Texas. She has a Bachelors of Science degree in aeronautical/astronautical engineering from Purdue and holds a Masters of Business Administration from George Washington University. Sirisha currently serves on the Board of Directors for the American Astronautical Society, Future Space Leaders Foundation, and is a member of the Young Professional Advisory Council at Purdue University. Sirisha also helps to coordinate the Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Program.

Jim Bridenstine

Jim Bridenstine

NASA Administrator
NASA

James Frederick “Jim” Bridenstine was nominated by President Donald Trump, confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and sworn in as NASA’s 13th administrator on April 23, 2018. Bridenstine was elected in 2012 to represent Oklahoma’s First Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served on the Armed Services Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee. Bridenstine’s career in federal service began in the U.S. Navy, flying the E-2C Hawkeye off the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier. It was there that he flew combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and accrued most of his 1,900 flight hours and 333 carrier-arrested landings. He later moved to the F-18 Hornet and flew at the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, the parent command to TOPGUN. After transitioning from active duty to the U.S. Navy Reserve, Bridenstine returned to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to be the Executive Director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium. Bridenstine was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander in 2012 while flying missions in Central and South America in support of America’s war on drugs. Most recently, he transitioned to the 137th Special Operations Wing of the Oklahoma Air National Guard. Bridenstine completed a triple major at Rice University, and earned his MBA at Cornell University. He has three children with his wife, Michelle.

Lisa Brown

Dr. Lisa Brown

​State Commerce Director
Washington State

Lisa J. Brown, Ph.D., was appointed Commerce director by Gov. Inslee and began serving the agency in February of 2019. Prior to serving as Commerce director, she served as chancellor of Washington State University, where she led the health science campus in Spokane. Lisa served in the Washington State Legislature from 1996 – 2013 in the Senate where she was majority leader and chaired the Rules Committee, Ways and Means Committee, and Energy, Technology and Telecommunications Committee. She served in the state House of Representatives from 1993 – 1996, where she was minority whip and minority floor leader. She has worked extensively on economic development in Eastern Washington and on gender equity. Prior to state office, she was an associate professor of economics at Eastern Washington University and an associate professor of leadership at Gonzaga University. Lisa earned her bachelor’s degree in economics at the University of Illinois and her master’s and doctoral degrees in economics from the University of Colorado in Boulder.

Luc Brule

Luc Brûlé

Vice President
Canadian Space Agency

Luc Brûlé has been Vice President of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) since April 1, 2014. As the President’s senior advisor, the Vice President is the chief of day-to-day operations at the CSA, monitoring the use of resources, ensuring operations run smoothly and promoting the Agency’s science and technology objectives.

Previously, he was Director General of Space Utilization for the CSA. In this position, he was responsible for the overall planning of the Space Utilization Branch, which is tasked with end-to-end implementation of Earth observation, satellite communications and elements of the space environment of the CSA Space Program.

Following a career at the Department of National Defence, Luc joined the CSA in 1991, where he held a number of director positions, the most recent being Director of Space Exploration Development. With a bachelor’s degree in physical engineering and a master’s in nuclear engineering, Luc, working in various capacities over the years, has acquired substantial experience with the Canadian RADARSAT program.

As manager of the program for the development and successful launch of RADARSAT-2, Luc was responsible for the Technology and Management Applications Directorate for two years, until he became the Director of Exploration Development.

Tory Buno

Tory Bruno

CEO
United Launch Alliance (ULA)

Salvatore T. “Tory” Bruno is the president and chief executive officer for United Launch Alliance (ULA). In this role, Bruno serves as the principal strategic leader of the organization and oversees all business management and operations.

Prior to joining ULA, he served as the vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Strategic and Missile Defense Systems. The business is a leading provider of ballistic missile and ballistic missile defense systems, supporting U.S. Department of Defense customers, as well as the U.K. Royal Navy and Ministry of Defence. Programs included the Navy’s Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM), the Air Force’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Reentry Systems, and the Missile Defense Agency’s Terminal High Area Altitude Defense (THAAD), Targets and Countermeasures and Common Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) Concept Definition. He also managed the corporation’s responsibilities in Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Management Limited, a joint venture that produces and safely maintains the U.K.’s nuclear weapons. He is a former member of the board of directors of Lockheed Martin U.K. Ltd. Bruno joined Lockheed Martin in 1984. He previously served as vice president and general manager of FBM and ICBM, as vice president of the THAAD Missile, as vice president of Engineering, as chief engineer for Strategic Missile Programs, as program manager for FBM Rocket Propulsion and in engineering positions involving design and analysis for control systems of rockets and hypersonic reentry vehicles. He holds several patents.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the California Polytechnic State University, in San Luis Obispo, California, and has completed graduate courses and management programs at Harvard University, Santa Clara University, the Wye River Institute, San Jose State University and the Defense Acquisition University. Bruno is serving as a member of the National Space Council Users’ Advisory Group chaired by Vice President Pence. In addition, he is an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Fellow, a companion of the Naval Order of the United States, a member of the Navy League and a former member of the Board of Directors of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. He served on the National Blue Ribbon Panel for Bettering Engineering & Science Education and as Chairman of the Diversity Council of Lockheed Martin Space Systems. He is the author of two books that explore the organization of the medieval Knights Templar from the perspective of modern business management: “Templar Organization: The Management of Warrior Monasticism” and “Templar Incorporated.” He is a recipient of the Order of Merit of the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem.

Lisa Callahan

Lisa Callahan

Vice President & General Manager, Commercial Civil Space
Lockheed Martin

Lisa B. Callahan is Vice President and General Manager of the Commercial Civil Space line of business for Lockheed Martin Space.  In this role, she is responsible for all aspects of execution and growth for Commercial and Civil markets in human and robotic deep space exploration, communications and weather and remote sensing.  Ms. Callahan is also responsible for Michoud Operations and related activity at Stennis Space Center.

 In her previous role as Vice President of Corporate Internal Audit of Lockheed Martin Corporation – reporting directly to the Lockheed Martin Audit Committee of the Board of Directors – Ms. Callahan provided independent, objective assurance and advisory activity to improve the Corporation’s operations.  Under her leadership, Corporate Internal Audit determined the adequacy and effectiveness of the Corporation’s network of risk management, internal control, and governance processes as designed and represented by management.

Her prior leadership roles also include Vice President and General Manager of the Mission Systems & Training Undersea Systems line of business for Lockheed Martin Corporation, Vice President of Lockheed Martin Corporation’s Maritime Ballistic Missile Defense Program, and Program Director for Lockheed Martin’s Simulation Training and Support business.

Ms. Callahan graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering.  Currently, she is a member of the Dean of Engineering Advisory Board.

Anthony Cambello

Antonio Campello 

President and CEO
EmbraerX

Antonio Campello has been President & CEO of EmbraerX since May 2017, leading innovation outposts in Silicon Valley and Boston to seek disruptive innovation, explore business opportunities for the future of air transportation and procure partnerships that will enable new business models and technologies.

With a career spanning more than 30 years at Embraer, Mr. Campello has held key leadership roles in Corporate Strategy, Corporate Excellence, New Business Development, Technology Development, Program Management, Industrial Integration and Engineering.

Antonio Campello holds an Electrical Engineering degree from the Polytechnic School of the University of São Paulo, Brazil, in addition to an MBA from Fundação Getúlio Vargas in São Paulo, and a PhD in Product Development Management from Loughborough University, in the UK.

John Cooney

John Cooney

Chief of Staff, International Trade Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce

John Cooney became the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Services on April 15, 2019. He also serves as the Chief of Staff for the International Trade Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce. As Chief of Staff, he is responsible for directing support to the Under Secretary for International Trade in administering overall operations of the bureau. Prior to becoming Chief of Staff in August of 2017, John joined the International Trade Administration as a Senior Advisor.

Before joining the U.S Department of Commerce, John served in senior roles for U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (SC), U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14) and retired U.S. Representative Jim Ramstad (MN-3).

A native Midwesterner, John started his professional career at the Minnesota Legislature focused on small business tax and education policies. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in Political Science where he was also a Policy Fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Matthew P. Donovan

Matthew P. Donovan

Acting Secretary of the Air Force
U.S. Air Force

JMatthew Donovan is the Acting Secretary of the Air Force and is responsible for the affairs of the Department of the Air Force, including the organizing, training and equipping and providing for the welfare of 685,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve, and civilian forces as well as their families. He oversees the Air Force’s annual budget of more than $138 billion and directs strategy and policy development, risk management, weapons acquisition, technology investments and human resource management across a global enterprise.

Mr. Donovan enlisted in the Air Force in 1977 and received his commission through the Air Force Officer Training School in January 1982. While on active duty, he gained an extensive background in Air Force operations, commanded a fighter squadron and the Air Force Officer Training School, held a variety of operational flying and staff assignments at the wing, major command and joint and combined staff levels, and was an Air Combat Command F-15C demonstration pilot. Mr. Donovan is a graduate of the Air Force School of Advanced Airpower Studies and the Army Advanced Operational Art Studies Fellowship. He was a command pilot with more than 2,900 flight hours in the F-15C Eagle and F-5E Tiger II, including combat sorties during Operation Southern Watch.

Mr. Donovan retired from active duty as a colonel in 2008 and became a senior defense policy analyst in the defense industry. He then transitioned to government civil service, culminating as director of staff, Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Programs, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. Following this assignment, Mr. Donovan transitioned to legislative affairs as a professional staff member for the Senate Armed Services Committee. As a professional staff member, he managed all matters for the Committee related to Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps fixed wing aircraft, manned and unmanned tactical aviation programs, and Air Force bomber, mobility and special mission aircraft, as well as research and development, aircraft procurement and sustainment programs. Most recently, Mr. Donovan served as Majority Policy Director for the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Dan Elwell

Dan Elwell

Acting Administrator
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

Daniel K. Elwell is the Acting Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In this capacity, he is responsible for the safety and efficiency of the largest aerospace system in the world — a system that operates more than 50,000 flights per day. He oversees a $16.4 billion-dollar budget, more than 47,000 employees, and is focused on ensuring the agency and its employees are the best prepared and trained professionals to meet the growing demands and requirements of the industry. Mr. Elwell also oversees the FAA's multibillion-dollar NextGen air traffic control modernization program as the U.S. shifts from ground-based radar to state-of-the-art satellite technology.

Prior to serving as Acting Administrator, Mr. Elwell was the Deputy Administrator of the FAA. President Trump announced the appointment of Mr. Elwell as the Deputy Administrator in June 2017 and he was sworn in to office on June 26, 2017. Elwell previously served at the FAA as the Assistant Administrator for Policy, Planning, and Environment from 2006-2008. Most recently, he was Senior Advisor on Aviation to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.

Earlier in his career, he served as a legislative fellow for the late Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska). From 2013-2015, as Senior Vice President for Safety, Security, and Operations at Airlines for America (A4A), Elwell was responsible for leading the advancement of commercial aviation safety and security excellence for major U.S. air carriers. Prior to A4A, Elwell was Vice President of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) from 2008-2013. In this role, Elwell represented civil aerospace manufacturers and led policy development and advocacy for the civil aerospace manufacturing interests of more than 300 AIA member companies.

Elwell was a commercial pilot for 16 years with American Airlines, flying DC-10, MD-80, and B-757/767 aircraft. While maintaining his proficiency as an MD-80 Captain, he served as Managing Director for International and Government Affairs at American Airlines. Dan earned his pilot wings at Williams Air Force Base in Arizona after graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in International Affairs. Lieutenant Colonel Elwell retired from military service as a Command Pilot with more than 6,000 hours combined civilian and military flight time in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Air Force Reserve, including combat service during Operation Desert Storm.

Eric Fanning

Eric Fanning

President & CEO
Aerospace Industries Association (AIA)

Eric Fanning is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), the leading advocacy organization for the aerospace and defense industry with nearly 350 companies in its membership – ranging from multinational prime contractors to family-owned businesses.

As AIA’s leader, Fanning develops the association’s strategic priorities and works with member CEOs to advocate for policies and responsible budgets that keep our country strong, bolster our capacity to innovate and spur our economic growth. Fanning joined AIA after serving as the 22nd Secretary of the Army where he provided leadership and oversight of our nation’s largest military service. He previously served as Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense, Acting Secretary of the Air Force and Under Secretary of the Air Force, and Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy/Deputy Chief Management Officer. He is the only person to have held senior appointments in all three military departments and the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

During his more than 25 years of distinguished government service, Fanning worked on the staff of the House Armed Services Committee, was Senior Vice President of Strategic Development for Business Executives for National Security, was Deputy Director of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, and was associate director of political affairs at the White House.

Fanning holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Dartmouth College. His awards include the Department of Defense’s Medal for Distinguished Public Service (twice awarded), the Department of the Army’s Decoration for Distinguished Civilian Service, the Department of the Navy’s Distinguished Public Service Award (twice awarded) and the Department of the Air Force’s Distinguished Public Service Award and Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service.

Alan Faver

Alan Faver

US Aerospace & Defense Risk and Financial Advisory Leader
Deloitte

Alan is a partner in Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory for Deloitte & Touche LLP. He serves as the Aerospace and Defense (A&D) leader of Deloitte’s Risk and Financial Advisory practice and serves in various client leadership roles. He brings more than 25 years of experience focused on helping companies with their internal control, information systems, financial processes, and accounting disciplines, as well as internal auditing, external auditing, and other assurance examinations. Alan is a certified public accountant and leverages his broad experience base to serve clients with a well-rounded understanding of complex business, financial, and information technology processes, as well as a valued perspective on compliance and governance processes.

Roei Ganzarski

Roei Ganzarski

CEO
MagniX

Roei Ganzarski is CEO of magniX, an electric propulsion technology company. magniX is poised to disrupt the aerospace & defense industry with its advanced electric engines that will enable transportation capabilities and services never possible before. Prior to magniX, Roei was CEO of BoldIQ for six years. BoldIQ is a global provider of dynamic real-time scheduling optimization software. Under Roei’s leadership, BoldIQ grew from a seed software startup to a profitable multi-million dollar SaaS company with customers worldwide and across industries. Before BoldIQ, Roei was with the Boeing family of companies for thirteen years in continuously increasing roles of responsibility. His last role at Boeing was Chief Customer Officer for Boeing’s Flight Services division where he led all worldwide customer and market facing organizations and was responsible for revenue growth and customer service. Other experiences prior to Boeing include private investment banking, corporate finance, advertising, and the military. He is a graduate of Wharton’s Advanced Management Program, earned an MBA from the University of Washington, and a BA in Economics from The University of Haifa.

Elisa Garcia Diaz

Elisa Garcia Diaz

Head of R&T Cooperation
AIRBUS

Elisa graduated from ETSIA - Superior Technical School of Aeronautical Engineers with a Master's degree in the field of Aerospace, aeronautics and astronautics engineering, where she worked in R&T in the field of computational fluid dynamics She joined the Airbus Eurofighter Team right after graduation and has held key positions and responsibilities over a career of 20 years mostly related to the management of the external ecosystem to Airbus.

Starting with positions as; Procurement Engineer, then In Service Support Manager, Head of Export Business Management and Vice President Sales Support and Industrial Participation, Eurofighter GmbH. Later while at Airbus Defense and Space Elisa held ever more responsibilities as; Senior Manager Head of Project Sourcing Mission Systems, Senior Manager Head of ILS / EIS Components, Senior Manager HO UAV & Combat Procurement Bids and Programs.

In the last two years she was acting as Head of Bid and Programme Procurement CIS & DTO where she managed procurement requirements for the Programs Communications, Intelligence and Security (CIS) and Digital Transformation Office (DTO) office. As of March 2019, Elisa was named Head of Research and Technology Cooperation.

Dyan Gibbens

Dyan Gibbens

Founder & CEO
Trumbull Unmanned

Dyan studied engineering, instructed skydiving, and learned to fly at the US Air Force Academy. While serving as an Acquisitions Officer and engineer, she earned her MBA. Dyan then supported Air Force One and Global Hawk UAS engineering and logistics. Her PhD research in industrial engineering and management focused on unmanned systems (drones), RFID/wireless systems and computer vision/machine learning. In 2019, Google selected Dyan for their Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC) focused on AI ethics.

Since 2013, Dyan has led Trumbull, a Forbes Top 25 veteran founded startup, focused on automation, data, and environmental resilience in energy and defense. In 2015, Fortunenamed Dyan as a woman shaping the drone industry. After supporting White House Drone Workshops during the Obama and Trump administrations, Dyan supported AI and the future of work at G7-I7 as a US delegate. In 2018, Dyan started the Autonome Foundation (autonome.org) focused on human-centered AI, digital ethics, and STEM and founded multiple drone scholarships. Entrepreneur recently recognized Trumbull in 100 Brilliant Companies. 

E: Dyan@trumbull.io
T: (281) 624-6827
trumbullunmanned.com

Cyrus Habib

Cyrus Habib

State Lt. Governor
Washington State

Cyrus Habib was elected Lieutenant Governor of Washington state in November 2016 at the age of 35. He had previously been elected to the State House of Representatives in 2012 and the State Senate in 2014, where he was Democratic Whip and a member of the Democratic leadership team. As Lt. Governor, he is President of the State Senate, serves as Acting Governor whenever Governor Inslee leaves the state, and oversees an agency whose key issues include economic development, trade, and higher education. Since early 2019, he has served as co-chair of the Democratic Lieutenant Governor’s Association. A three-time cancer survivor, Lt. Governor Habib has been fully blind since age eight. His parents immigrated to the U.S. from Iran before he was born, and he is the first and only Iranian-American to hold statewide elected office in the United States. He is a graduate of Columbia University, Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and Yale Law School, where he was Editor of the Yale Law Journal. Lt. Governor Habib practiced law at Perkins Coie, and served as Distinguished Lawmaker in Residence at Seattle University Law School. He is a Truman Scholar, a Soros Fellow, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and has been named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

William Harris

William Harris

President and Chief Executive Officer
Space Center Houston 

William T. Harris is the President and CEO of Space Center Houston and Manned Space Flight Education Foundation, the nonprofit science and space museum. Space Center Houston is the No. 1 international attraction in the greater Houston area and generates $73 million in annual economic impact, 925 jobs and $36 million in personal income. A Smithsonian Affiliate, the center is the Official Visitor Center of NASA’s Johnson Space Center and sited as “The Big Draw” by USA Today.  Joining the foundation and Center in April 2016, Harris has more than 30 years in nonprofit leadership including senior positions at museums and universities. 

He previously was at the California Science Center Foundation as senior vice president of development and marketing.  He serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of ASTC (Association of Science-Technology Centers). 

E: wharris@spacecenter.org
T: (281) 244-2121  
spacecenter.org

Henrik Hololei

DG Henrik Hololei

Director-General for Mobility and Transport
European Commission

Mr. Henrik is an economist by training and holds degrees from Tallinn Technical University and Aarhus University in Denmark. He held various positions in the Estonian Government Office between 1995 and 2004. He was mainly responsible for coordinating the work for the Estonian accession to the European Union, working directly with the Government and Prime Minister. In 2001-2002 he was Minister of Economy. In 2002-2003 he represented the Estonian Government in the Convention on the Future of Europe. In 2004 he moved to the European Commission as Head of Cabinet of Vice President Siim Kallas. Mr. Kallas' first mandate 2004-2010 dealt with Administration, Audit and Anti-Fraud while during his second mandate he was responsible for Transport. From November 2013 he was Deputy Secretary General of the European Commission. On October 2015 he became Director-General for Mobility and Transport in the European Commission. Throughout the years, he was awarded the Grand Cross of the Lion from the President of Finland, the 3rd Class Order of the White Star from the President of Estonia and the Chevalier de l'Ordre du Mérite from the President of France. In May 2014, the Estonian European Movement named him "European of the Year".

General Hooper

Lieutenant General Charles Hooper

Director
Defense Security Cooperation Agency

Lieutenant General Charles Hooper is the Director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. A native of Willingboro, New Jersey, he was commissioned in 1979 as an infantryman. LTG Hooper has served in command and staff assignments in the U.S. Army Armor Center, the 25th Infantry Division, the 82nd Airborne Division and the U.S. Army Recruiting Command.

His political-military assignments include: Assistant Army Attaché to the People's Republic of China, U.S. Embassy Beijing, China; Deputy Division Chief, War Plans Division, G35, Army Staff; Senior Country Director for China, Taiwan and Mongolia Policy, Office of the Secretary of Defense; Chief, Army International Affairs Division, G35, Army Staff; and as an instructor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

In 2007, LTG Hooper was promoted to brigadier general and appointed the U.S. Defense Attaché to the People's Republic of China serving from 2007 until 2009. He then served as the Deputy Director for Strategic Planning and Policy, J-5, United States Pacific Command from 2009 to 2011. LTG Hooper was promoted to major general in 2011 and served as the Director of Strategy, Plans, and Programs, J5, United States Africa Command from August 2011 until March 2014. From July 2014 until June 2017, LTG Hooper was Senior U.S. Defense Official/U.S. Defense Attaché and Chief, Office of Military Cooperation, U.S. Embassy Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt.

LTG Hooper is the senior U.S. Army Foreign Area Officer and has almost 16 years of security cooperation, security assistance and military attaché experience. LTG Hooper is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and earned a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from Harvard University in 1989. While at Harvard, LTG Hooper was awarded the Don K. Price Award for Academic Excellence and Public Service and was selected to give the graduate student address at the 1989 Harvard Commencement. In 2005, he returned to Harvard University as a Senior Research Fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army War College and the UK Ministry of Defense Chinese Language School, Hong Kong. He has earned the Ranger Tab, the Expert Infantryman Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Army Recruiter Badge and the French National Defense Medal. In addition, LTG Hooper is fluent in the Mandarin dialect of the Chinese language; the national language of China.

John Kajander

John Kajander

Strategic Business Consultant, Houston First Corporation
SpaceCom Representative

John Kajander is a business and life sciences consultant with more than 40 years of experience.  His clients have included HoustonF1rst Corporation, the South Texas Regional Advisory Council, Medical World Americas Conference and Exposition, the Methodist Health Ministries of San Antonio, the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce, the Houston Eating Disorders Center and others.  

During his career he has held executive positions at Texas Medical Center, the largest concentration of medical assets in the world and was Chief Executive Officer at The Institute for Rehabilitation & Research Systems (TIRR Systems), a health care organization that provides care to individuals with neurological and orthopedic injuries. Prior to joining TIRR Systems, Mr. Kajander was Executive Director of the Houston Area Health Care Coalition (HAHCC) for three years, and was executive director of the Texas Business Group on Health (TBGH), an "umbrella" organization of the 10 business coalitions in Texas, which represented 250 employers and six million covered lives. He has also held several management roles for a major petrochemical company and banking organizations.  

He serves or has served on several boards throughout the Texas Gulf Coast and is a Senior Fellow with the American Leadership Forum (ALF).  

E: jekajander@visithouston.com
T: (713) 853-8340
spacecomexpo.com

Parimal (PK) Kopardekar

Parimal (PK) Kopardekar

Director/Senior Technologist
NASA

Dr. Parimal Kopardekar (PK) serves as the Acting Director of NASA Aeronautics Research Institute (NARI). In that capacity, he is responsible for exploring new trends and needs related to aeronautics. He also serves as NASA's senior technologist for Air Transportation Systems and principal investigator for the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management (UTM). For UTM, he and the team won the Service to America Medals (known as Oscars of Federal Workforce) in Promising Innovation Category in 2018. He was named in top 25 most influential people in commercial UAS industry in 2017. He also won NASA exceptional technology medal in 2016. He is co-author of over 50 publications with 3 best paper awards. He is passionate about airspace operations, autonomy, advanced air mobility, and digital manufacturing and supply chains in aeronautics. He is co-editor-in-chief of Journal of Aerospace Operations and a fellow of American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Timothy Kopra

Timothy Kopra

Former Flight Engineer and Commander of the International Space Station, NASA
Blue Bear Capital

Tim Kopra is a partner with Blue Bear Capital, a venture capital firm investing in companies that provide digital technology solutions for the energy supply chain.  Prior to Blue Bear, Tim served in various leadership and operational roles at NASA as an engineer and astronaut.  While at NASA, Tim lived and worked on the International Space Station during two spaceflights, completing three spacewalks and logging 244 days in space.  In 2016, Tim served as the ISS Commander for Expedition 47.   

Tim served in the U.S. Army for 25 years as an Army aviator.  He was deployed to Operations Desert Shield and Storm and then commanded an AH-64 Attack Helicopter Company.  Following studies at Georgia Tech and completing the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School, Tim served as the Developmental Test Director for the Army’s Comanche Program until his assignment to NASA in 1998.  Tim was selected as an astronaut in 2000.

Tim earned his Bachelor of Science from the United States Military Academy, a Master of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College, a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech, and Masters of Business Administration from Columbia Business School and London Business School. 

E: tim@bluebearcap.com
T: (832) 758-0089
bluebearcap.com

Ed Kowalewski

Ed Kowalewski

Director of International Investment Programs
Empire State Development

Edward Kowalewski, Jr. joined the firm as a principal in 2017. Ed’s practice is concentrated in the areas of commercial and contract law, construction law and litigation, private and public contracting, surety payment and performance bond claims and defense, mechanic’s liens, contractual terminations, litigation, appeals, arbitration and mediation. Significant elements of his practice are focused on public and private commercial construction contracts and disputes, commercial real estate transactions, leasing and financing, and commercial collections. His clients include public and private owners, heavy highway, building, and mechanical trade contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, developers, and lenders. He has substantial experience litigating in many State and Federal Courts throughout the State.

Murali Krishnan

Murali Krishnan

Vice President & General Manager Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance
Harris Corporation

Murali Krishnan is vice president and general manager of the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) business unit within Harris Corporation’s Space and Intelligence Systems segment.

Space and Intelligence Systems offers complete Earth observation, weather, geospatial, space protection, and intelligence solutions from advanced sensors and payloads, ground processing, and information analytics. The ISR business provides ISR products and solutions in government, civil, and commercial markets, including space antennas, hosted payloads, space and air sensors, universe exploration, ground processing, and analytics. Krishnan is responsible for ensuring execution of existing programs, driving technology and business development to capture new opportunities, and leading the strategic priorities of Harris’ ISR business.

Prior to joining Harris in 2018, Krishnan served in executive program management roles in Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems and Missile Systems segments. In these roles, he led development, production, and life-cycle sustainment efforts for U.S. and international customers. Before taking on program management roles, Krishnan was in Raytheon’s Corporate Strategy group, where he worked with business segments to develop mission area and overall market strategies. Prior to Raytheon, Krishnan held a strategy consultant role at Bain & Company, specializing in strategy development, operational efficiency improvement, cost reduction, and mergers and acquisitions. Krishnan served 11 years in the U.S. Air Force as a pilot, flying the F-15C. He has over 1,500 hours of flight time in fighter aircraft, including 20 combat sorties over Iraq. Krishnan was the Distinguished Graduate (DG) of his Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training class, DG of his Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals class, and DG of his F-15C conversion training class. He was also one of only 50 selected across the Air Force for the prestigious Air Force Intern Program. Krishnan earned an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management, a master of arts degree in organizational management from George Washington University, and a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering from the United States Air Force Academy, where he graduated with both academic and military distinction.

Earl Lawrence

Earl Lawrence

Executive Director of the Aircraft Certification Service and the former head of the UAS Office
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

Earl Lawrence is the Executive Director of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Aircraft Certification Service, where he is responsible for type certification, production approval, airworthiness certification, and continued airworthiness of the U.S. civil aircraft fleet including commercial and general aviation activities. Lawrence oversees a professional workforce of more than 1,300 employees working in FAA Headquarters in Washington, DC, 35 field offices across the U.S., and two international offices located in Belgium and Singapore.

Prior to being named AIR’s Executive Director in 2018, Lawrence was the Executive Director of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Office, responsible for the facilitation of all regulations, policies, and procedures required to support the safe integration of UAS into the National Airspace System. Lawrence played a fundamental role in establishing, leading and successfully operationalizing this new organization. Lawrence also previously served as Manager of the FAA’s Small Airplane Directorate, where he managed airworthiness standards, continued operational safety, policy and guidance for small aircraft, gliders, light sport aircraft, airships, and balloons.

Robert Lightfoot

Robert Lightfoot

Vice President, Strategy & Business Development, Former Acting Administrator of NASA
Lockheed Martin

Robert Lightfoot is Vice President of Strategy & Business Development for Lockheed Martin Space. In this role, Robert is responsible for growing the Space business with a comprehensive strategy to develop new markets and keep programs sold. He also leads strategic planning, advanced technology concepts and new business acquisition efforts for each of the five lines of business.

Prior to joining Lockheed Martin, Robert served as the President of LSINC Corporation where he was responsible for leading innovative strategy assurance and product development to help clients achieve mission success. His extensive knowledge in managing a federal agency through times of significant change allows him to develop strategies and eliminate barriers that can impact necessary change for any organization.

Robert was the former Acting Administrator of the National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA). His permanent position at NASA Headquarters was Associate Administrator, the agency’s highest-ranking civil service position. He previously was director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, one of NASA’s largest field installations, which plays a critical role in NASA’s space operations, exploration and science missions. He spent much of his Marshall career in rocket engine testing and space shuttle propulsion office. He also served as director of the Propulsion Test Directorate at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. After Stennis, two years were spent at NASA Headquarters focused on strategies for the shuttle return to flight following the Columbia tragedy, then initial transition and retirement efforts for shuttle infrastructure.

Robin Lineberger

Robin Lineberger

Global Aerospace & Defense Leader
Deloitte

Robin is the leader of Deloitte's Aerospace & Defense (A&D) industry practice. His career includes 30 years as a consultant to the aerospace and defense sector, having advised and served companies globally. He was also the CEO of Deloitte's Federal Government Services practice. Previously, Robin was a commissioned officer in the US Air Force, where he led the software development and testing for a major command and control platform. Robin serves on the USO Board of Governors and is very active in supporting military veteran issues such as mentoring, employment, and medical recovery.

Arturo Machuca - Houston Airport

Arturo Machuca

General Manager
Houston Spaceport

Arturo Machuca is the General Manager of the Houston Airport System's Ellington Airport and The Houston Spaceport.  Arturo oversees the daily operations and the development and implementation of policies and procedures at both facilities.

With over 30 years of sales, marketing, and operations experience in the aviation industry, Arturo joined the Houston Airport System in 2009. His prior responsibilities included economic development, industry affairs and business development for Bush, Hobby and Ellington airports.

From the inception of the Houston Spaceport development, Arturo Machuca has been responsible for the licensing, planning, and commercialization of the project.

Arturo holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Hotels and Tourism Administration from Universidad Regiomontana.

E: Arturo.Machuca@houstontx.gov
T: (713) 847-4200
fly2houstonspaceport.com

Giuseppe (Joe) Marcheschi

Giuseppe (Joe) Marcheschi

Head of Strategic Procurement Support
Airbus

Joe started his career in aerospace in 1986 and held procurement and program management roles in Machinery fabricator, Aircraft Gear Manufacturer, Actuation and Landing Gear Manufacturer, Plant Manager of electrical products and finally before joining Airbus, Hybrid Aerostructures Manufacturer.

In 2013, Joe joined the Regional Sourcing office at Airbus Americas Headquarters in Herndon Virginia. He began as Procurement Director supporting the commodities of aerostructures, cabin and materials. In 2017 he was named Head of Strategic Procurement and he now oversees a team of aerospace specialists focused on; shaping the North American potential supply chain to meet the requirements of Airbus. Overall his team is responsible for identification and validation of new “flying parts” suppliers, procurement marketing and analyzing procurement trends in the region.

A graduate of L’Ecole Nationale de l’Aéronautique (Quebec), Joe is passionate about all things flying. In his spare time Joe is the eternal home renovator, landscape/gardener and sous-chef.

Jeff Matthews

Jeff Matthews

Space Specialist Leader
Deloitte

Jeff is a specialist leader at Deloitte Consulting LLP with more than 18 years of private and public sector experience focused on finance, enterprise architecture transformation, technology commercialization, and market strategy. Currently, he is a leader in Deloitte’s Government & Public Sector Space Industry practice where he provides subject matter expertise on commercial space technology trends, industry strategies, and launch systems economics.

Before joining Deloitte, Jeff served as the director of venture strategy and research for the Space Frontier Foundation where he was also a board member. His previous experience as an advisor in US$600 million + of venture capital raises for early stage technology companies, commercializing government technologies, and deep insight into the commercial space market allows him to bring a unique perspective to government and commercial clients. Jeff has contributed expertise and analysis on the space industry to Reuters, Forbes, NBC News, Discovery News, The Wharton School, the Open Group, and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

Jamie McCourt

Jamie McCourt 

U.S. Ambassador to France
U.S. Embassy

Jamie D. McCourt, of California, was confirmed by the Senate and sworn in on November 2, 2017, as the U.S. Ambassador to the French Republic and Principality of Monaco.

Ambassador McCourt is a former Owner, President, and CEO of the Los Angeles Dodgers, where under her leadership from 2004 to 2012, the Dodgers set club attendance records, won back-to-back division titles for the first time in 30 years, and returned to profitability. She is the founder and CEO of Jamie Enterprises, an entrepreneur, angel investor, real estate developer, educator, art collector, food and wine connoisseur and philanthropist, whose business and legal background, boundless energy and proficiency in identifying talent and opportunity has been the foundation for an accomplished career journey. As an avid supporter of the L.A. art community, Ambassador McCourt served for years on the Board of Trustees and the Finance Committee of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Board and Executive Committee of the Centre Pompidou Foundation. Additionally, she served on the Board of Trustees and various committees on The Museum of Contemporary Art. Ambassador McCourt was also appointed to the Board of Directors of the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. As a passionate supporter of financial self-sufficiency, Ambassador McCourt utilizes her unique experiences to engage young women in discussions about financial independence at institutions including Harvard, MIT and other top graduate business schools.

From 2005 to 2011, she taught the first accredited graduate level leadership course specifically designed for women at a leading business school, with her class “The Pursuit of Leadership: A Female Perspective” at UCLA Anderson School of Management. As an advocate for education, she served on UCLA Anderson School of Management’s Board of Advisors as well as the Americas Board at the MIT Sloan School of Management. She studied comparative law at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and received the Scopus award, the highest humanitarian honor given by the American Friends of the Hebrew University. As a former member of UNICEF’s Southern California Regional Board, she previously traveled with the US Fund for UNICEF to the Middle East and visited the Jordanian Za’atari refugee camp. Ambassador McCourt received a diploma from the Sorbonne. Furthermore, she studied gastronomy in Aix-en-Provence and has since channeled her passion for food and wine into several culinary ventures, including the purchase of a Napa Valley vineyard and the writing of a cookbook, “Jamie’s Road: Cooking in a Crowded Life.” She received her B.S. from Georgetown University, a J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law, and a M.S. in management from the MIT Sloan School of Management. The Ambassador has four adult sons who she often calls her best “start-ups.”

Demitrius McNeil

Demitrius McNeil

Director of Business and Economic Development
CenterState CEO

Demitrius McNeil serves as the director of business and economic development for the business development portfolio at CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity (CenterState CEO), based in Syracuse, New York. CenterState CEO is an independent and forward-thinking economic development strategist, business leadership organization and chamber of commerce; dedicated to the success of its members and the prosperity of the region.
In his role, McNeil will be coordinating with multiple brands under the UAS Central umbrella, where New York is leading the way in unmanned aerial systems development. Additionally, Demitrius will provide economic development support for the Central New York region.
Demitrius previously served as an account manager for the Pinckney Hugo Group, one the largest Marketing and Advertising agencies in Upstate, NY. He earned a dual bachelor's degree in business analytics and marketing from Le Moyne College.
About CenterState CEO
CenterState CEO is an independent and forward thinking economic development strategist, business leadership organization and chamber of commerce; dedicated to the success of its members and the prosperity of the region. Its vision is for a vibrant and globally connected CenterState NY region recognized as a place where business thrives and people prosper.
www.centerstateceo.com

Mark Peller

Mark Peller

Vice President for Engineering
United Launch Alliance (ULA)

Mark Peller is the vice president of major development at United Launch Alliance (ULA), and in this position is responsible for development of Vulcan. Vulcan is ULA’s future launch system that builds upon the ULA’s extensive Atlas and Delta heritage to provide a competitive product oering to serve a broad spectrum of markets. As the program manager, Peller has overall responsibility for developing the launch vehicle and the supporting capabilities required across the supply chain as well as ULA’s production and launch operations to meet the program’s objectives.

Peller began his career with Rockwell International in 1990 as a propulsion engineer supporting the Space Shuttle program. He joined The Boeing Company in 1996 when it acquired the aerospace and defense businesses of Rockwell. Peller moved to the Delta program in 1997 and held various technical and program management positions throughout the development and initial fielding of the Delta IV launch system. Peller continued his work on the Delta program at ULA after the company was formed in 2006. In 2009, he was appointed theproduct line chief engineer for Delta, where he had overall technical responsibility for the Delta II and Delta IV launch systems. During this period he oversaw 24 successful Delta launches, including the first launch of the Delta IV Heavy configuration from the West Coast. In 2013 Peller transitioned into the role of the director of the ULA Hardware Value Stream where he was responsible for managing the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) contracts with the U.S. Air Force, and leading the product teams supporting launch vehicle development, procurement, and production. Peller holds a Bachelor of Science degree in applied mechanics from the University of California, San Diego, a Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of California, Irvine. He is a licensed mechanical engineer in the state of California.

Dr. Will Roper

Dr. Will Roper

Assistant Secretary of the US Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics
U.S. Air Force

Dr. Will Roper is the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. As the Air Force’s Service Acquisition Executive, Dr. Roper is responsible for and oversees Air Force research, development and acquisition activities totaling an annual budget in excess of $40 billion for more than 465 acquisition programs. In this position, Dr. Roper serves as the principal advisor to the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force for research and development, test, production and modernization efforts within the Air Force. In addition to his Air Force responsibilities, Dr. Roper is the Service Acquisition Executive for the Joint Strike Fighter.

Prior to his current position, Dr. Roper was the founding Director of the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office. Established in 2012, the SCO imagines new—often unexpected and game-changing—uses of existing government and commercial systems: extending their shelf-life and restoring surprise to the military’s playbook. Since 2012, SCO has grown from an annual budget of $50 million to the current $1.5 billion request in the President’s 2018 budget with projects spanning new concepts such as hypervelocity artillery, multi-purpose missiles, autonomous fast-boats, smartphone-navigating weapons, big-data-enabled sensing, 3D-printed systems, standoff arsenal planes, fighter avatars and fighter-dispersed swarming micro-drones which formed the world’s then-largest swarm of 103 systems. During his tenure as SCO Director, Dr. Roper served on the Department’s 2018 National Defense Strategy Steering Group, Cloud Executive Steering Group and Defense Modernization Team. Previously, Dr. Roper served as the Acting Chief Architect at the Missile Defense Agency where he developed 11 new systems, including the current European Defense architecture, advanced drones, and classified programs. Before this, he worked at MIT Lincoln Laboratory and served as a missile defense advisor to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.

Wilbur Ross

Wilbur Ross

United States Secretary of Commerce
U.S. Department of Commerce

Wilbur L. Ross, Jr. was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence as the 39th Secretary of Commerce on February 28, 2017. Secretary Ross is the principal voice of business in the Trump Administration, ensuring that U.S. entrepreneurs and businesses have the tools they need to create jobs and economic opportunity.

Secretary Ross is the former Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer of WL Ross & Co. LLC and has over 55 years of investment banking and private equity experience. He has restructured over $400 billion of assets in the airline, apparel, auto parts, banking, beverage, chemical, credit card, electric utility, food service, furniture, gypsum, homebuilding, insurance, marine transport, mortgage origination and servicing, oil and gas, railcar manufacturing and leasing, real estate, restaurant, shipyard, steel, textile and trucking industries. Secretary Ross has been chairman or lead director of more than 100 companies operating in more than 20 different countries. 

Named by Bloomberg Markets as one of the 50 most influential people in global finance, Secretary Ross is the only person elected to both the Private Equity Hall of Fame and the Turnaround Management Hall of Fame. He previously served as privatization adviser to New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the board of the U.S.-Russia Investment Fund. President Kim Dae-jung awarded Secretary Ross a medal for helping South Korea during its financial crisis and, in November 2014, the Emperor of Japan awarded him the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star. 

As a philanthropist, Secretary Ross has served as Chairman of the Japan Society, Trustee of the Brookings Institution and Chairman of its Economic Studies Council, International Counsel Member of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, Trustee of the Blenheim Foundation, President of the American Friends of the Rene Magritte Museum in Brussels and Director of the Palm Beach Civic Association. He also was an Advisory Board Member of Yale University School of Management. 

Secretary Ross is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Business School (with distinction). He and his wife Hilary Geary Ross have four children, Jessica Ross, Amanda Ross, Ted Geary and Jack Geary.

Stephanie Schierholz

Stephanie Schierholz

NASA Communications for Human Spaceflight
NASA

Stephanie L. Schierholz is the lead spokesperson for human spaceflight at NASA Headquarters. She is responsible for leading integrated communications efforts from social media to television productions for the agency’s human spaceflight activities, including rocket launches, human and cargo missions, and spacecraft testing and development.

From 2016 through 2017, she served on a special detail as acting press secretary for NASA Administrator Charles Bolden then Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot in addition to providing public affairs support for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. As press secretary, she provided communications expertise and guidance to two heads of the agency under different administrations. The high-profile international media interviews and appearances she coordinated resulted in ongoing positive coverage of NASA.

Schierholz has more than 15 years’ experience leading strategic communications, media relations and public outreach efforts. She has been teaching "Social Media Strategies and Tactics" as part of Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies Social Media Management certificate program since 2012. In 2010 she became the first social media manager at NASA Headquarters and subsequently led social media at the Fortune 500 Raytheon Company.

She has won several awards for her work, including the 2012 Shorty Award for Best Social Media Manager. She also serves as a keynote speaker and panelist at social media and public relations conferences worldwide. She earned bachelor’s degrees in business administration and English and completed a Global M.B.A. at the McDonough School at Georgetown University.

frank schirrmeister cadence

Frank Schirrmeister

Group Director, Product Marketing
Cadence

Frank Schirrmeister is Senior Group Director, Product Management, System Development, System & Verification Group (SVG) at Cadence. He is responsible for product management of hardware/software enablement using acceleration & emulation, FPGA based and virtual prototyping and software-driven verification as part of the Cadence Verification Suite, accelerating system integration, validation, and bring-up with a set of connected platforms for concurrent HW/SW design and verification. Frank holds a MSEE from the Technical University of Berlin.

Event(s):  Cadence Presentation

Steve Shepley

Steve Shepley

U.S. Aerospace & Defense Consulting Leader
Deloitte

Steve is a principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP's Aerospace & Defense (A&D) industry practice with more than 15 years of experience helping highly-engineered product manufacturing companies drive performance improvements through the use of advanced techniques and technologies. He specializes in the development of transformational solutions that enable clients to reduce operational costs, improve productivity, and drive growth. From an industry perspective, he primarily focuses on the Aerospace & Defense, Automotive, and Industrial Products sectors.Steve has an MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA and a BS in Electrical Engineering from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Francois Sillion

Francois Sillion

Director of Advanced Technologies Center in Paris
Uber

François Sillion is the director of Uber's Advanced Technologies Center in Paris, France, focusing on applications to air transport (Uber Elevate). The center brings together scientists and engineers working on many exciting topics that impact Elevate's vision of future air transport, including artificial intelligence (E.g. machine learning and optimization), airspace management, sensing & perception, autonomous control, energy management and communication networks. François Sillion has held research positions at Inria, CNRS, Cornell University, M.I.T, Ecole Polytechnique and Microsoft research, and senior executive positions at Inria. He is a co-author of a hundred research papers and two books on Advanced Computer Graphics techniques, and received Eurographics’ "Outstanding Technical Contribution Award" in 2009.

Honora Spillane

Honora Spillane

Senior Director of Economic and Business Development
CenterState CEO

Honora Spillane serves as senior director of Economic and Business Development at CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity (CenterState CEO), based in Syracuse, New York. CenterState CEO is an independent and forward-thinking economic development strategist, business leadership organization and chamber of commerce; dedicated to the success of its members and the prosperity of the region.
In this role, Honora provides economic development assistance to existing companies and those looking to relocate or expand in Central New York.
Honora previously served as the deputy commissioner for the City of Syracuse Department of Neighborhood and Business Development. Prior to that she was an economic development specialist with Onondaga County. In those roles she managed municipal economic development agencies and worked with a variety of businesses to help them achieve their goals for growth and success. Honora also has previous experience in communications and marketing.
Honora graduated Cum Laude from Boston University with a bachelor’s degree in communications. She also holds a J.D and an M.P.A from Syracuse University. She is a licensed attorney in New York State.
About CenterState CEO
CenterState CEO is an independent and forward thinking economic development strategist, business leadership organization and chamber of commerce; dedicated to the success of its members and the prosperity of the region. Its vision is for a vibrant and globally connected CenterState NY region recognized as a place where business thrives and people prosper.
www.centerstateceo.com

Eric Stallmer

Eric Stallmer

President
Commercial Spaceflight Federation

Eric Stallmer is the President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. CSF is the largest trade organization dedicated to promoting the development of commercial spaceflight, pursuing ever-higher levels of safety and sharing best practices and expertise throughout the industry. Under Stallmer’s leadership, CSF has worked tirelessly to craft the modern Commercial Space Launch Act, as well as to promote innovation as a national policy to spur the economy and create high technology jobs. In addition, CSF works to develop industry standards and encourages further growth in the commercial spaceflight industry.

Stallmer has testified before both the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology as well as the Senate Commerce committee. He recently testified at a hearing titled, “The Commercial Space Launch Industry: Small Satellite Opportunities and Challenges.” There he encouraged Congress to support policies that will facilitate growth and innovation in the industry, and maintain the American space sector’s competitive leadership. He has served on numerous industry affiliated boards including the Future Space Leaders Foundation and is the former Chairman of the Washington Space Business Round-table.

Before working at CSF, Stallmer served as the Vice President of Government Relations at Analytical Graphics Inc. (AGI). Stallmer joined AGI in 2002. While there, Stallmer oversaw all Washington Operations and represented AGI’s commercial off-the-shelf products and technology to defense, intelligence, Congress and civil government sectors within the aerospace industry. For more than two decades, Stallmer has served as an Officer in the United States Army and Army Reserves. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service while engaged in combat operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is currently assigned to the Pentagon in the office of the Deputy Chief of Staff Army for Logistics, G-4.

Ken Stewart

Ken Stewart

CEO
AiRXOS, a subsidiary of GE Aviation

Ken Stewart serves as AiRXOS’ CEO, joining the organization in 2017 as Executive Product Manager, Digital. He brings more than 25-years of technology industry leadership, telecom expertise, start-up innovation, and executive management experience. Ken Stewart manages corporate direction and strategy at AiRXOS, directing company activity in technology, sales, marketing, alliances and channels, and support. In 2018, Stewart was recognized as one of the ‘Top 7 Drone Visionaries’ by Commercial UAV News.

Prior to AiRXOS, Stewart was Vice President, Sales and Business Development for Federated Wireless, responsible for strategic sales and partnerships. In previous roles he has held various Vice President leadership positions for GridPoint, Syniverse, NeuStar and MACH.

Stewart holds an M.B.A. in International Business from Saint Leo University, a B.A. from Saint Leo University, and Certificate in Innovation Management, University of Maryland - Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Joel Szabat

Joel Szabat

Assistant Secretary of Transportation
Aviation and International Affairs

As the Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs (A&I/A), Joel Szabat leads staff that: negotiates agreements for US air carriers to operate internationally; licenses all foreign and domestic air carriers to operate in the United States; rules on airline merger and joint venture requests; manages the Essential Air Service and Small Community Air Service Development grant programs; and coordinates international activities and policy for the Secretary across DOT.

Joel’s was the Executive Director of the Maritime Administration, from 2012, before joining A&I/A in January, 2018. Joel joined the Department of Transportation (DOT) in 2002. His previous positions include Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS), Transportation Policy; DAS, Management and Budget; and DAS Aviation & International Affairs. He was the federal official responsible for DOT’s $48.1 billion share of the Recovery Act in 2009. In 2005, he oversaw the US government’s reconstruction of Iraqi airports, ports and railroads. Joel was the Chief of Staff for the Small Business Administration from 2006-2008, after which he returned to DOT. During the Cold War Joel commanded tank units along the East-West German border. He has worked as a management consultant in the private sector, as a transportation staffer in the California State legislature, and in the US Environmental Protection Agency. He graduated from Georgetown University and Harvard Business School. His wife, Chiling Tong, is a prominent Asian Pacific American activist. Together they established a foundation to promote the civic awareness, involvement and effectiveness of Asian Pacific Americans.

Johann-Dietrich Wörner

Johann-Dietrich Wörner

Director General
European Space Agency

Johann-Dietrich ‘Jan’ Wörner became the ESA Director General on 1 July 2015. Previously, from March 2007 to June 2015, he served as Chairman of the Executive Board of the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

Jan Wörner was born in Kassel, Germany, in 1954. He studied civil engineering at the Technical University (TU) Berlin and TU Darmstadt, from where he graduated in 1985. In 1982, as part of his studies, he spent one year in Japan, investigating earthquake safety of nuclear power plants. Until 1990, Mr Wörner worked for consulting civil engineers König und Heunisch. In 1990 he returned to TU Darmstadt, where he was appointed as a professor of Civil Engineering and took over as Head of the Test and Research Institute. Before being elected as President of TU Darmstadt in 1995, he held the position of Dean of the newly established Civil Engineering Faculty. Jan Wörner headed the university from 1995 to 2007 and succeeded in making it the first autonomous university of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Jan Wörner has been awarded numerous prizes and positions, such as the Prize of the Organisation of Friends of Technical University Darmstadt for ‘outstanding scientific performance’. He was also appointed to the Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and to the Convention for Technical Sciences (acatech) and is a representative of the Technical Sciences Section of the Leopoldina, the national academy of sciences of Germany. Jan Wörner has received honorary doctorates from New York State University at Buffalo (USA), technical universities of Bucharest (Romania) and Mongolia, the Saint Petersburg University for Economics and Finance (Russia) and École Centrale de Lyon (France). He has received the Federal Cross of Merit (Officer's cross, 1st class) of the Federal Republic of Germany for his continuous efforts regarding the next generation of scientists and Germany as a location for Science, Technology and Engineering. He has furthermore been awarded the honours of Knight of the French Légion d’Honneur. Jan Wörner was Vice President of the Helmholtz Association and also a member of various national and international supervisory bodies, advisory councils and committees. He was a member of the administrative boards of École Centrale Paris, École Centrale de Lyon, TU Berlin, the Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon, the Arts and Music University in Frankfurt and has been a member of a number of supervisory boards including Carl Schenck AG, Röhm GmbH, TÜV Rheinland AG and Bilfinger SE. Furthermore, he was appointed to the energy expert group of the German Government. Before joining ESA as Director General, Jan Wörner was head of the German delegation to ESA from 2007 to 2015 and served as Chairman of the ESA Council from 2012 to 2014.

Dr. Hiroshi Yamakawa

Dr. Hiroshi Yamakawa

President
Japan Aerospace Space Agency

Hiroshi Yamakawa was born in Geneva, Switzerland in 1965. He received master's degree of engineering in 1990 and earned Ph. D from the Department of Aeronautics, School of Engineering in 1993 both from the University of Tokyo.

He became a research associate and an associate professor at the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science in 1993-2003, and an associate professor at Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in 2003-2006. He engaged in mission design of numerous Earth-orbiting scientific satellite projects as well as in lunar and interplanetary missions. He also engaged in the navigation, guidance, and control systems of the solid propellant rocket, M-V, and liquid propellant reusable sounding rocket, RVT. He was a study manager and a project manager of the Euro-Japan collaborative mission to Mercury "BepiColombo" from 2000 through 2006. He was a visiting scientist at NASA JPL in 1997-1998 and at ESA ESTEC in 2002.

He moved to Kyoto University in 2006 as a professor of the Research Institute of Sustainable Humanosphere, a professor of the Graduate School of Engineering (cooperating chair) and a deputy director of the Unit for Synergetic Studies of Space. His academic interest lay in orbital mechanics, trajectory optimization, space propulsion, and space situational awareness.

He was appointed as secretary general at the Secretariat of Strategic Headquarters for Space Policy, Cabinet Secretariat, Government of Japan in 2010 through 2012. Then, he was assigned member of the Committee on National Space Policy, Cabinet Office from 2012 through 2018. He was appointed as the President of JAXA in April 2018.