James Orsulak is a space-industry executive and TEDx speaker with two decades of experience in sales, business development, and strategy. He serves as the Senior Director of Business and Sales for Descartes Labs, a machine intelligence company which is advancing the science of forecasting by creating the first breathing atlas of the world. The team has developed a platform that applies machine learning to massive data sources like satellite imagery, weather, and transportation tracking systems, resulting in better forecasting, monitoring and historical analysis of complex global supply chains. Prior to joining Descartes Labs, he served as the Vice President of the Earth observation division of Planetary Resources, a space technology company seed funded by the founders of Google to enable resource extraction on near-Earth asteroids and the Moon. He was responsible for the company’s thermal and hyperspectral imaging program based on the Arkyd line of spacecraft, the first of which was launched in January 2018. He also oversaw the company’s consulting division, which focused on systems engineering for robotic mines in the gold and copper industry. Prior to joining Planetary Resources, he spent a decade developing large scale fueling infrastructure projects in the energy industry. He was responsible for business development at Clean Energy, which provides fossil and renewable fuels for heavy-duty trucking applications, the rail industry, space launch systems, and industrial applications. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Southern Methodist University and an Agronomy and Precision Agriculture certification from Purdue University. He lives in Denver with his wife and boy-girl twins.
Director of Operations
Rebecca Schaeffer is a conscientious problem solver and global humanitarian leader. With a background in non-profit management and U.S. refugee resettlement, Rebecca has served as a dedicated advocate giving voice to the world’s most vulnerable populations. She has successfully reunited hundreds of displaced refugee families and administered U.S. government funding for millions of displaced persons around the globe.
Rebecca holds a B.S. in International Relations from Beloit College and an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. She is a 2016 Forté Fellow, and attended the International Summer School in Forced Migration at the University of Oxford in 2011.
Rebecca is experienced in growing nascent non-profits efficiently and effectively to scale. She is passionate about space and its ability to unify humanity toward a brighter future.
Ulisses Meneses Ortiz
Director of International Affairs
Ulisses Meneses Ortiz
Ulisses helps clients increase their value by streamlining their tax-related cash flows and reducing operational risk as related to transfer pricing. Ulisses has more than 15 years experience in transfer pricing, including seven years as a transfer pricing manager in Mexico, and eight in the United States.
Ulisses has overseen a wide range of engagements, including advanced pricing agreements, documentation, audit defense, and planning. He has experience in automotive, food and beverage, industrial components and equipment, furniture, and high-end consumer products.
Ulisses is passionate about the use of private space for profit purposes, and as part of his efforts to bring capital and talent to the industry, published an article on using research and development tax credits to help space and high-tech related start-ups. He is founding member of the Booth Aeronautics & Space Club, and founding organizer of MIT’s New Space Age Conference. Ulisses has organized conferences with leading business schools and is currently the Director of International Outreach for Space for Humanity.
B.A. Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Campus Estado de Mexico
M.B.A., The University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Director of Marketing
Sarah Cruddas is a British space journalist, TV presenter and children’s author. She has an academic background in astrophysics and is passionate advocate for the commercial space industry. Sarah is the ‘face of space’ on British television and can be seen covering space on Sky News, as well as other national UK channels, including Channel 5, Channel 4 News, BBC News and ITV. She also appears on screen on shows on National Geographic and The Discovery Channel, as well as various BBC shows such as Coast and Horizons Business.
Sarah specializes in space exploration, but has reported on all aspects of science and technology from across the world including from Rwanda, North Korea, Tibet and Eastern Europe. Her reports have featured on BBC Radio’s flagship ‘From Our Own Correspondent’, BBC World Service and across BBC News. As an established writer, Sarah covers space for Discovery, the BBC, New Scientists, The Sunday Times (London), CNN, The Royal Aeronautical Society and a host of other publications.
Away from journalism, Sarah works developing communication strategies for start-ups and as a corporate host and presenter for clients ranging from The European Union, to the European Space Agency, Google, Red Bull and Samsung. Sarah is passionate about STEM education and helping to inspire the next generation of space explorers. Her second children’s book, published by Dorling Kindersley, will be released worldwide this summer, with a third book planned for global release in 2019.
Rachel A. Lyons
Director of Strategic Partnerships
Rachel A. Lyons
Rachel A. Lyons is a next generation space advocate. Rachel actively works to spread knowledge and encourage others to get involved using the ideals of ‘The Overview Effect’. Her approach is multidisciplinary – recognizing the importance of integrating formal education, creative arts, culture, and social connection. Rachel has led engineering teams, organized professional events, music and dance celebrations, and outdoor adventure.
Rachel holds a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Miami. She is the Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space – USA, as well as the former president of the University of Miami Chapter. She is a former radio host of the science talk show and world music show on WVUM 90.5 FM.
Rachel’s goal is to use space to deepen the connection we share with each other, and our home planet earth. Her intention is to create an environment where people of different backgrounds can unite with a shared understanding of this important mission.
Director of Technology
TJ Sherrill is a space enthusiast, serial entrepreneur and strategic problem solver. With a background in web and mobile technology, TJ has helped clients solve bottom-line business challenges through creative technical solutions. He has run his own digital agency for 11 years and successfully raised angel investment for a social media marketing startup he founded.
TJ has worked with several of the leading space industry companies including Planetary Resources and Space Angels. His firm also sponsored NewSpace 2016 in Seattle WA, providing web and design services that included a rebrand.
TJ is passionate about the space industry and the opportunities it presents for humanity.
Board of Directors
Dr. Andrew Aldrin serves as the Director of the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute (BASI) and is an Associate Professor at Florida Institute of Technology. BASI is a multidisciplinary institute created to advance space exploration and development toward the goal of establishing and maintaining a permanent human presence on Mars.
Prior to FIT, Dr. Aldrin was President of Moon Express, responsible for day to day operations for the company. Prior to coming to Moon Express, Dr. Aldrin was Director of Business Development and Advanced Programs at United Launch Alliance where he oversaw development of corporate strategies, business capture, senior customer relations and advanced program development for civil space markets.
Before ULA, Dr. Aldrin headed Business Development and Advanced Programs for Boeing’s NASA Systems, and Launch Services business units. He has also served as a Resident Consultant at the RAND Corporation and Professional Research Staff Member at the Institute for Defense Analyses.
Dr. Aldrin holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from UCLA, an MBA from TRIUM, a MA in Science Technology and Public Policy from The George Washington University, and a MA in International Relations from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He is an Adjunct Faculty member at International Space University and has been Adjunct Faculty at the University of Houston and California State University at Long Beach.
Eric R. Wiener
Eric R. Wiener
Eric “Rick” Wiener has been working for MAXX since 1992, when he co-founded Wiener West Group, Inc. in Denver, Colorado, a division of what eventually became MAXX Properties in 2005. During his tenure in the multifamily industry, Rick has worked his way up from the front lines as a leasing agent and maintenance technician of a twenty-three unit building to become Vice Chairman of 91 properties, over 10,000 owned units, and 13,500 managed units.
Rick is a member of the MAXX Board of Advisors. In this capacity, he is responsible for applying his expertise as an Asset Manager and Multifamily Property Manager to the oversight of the corporate vision, strategic growth, and company assets.
Rick attended Brandeis University and the University of Colorado at Boulder from which he graduated in 1991, with a BA in Business and Political Science. He holds a Colorado Real Estate Employing Broker License and is on the Board of National Eco Wholesale (NEW), Inc., is a member of the Young President Organization (YPO), and recently joined the Cyclists for Community charitable board in Boulder, Colorado.
Matthew J. Kuta
Matthew J. Kuta
Matthew Kuta is an accomplished leader with global experience where as a former military officer he has led large multi-national teams in very high-stakes initiatives as an F-15E fighter pilot. Matthew holds a B.S. from the United States Air Force Academy, an M.A. from Norwich University, and an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.
He has been recognized for multiple professional accolades to include the Jabara Award, awarded to the top U.S. Air Force Academy Alumni for contributions to aviation. He is also a recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross, the highest award for aviation in the U.S. military that can be awarded in combat.
Matthew is extremely active in commercial space and has performed due diligence and research on multiple commercial space angel investments as well as having both investment banking and private equity experience. He is on the Board of Directors of the United States Air Force Academy Endowment, and is a Defense Council Member of the Truman National Security Project and a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Technical Advisory Board
Jim is the founder of several entrepreneurial start-ups, including Vector Space, StratSpace and Vintage Exotics Competition Engineering, was on the founding team of Moon Express the first private company to land on the lunar surface, and was on the founding team of SpaceX who has revolutionized the international launch industry. StratSpace plays pivotal technical and financing roles in the aerospace industry’s most innovative companies including Skybox Imaging, PlanetLabs and RocketLab and on ground breaking spacecraft missions including the Pluto New Frontiers mission, Osiris-Rex which will bring home samples of an asteroid and Lightsail, a privately funded solar sail mission. Jim also served as CEO of IDair, a biometrics software company performing a corporate turnaround.
Jim serves on several local and national corporate boards for aerospace, energy companies, launch vehicle providers and the SCCA. He also holds a position on the Planetary Society board of advisors, ATLAS Space Board of Advisors, Morf3D Board of Advisors, York Space Systems Board of Advisors and has served on 35 major government source selection boards. Jim speaks four languages and spent several years each working in France for the French Space Agency and in Russia on joint US/Russian defense programs. Jim regularly serves on source selection panels for NASA reviewing proposals for deep space and space science missions.
Jim has held positions with NASA, the French Space Agency CNES, CEO of StratSpace, CTO at Moon Express, President of United Start Launch, President of Vintage Exotics and CEO of IDair. As CEO of StratSpace, Jim was key in winning more than 20 billion dollars in defense contracts for its clients, played key roles in raising 120 million dollars in equity financing for Skybox Imaging, worked to raise 1.2 billion dollars for Iridium Next and helped raise several hundred million dollars of private equity investments for numerous start-ups. Jim is often quoted in the trade press as an expert on the commercial space market, aerospace market conditions, new business competitions and industrial base matters.
Mr. Cantrell is also the author of twelve scientific, research and popular articles dealing with space related and business topics. Mr. Cantrell is a native of Southern California. He was educated at Utah State University where he earned a Bachelors and Masters of Science in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. He currently resides in Tucson Arizona and lives to drive his CanAm and GT1 race cars in fender to fender track competitions.
Dan cofounded LeoLabs to accelerate the new commercial economy in LEO, protect satellite assets, and preserve the space environment. LeoLabs is the first commercial data source for tracking satellites and mapping LEO.
Prior to cofounding LeoLabs, Dan was a Program Director at SRI International where he supervised the Allen Telescope Array and developed advanced radar imaging technologies. As part of his graduate program Dan worked with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on the Terrestrial Planet Finder Coronagraph mission. Dan holds a Ph. D. from U. C. Berkeley in electrical engineering.
Jason co-founded Made In Space in 2010 as a result of analyzing the best possible approaches to enabling a fully sustainable form of space colonization. With a core focus on space manufacturing, the company has since built, flown, and operated the first and second 3D printers in space. Installed on the International Space Station (ISS), the first Made In Space Zero-Gravity 3D printer began space manufacturing in November 2014. Today, Made In Space operates the second-generation 3D printer on the ISS, called the Additive Manufacturing Facility, enabling groups across the planet to have hardware manufactured in space. Additionally, Made In Space is working with NASA in the development of the Archinaut program to enable in-space robotic manufacturing and assembly of large space structures. Jason serves as the Chief Technology Officer, overseeing the development of Made In Space’s technology roadmap. In this role, he is responsible for ensuring that the technical path of engineering projects align with the company’s vision. Jason holds a B.S. and M.S. in aerospace engineering from the University of Central Florida, has studied at the Singularity University Graduate Summer Program, and is an internationally recognized speaker on the topics of space exploration, advanced manufacturing, and the theory of disruption. He serves on the University of Central Florida College of Engineering and Computer Science Dean’s Advisory Board, the Advisory Council to the Waypaver Foundation, and on the Board of Directors for the Future Space Leaders Foundation. In 2014, Jason was recognized by Forbes on the prestigious 30 under 30 list.
Max Vozoff received his Bachelors Degree with Honors in Electrical & Communications Engineering in 1993 from Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Western Australia, and a Masters Degree in Aerospace Engineering (Astronautics) from the University of Southern California in 2002.
After 8 years designing commercial communications hardware, Mr. Vozoff moved to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, where he spent 6 years contributing to missions including GRACE, Jason, COSMIC, ST3/Starlight, ST5, OSTM, UAVSAR and other technology development programs and advanced concept studies. From 2005 to 2010, Mr. Vozoff worked for SpaceX, serving as Senior Mission Manager, Program Manager for the Dragon spacecraft development, and Director of Civil Business Development. Other responsibilities included advanced concept development for heavy lift launch vehicles, reusable boosters and landers.
In 2010, Mr. Vozoff co-founded mv2space, LLC with his business partner Dr. Marco Villa. mv2space has supported numerous clients, providing consulting services in Business Development, strategy and implementation, customer and investor outreach and connections, sales and marketing, proposal creation, program formulation and management, and technical review. Clients include both start-ups and established companies, in government and commercial space domains, as well as energy, automotive and digital media sectors.
From early 2015 through 2017, Max was Vice President of Civil & Commercial Space for Vulcan Aerospace and Stratolaunch Systems Corporation, Paul Allen’s aerospace venture.
Mr. Vozoff has frequently spoken at space industry conferences and workshops on topics including the commercial space, the evolving market landscape, public-private partnerships, launch vehicles and spacecraft, cargo and crew systems and other spacecraft technologies, and has authored multiple articles offering business and technical analysis and editorial content for investment firms.
Lars is Founding President and CEO of OmniEarth, which was acquired by Eagleview, where he is now SVP for Machine Learning. Lars has a history of building diverse teams and delivering complex projects and is a public champion for the benefits of smallsats, hosted payloads and repurposing commercial/consumer technologies in aerospace. Lars has led several space-related missions and projects from design to in-orbit, as head of the Earth and Space Science Group at Draper Laboratory and previously as a senior scientist and Section Head at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in the areas of space physics, GPS tomography, Novel Earth observation missions and mobile applications. He was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Oslo and received his Ph.D. from Boston University in super computing space physics. He is currently focused on utilization of machine learning and artificial intelligence for interpreting aerial, drone and satellite data sets for enterprise, government and consumer applications.
Dr. Alan Stern is a planetary scientist, space program executive, aerospace consultant, and author. He leads NASA’s New Horizons mission that successfully explored the Pluto system and is now exploring the Kuiper Belt—the farthest worlds ever explored by and space mission.
In both 2007 and 2016, he was named to the Time 100. In 2007 he was appointed NASA’s chief of all science missions. Since 2009, he has been an Associate Vice President and Special Assistant to the President at the Southwest Research Institute. Additionally, from 2008-2012 he served on the board of directors of the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, and as the Chief Scientist and Mission Architect for Moon Express from 2010-2013. From 2011- 2013 he served as the Director of the Florida Space Institute. Dr. Stern currently serves as the chief scientist of both World View, a near-space ballooning company, and of the Florida Space Institute. In 2016 he was elected to be the board chairman of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.
In 2007 and 2008, Dr. Stern served as NASA’s chief of all space and Earth science programs, directing a $4.4B organization with 93 separate flight missions and a program of over 3,000 research grants. During his NASA tenure, a record 10 major new flight projects were started and deep reforms of NASA’s scientific research and the education and public outreach programs were put in place. His tenure was notable for an emphasis on cost control in NASA flight missions that resulted in a 63% decrease in cost overruns.
Since 2008 Dr. Stern has had his own aerospace consulting practice. His current and former consulting clients include Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, Naveen Jain’s Moon Express Google Lunar X-Prize team, Ball Aerospace, Paragon Space Development Corporation, the NASTAR Center, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, and the Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Stern is also the CEO of two small corporations—Uwingu and The Golden Spike Company—and serves on the board of directors of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. Dr. Stern is the Principal Investigator (PI) of NASA’s $723M New Horizon’s mission to reconnoiter Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. New Horizons launched in 2006 and explored Pluto and its system of moons in July 2015. Dr. Stern is also the PI of two instruments aboard New Horizons, the Alice UV spectrometer and the Ralph Visible Imager/IR Spectrometer.
His career has taken him to numerous astronomical observatories, to the South Pole, and to the upper atmosphere aboard various high performance NASA aircraft including F/A-18 Hornets, F-104 Starfighters, KC-135 Zero-G, and WB-57 Canberras. He has been involved as a researcher in 24 suborbital, orbital, and planetary space missions, including 9 for which he was the mission principle investigator; and he has led the development of 8 scientific instruments for NASA space missions. In 1995, he was selected as a Space Shuttle mission specialist finalist, and in 1996 he was a candidate Space Shuttle Payload specialist. In 2010, he became a suborbital payload specialist trainee, and is expected to fly several suborbital space missions aboard Virgin Galactic vehicles in 2019-2020.
Before receiving his doctorate from the University of Colorado in 1989, Dr. Stern completed twin masters degrees in aerospace engineering and atmospheric sciences (1980 and 1981), and then spent six years as an aerospace systems engineer, concentrating on spacecraft and payload systems at the NASA Johnson Space Center, Martin Marietta Aerospace, and the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado. His two undergraduate degrees are in physics and astronomy from the University of Texas (1978 and 1980).
Dr. Stern has published over 230 technical papers and 40 popular articles. He has given over 300 technical talks and over 150 popular lectures and speeches about astronomy and the space program. He has written two books, The U.S. Space Program After Challenger (Franklin- Watts, 1987), and Pluto and Charon: Ice Worlds on the Ragged Edge of the Solar System (Wiley 1997, 2005). Additionally, he has served as editor on three technical volumes, and three collections of scientific popularizations: Our Worlds (Cambridge, 1998), Our Universe (Cambridge, 2000), and Worlds Beyond (Cambridge, 2003).
Dr. Stern has over 25 years of experience in space instrument development, with a strong concentration in ultraviolet technologies. He has been a Principal Investigator in NASA’s UV sounding rocket program, and was the project scientist on a Shuttle-deployable SPARTAN astronomical satellite. He was the PI of the advanced, miniaturized HIPPS Pluto breadboard camera/IR spectrometer/UV spectrometer payload. Dr. Stern is also the PI of the Alice UV Spectrometer for the ESA/NASA Rosetta comet orbiter, launched in 2004, and served as the PI of the LAMP instrument on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission, which launched in 2009. He has served as a Co-Investigator on numerous NASA and ESA planet missions.
Dr. Stern’s academic research has focused on studies of our solar system’s Kuiper Belt and Oort cloud, comets, the satellites of the outer planets, the Pluto system, and the search for evidence of solar systems around other stars. He has also worked on spacecraft rendezvous theory, terrestrial polar mesospheric clouds, galactic astrophysics, and studies of tenuous satellite atmospheres, including the atmosphere of the moon.
Dr. Stern is a fellow of the AAAS, the Royal Astronomical Society, and is a member of the AIAA, AAS, IAF, and the AGU; he was elected incoming chair of the Division of Planetary Sciences in 2006. He has been awarded the Von Braun Aerospace Achievement Award of the National Space Society, the 2007 University of Colorado George Norlin Distinguished Alumnus Award, the 2009 St. Mark’s Preparatory School Distinguished Alumnus Award, Smithsonian Magazine’s 2015 American Ingenuity Award, the 2016 Sagan Memorial Award of the American Astronautical Society, and the 2016 NASA distinguished public service medal, its highest civilian award.
Dr. Stern’s personal interests include running, hiking, camping, and writing. He is an instrument-rated commercial pilot and flight instructor, with both powered and sailplane ratings. He and his wife Carole have two daughters and a son; they make their home near Boulder, Colorado.
Chad Anderson is CEO of Space Angels, the leading source of capital for space startups, where he has invested millions of dollars of private capital into new commercial space ventures. He is also Non-Executive Director of the UK Space Catapult where he supports the national strategy to grow the space sector in the country.
Prior to his current roles, Anderson enjoyed a successful career at JP Morgan Chase where he managed a $50 billion real estate portfolio through the Great Recession. Anderson holds an MBA from the University of Oxford.
Mike Benitez is a proven leader with an eclectic range of both experience and expertise in team-building in his 20-plus years of U.S. military service in the Marine Corps and Air Force. An F-15E Strike Eagle Weapons Systems Officer, he collectively has over 2,500 flight hours–with over 1,000 combat hours in fighter jets and helicopters.
Mike’s experience includes integration and training with over a dozen different nation’s armed services, a track record of developing innovative constructive multi-lateral solutions to significant challenges in high-stakes situations, and the ability to subsequently translate them into actions at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels.
He has been awarded over two dozen commendations and medals for distinction and leadership, including the Distinguished Flying Cross–one of the highest awards for aviation that the U.S. military can bestow.
Mike holds a Master of Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and is a graduate of several programs, including the prestigious U.S. Air Force Weapons School and the United Arab Emirates Advanced Tactical Leadership Course. He also has participated in numerous fellowships, including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, the Foreign Policy Initiative, and as a Department of Defense legislative fellow assigned to U.S. Senator Mike Rounds.
Michelle is Co-Founder of SHEEX, Inc., the world’s first performance fabric bedding company with globally patented technology. Inspired by the feel and breathability of athletic performance fabrics, Michelle and Co-Founder/CEO Susan Walvius shook up the bedding world in 2007 by inventing a whole new “Performance Home” category in home textiles. Their beachhead into the marketplace was performance fabric bed sheets; they have since expanded into an entire SHEEX Sleep System. In 2009, Michelle and Susan introduced SHEEX on stage at the highly touted Fortune’s Most Powerful Business Women Conference as ground-breaking, emerging entrepreneurs. In 2012, they were recognized by Ernst & Young as “Winning Women”, a prestigious honor celebrating the top female entrepreneurs in America.
Michelle made her entrepreneurial debut having already distinguished herself as one of the most outstanding point guards ever to play women’s basketball, starring at the University of Tennessee under the late-legendary coach Pat Summitt. As an Academic All-American and a fiery leader on the court, Michelle drove Tennessee to the 1995 and 1996 NCAA title games, as well as captained the National Championship team in 1996, and was named the NCAA Tournament Most Valuable Player. In 2012, Tennessee honored her extraordinary basketball career and contributions to UT women’s athletics by inducting her into the Lady Vol Hall of Fame. Post-collegiate career, the former unanimous National High School Player of the Year and 10-year veteran of USA Basketball, spent six years as a professional basketball player, completing her career with the WNBA’s Seattle Storm in 2002. Michelle stepped into the coaching arena in 2003 as an assistant coach at the University of South Carolina, where she inked back-to-back top 10 nationally ranked recruiting classes.
Given her entrepreneurial skills, Michelle has become a highly sought-after speaker and panelist. She serves on the Board of the Pat Summitt Foundation and voluntarily performed many of the late-Summitt’s speaking engagements while her former coach battled early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type. Michelle serves as an Advisory Board member of Ernst & Young’s Women Athletes Business Network, and is a member of the 2014 Class of Henry Crown Fellows of The Aspen Institute, which seeks to develop the next generation of community-spirited leaders.
Leonard David is a space journalist, reporting on space activities for over 50 years. Mr. David is author of Mars – Our Future on the Red Planet — published by National Geographic in October 2016. He is also co-author with Apollo 11’s Buzz Aldrin of Mission to Mars – My Vision for Space Exploration released in May 2013 and published by the National Geographic Society. A soft cover edition of the book with a new essay was released in May 2015.
Leonard is the first recipient of the American Astronautical Society’s (AAS) “Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History” in the category of journalism, presented in October 2015 in connection with the 8th AAS Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium held in Huntsville, Alabama.
Mr. David is the 2010 winner of the prestigious National Space Club Press Award, presented this honor during the Club’s annual Robert H. Goddard Memorial Dinner in April 2011 that was held in Washington, D.C.
Ami Dror is the founder & CEO of LeapLearner, an education company that enables kids to code the world of tomorrow. Ami is also the founder of Zaitoun Ventures, a Startup Factory that leads and executes investments in disruptive startups. Prior to founding Zaitoun Ventures, Ami co-founded XPAND 3D, and led its growth into a global 3D Cinema industry frontrunner.
Additionally, he initiated the work on the first 3D-TV and led the formation of a 3DTV licensing company, jointly owned by Sony, Samsung, XPAND and Panasonic. Ami played an integral role in the development of Amblyz that revolutionized the treatment of childhood amblyopia.
Ami serves as a member of the board of directors of several private companies. He holds a BSC in computer engineering from the Open University in Israel and is the co-founder of CIIF, a Hong Kong based NGO that promotes global innovation. Ami is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute and an active member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Di-Ann Eisnor is director of growth for crowd-sourced navigation and real-time traffic application, Waze, now part of Google. Working across users, governments, international media and local community groups, Eisnor continues to spearhead the company’s global initiatives to make connected cities a reality and to grow Waze into new markets and new products.
Prior to joining Waze, Eisnor was co-founder and CEO of a collaborative, user-generated, cartographic website that enabled people to map things that are important to them. Eisnor is an active angel investor and speaks widely on mobile, location, connected cities and crowdsourcing. She and rapper Lupe Fiasco co-founded Neighborhood Start Fund, a community-based micro-fund and entrepreneurship center in underserved urban neighborhoods. She serves on the Boards of Meetup Inc. and Grey Area Foundation for the arts. She holds a B.S. in studio art and business administration from New York University. She is a 2014 Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Laetitia Garriott de Cayeux
Laetitia Garriott de Cayeux
Laetitia Garriott de Cayeux is an American entrepreneur and investor with close to 20 years of experience in space technology, investments, and banking during which time she was based in Europe, Asia, and the US where she resides since 2002. She has played a key role in the growth of the commercial space industry, both as an early investor in this fast growing sector, and as co-founder of space technology company Escape Dynamics which successfully completed in 2015 a multi-year R&D program that significantly advanced beamed energy propulsion for space launch.
Garriott continues to be a key advocate and advisor for the development of this breakthrough technology which was added onto NASA’s technology roadmap the same year Escape Dynamics completed their program. Escape Dynamics’ work was featured both in Scientific American as “World Changing Idea” and as #3 of the “Top 10 World’s Most Innovative Space Companies” by Fast Company after SpaceX & Blue Origin, in recognition of the unique potential it holds to enable aircraft like SSTO operations, and radically decrease the cost of access to space into the hundredths of dollars per kg.
Garriott started her career in the late 1990s with Goldman Sachs in their investment banking division, held senior investment positions at leading global investment firms Renaissance Technologies and TPG-Axon (where she was on the founding team which launched in 2004 with $2.8B in AUM), and has had, throughout her career, a strong focus on entrepreneurship and innovation. In 2004, she received Harvard Business School’s Dubilier Prize for her work on technology company Extend Fertility, a pioneer in egg-freezing technology and the first service in the US focused exclusively on women who want to proactively preserve their fertility options. She was recognized in 2010 as “Rising Talent” by the Women’s Forum on the Economy & Society and as “Rising Star” by Institutional Investor. Garriott serves as a Truman National Security Project Fellow, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Economic Club of New York. She also serves as a board member of the National Museum of Mathematics and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and ESSEC, France.
Anecdotally, she and her husband – the first 2nd generation US astronaut, Richard Garriott (son of Apollo astronaut Owen Garriott) – are the only private owners of an object sitting on a celestial body other than Earth, and she is also the granddaughter of French scientist André de Cayeux de Sénarpont (dit “Cailleux”) who pioneered the field of planetary geology in 1948, and after whom the “Cailleux” crater on the Moon is named.
Dr. Randy “Laz” Gordon is a decorated, multi-discipline leader with a demonstrated 20-year track record of professional excellence. He is currently a Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Harvard Business School. He commanded a developmental flight test force consisting of 330+ contractor, civilian, and military personnel responsible for modernization of the F-22A Raptor. In that role, he managed a $37 Million annual operating budget and oversaw $1.6+ Billion in national security assets. Prior to his command assignment, he led future capabilities, innovation, and experimentation for the US Pacific Command. There he managed a $2.5+ Billion dollar portfolio of advanced technology programs. Furthermore, he developed state of the art aerospace technologies as an experimental test pilot with experience in the F-22A, F-15C/E, A-10A/C, and the Bombardier BD-700 Global Express business jet as well as 70 other military and civilian aircraft. He also is a combat veteran with several air medal decorations from combat missions in support of Operations NORTHERN WATCH and ENDURING FREEDOM. Laz holds a Strategy PhD and Masters of Philosophy (summa cum laude) from the USAF School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, as well as a graduate aeronautical engineering degree and mathematics/systems engineering studies (magna cum laude) from the Air Force Institute of Technology and United States Air Force Academy. He was competitively selected as a Presidential Fellow, MIT Lincoln Labs Military Fellow, DARPA US Air Force Service Chief Fellow, two-time White House Fellow finalist, USAF Thunderbirds Commander finalist, and NASA Astronaut finalist. He is a published writer for Air & Space Smithsonian/Flying magazine, mentors children, and serves as an award winning public speaker/published photographer.
Joe Landon is Chief Financial Officer of Planetary Resources where he manages the company’s finances and plays a key role in execution of the company’s strategy. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of Space Angels Network, the world’s largest angel investor network focused on space companies. He previously led Spaceflight Program Development at Space Adventures, Ltd. and worked as an engineer at Boeing Satellite Systems.
Joe holds a bachelor’s degree in Engineering-Physics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, a master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Joe is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Space Technologies and a Trustee of the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle. In 2016 he was named one of Seattle’s ‘40 Under 40’ by the Puget Sound Business Journal.
CAPT Michael Lopez-Alegria, USN (Ret.) Michael Lopez-Alegria has over thirty-five years of aviation and space experience with the U.S. Navy and NASA in a variety of roles including Naval Aviator, engineering test pilot and program manager, NASA astronaut, and International Space Station commander. He is a four-time astronaut, having flown on Space Shuttle missions STS- 73, STS-92, and STS- 113, and serving as Commander of ISS Expedition 14 (flying to and from the ISS aboard Soyuz TMA-9). He holds NASA records for most Extravehicular Activities (EVA) or “space walks” (10) and cumulative EVA time (67 hours 40 minutes).
Lopez-Alegria is the former President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, where he was a spokesman, thought leader and advocate with the U.S. Congress and pertinent Executive Agencies for favorable public policy on behalf of the commercial spaceflight industry.
He is now an independent consultant to traditional and commercial space companies, and serves on several advisory boards and committees of public and private organizations, including the Human Exploration and Operations Committee of the NASA Advisory Council and the Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee to the FAA. Lopez-Alegria is the President of the Association of Space Explorers USA, a professional and educational organization of current and former astronauts. He is based in Washington, DC.
Paul Madera is a Co-founder and Managing Director at Meritech Capital Partners, a $3.1 billion venture capital fund. He currently invests in private technology companies in the SaaS, storage, e-commerce, financial, and medical device sectors.
Over the years he has led Meritech’s investments into several noteworthy tech companies to include Facebook, Mulesoft, Glaukos, IntraLase, Riverbed Technology, and Salesforce. He has been consistently listed in the top tier of Forbes “Midas List” of successful venture capital investors since 2010. Prior to Meritech, Paul was Managing Director of Private Equity at Montgomery Securities/Banc of America where he and his group advised technology startups in raising capital.
Before entering the private sector, he served in the United States Air Force as an F-16 Pilot based in South Korea, Spain, and Utah.
Bella Miranda is an Executive Consultant, Executive Strategic Planning Coach and Life Coach to a wide array of influential people in Fortune 100 Companies, CEO’s, Entertainment and Professional sports industries. She is a captivating public speaker and author of her upcoming self-help book based on her training philosophies and success.
Bella holds a certification in Micro Expression from the Emotional Intelligence Academy and is a Robbins-Madanes Coach. She is also trained in Body Language Surveillance and is in the process of acquiring her certification in Positive Psychology.
In 2018, she will complete a certification in Innovation & Strategy from the Harvard Division of Continuing Education and another in Applying Psychology in the Workplace from the Cambridge Institution of Continuing Education. That same year, she will also complete Cosmonaut Training to help provide an insight to the future of space travel. Bella is passionate about the human exploration of outer space through spaceflight.
As an affiliate of the National Speakers Association, Bella has participated in the Virgin Unite Leadership Gatherings and is a member of the Disruptors Group. She is also an Association of Spaceflight Professionals (ASP) sponsor and sits on the Patrons Board for Commercial Spaceflight Federation.
Bella engages in numerous charitable and philanthropic endeavors and charity events to stop animal poaching. Whatever time that remains in her busy schedule is devoted to nonprofit organizations focusing on families affected by cancer, helping children, environmental advocacy, planet protection and the Mars Movement.
Ronnie Nader Bello
Ronnie Nader Bello
Ronnie was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador on July 10, 1967. At the age of 13, he started studying nuclear physics on his own and within three years he won first prize in the physics category of the first national scholastic contest, capturing first prize again the following year. In 1984, he began studying astrophysics, graduating first in his high school class of 1986. In 1987, he started pioneering research in artificial intelligence in Ecuador. He graduated with an MS in systems engineering MCL in 1994 from the Universidad Catolica Santiago de Guayaquil, where he was the director of the campus computer lab until 1995, the same year he started his specialization in Cybernetics in the PCP Project. Also in 1995, he began research in Astrobiology.
Ronnie completed the TERC astrobiology teaching certification course in 2004. In 2006, he started the development of the ‘Ecuador al Espacio’ Project, (Project ESAA) a privately funded astronautics initiative, aimed to start the Ecuadorian Civilian Space Program, the first civilian, non-governmental space program in history aimed to explore and help the development of the suborbital space, with the main emphasis in taking scientific experiments made by educational institutions at no cost for them, in order to help raise interest in science and to awake consciousness of the benefits for Ecuador in exploiting the suborbital and GEO resource.
In 2007, the project was recognized by the General Command of the Ecuadorian Air Force (FAE) as the first Ecuadorian initiative in astronautics in the history of the country and he was the first Ecuadorian astronaut candidate.
On June 8 2007, Ronnie Nader became the first official Ecuadorian astronaut in history when he completed the ASA/T (Advanced Suborbital Astronaut /Trained) training program designed on the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Moscow, Russia.
Sunil Nagaraj is Managing Partner of Ubiquity Ventures where he invests in seed-stage startups in the areas of smart hardware and machine intelligence applications. Prior to Ubiquity, Sunil spent 6 years as a VC with Bessemer Venture Partners where he was part of investments in Auth0, Defense.Net (acquired by F5 Networks), Rocket Lab, Spire, Tile, Twitch (acquired by Amazon), and Zapier. He was previously founder/CEO of VC-backed online dating startup Triangulate. He has also worked at Bain & Company, Cisco, and Microsoft.
Sunil holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is current Co-Chair of the NextGen Partners (the largest VC networking organization in the Bay Area) as well as the NextGen Board of the Computer History Museum. He also serves on the board of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (the largest general astronomy education society in the world), the Harvard Business School California Research Center, and the Volunteer Council of the SETI Institute.
Eunice Olsen (39) is the founder and Executive Producer of the International Emmy Nominated series WomenTalk TV, and is no stranger to Singapore, regional audiences and media channels. After winning Miss Singapore Universe 2000, she began a career in television as the co-host of “Wheel of Fortune” in 2002, and went on to host numerous talk shows and acted in various television dramas. In 2005, Eunice was appointed a Nominated Member of Parliament in Singapore, making her the youngest ever at age 27. In March 2006, she received an Honoree for The Outstanding Young Persons of Singapore Award. In the same year, she was conferred the Singapore Youth Award. Olsen was also the proud recipient of the ASEAN Youth Award in 2008 and was nominated as a Young Global Leader in 2009 to represent Singapore in the World Economic Forum. She is bi-lingual in English and Mandarin and is taking classes to improve her Mandarin to business level. She has over the course of her career worked with international brands like Motorola, Blackberry, GSK, Omega, SKII and Redken, and is currently the face of Lancome in Singapore.
Eunice has acted in various feature films, most recently, 3.50 – the first ever co-production between Singapore and Cambodia of which she acted and produced. Her strength for telling stories led her to start Eunice Olsen Media with the aim of creating impactful and mindful content that advocates for global issues, and influences behavior, with a strong focus on the empowerment of women and girls. The flagship program WomenTalk TV, which was founded in 2013, is an online video interview series dedicated to women’s empowerment and was nominated for an International Emmy Award in 2014. In 2016, Womentalk won 7 awards from U.S. based independent film festivals including an Official Selection at the Raindance Film Festival, UK’s largest film festival. She also recently received an award of Excellence for the Humanitarian Award in the Best Shorts Film Festival. Olsen also founded Tripvid, a short form online travel program that features local authentic experiences within destinations, and empowers smaller businesses at the same time by creating awareness of their services.
Her wide reach over the hearts and minds of her fans extends beyond the scope of entertainment, to social activism. Eunice is actively involved with non-profit and philanthropic causes, namely, the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Singapore and Habitat for Humanity. Olsen has multiple ongoing humanitarian projects in Cambodia ranging from Project Precious, a menstrual hygiene management education program, to building sanitation for schools and evicted communities. Ongoing are her advocacy talks on Human Trafficking. She has a passion for the unsung ‘sheroines’ of the world.
Eunice has been playing the piano since she was three and enjoys playing for her family and friends whenever she can. She believes it’s the little things we do together that makes the bigger difference.
Jane Poynter is co-founder and CEO of World View Enterprises Inc., which is pioneering advanced high-altitude balloon platforms for applications that include remote sensing, weather, communications, research and space tourism. She was formerly Chairman, co-founder and President of Paragon Space Development Corporation, specializing in life support and thermal control in extreme environments. She has a patent for self-sustaining habitats that flew on the International Space Station, producing the first animals to every complete multiple lifecycles in space.
Ms. Poynter was also a member of the Biosphere 2 design team and a member of the original crew who lived inside the sealed, self-sustaining habitat for two years. She is the author of The Human Experiment: Two Years and Twenty Minutes Inside Biosphere 2, and Champions for Change: Athletes Making A World of Difference authored with support from the United Nations.
In 2007, Navyn Salem set out to help end the crisis of malnutrition for over 250 million children around the world by starting a factory in Tanzania, her father’s home country, that would produce Plumpy’Nut®, a ready-to-use therapeutic food that treats severe acute malnutrition in young children. To further expand the reach of Plumpy’Nut and other evidence-based nutrition solutions, she founded Edesia, a U.S. non-profit food aid manufacturer, in 2009. From Edesia’s North Kingstown, RI facility, a full range of peanut-based, ready-to-use foods supply UNICEF, the World Food Programme, USAID/USDA, and other humanitarian aid agencies working in emergency and conflict zones. Since production began in March 2010, Edesia has helped nearly 5 million malnourished children in 50 countries, including in Somalia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Pakistan, and Syria.
In 2012, Navyn was named New England Business Woman of the Year by Bryant University, received the Roger E. Joseph Prize from Hebrew Union College for being an outstanding humanitarian, and was awarded an honorary doctorate in social sciences from Boston College, her Alma Mater. In 2013, Navyn received an honorary degree in business administration from Bryant University and became a Trustee of Boston College. In 2017, she received an honorary doctorate from Providence College. She EndFragmentis a member of the Chicago Council’s Global Agricultural Development Initiative Advisory Group, as well as a 2014 Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute and member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Sangeet Kaur Sood
Sangeet Kaur Sood
Sangeet is an experienced capital markets professional with an extensive background in public relations. Sangeet was a Partner at San Francisco – based Parachute Marketing where she led the Canadian team servicing the technology sector. Parachute Marketing provided public relations and analyst relations and implemented influencer marketing strategies for clients.
In 2007, Sangeet founded Osaka Capital Corp., a Toronto-based financial communications firm and limited market dealer regulated by the Ontario Securities Commission. Osaka sourced equity, provided global investor relations, comprehensive public relations and capital markets advisory services to emerging businesses. Osaka also assisted with private to public transaction, and secondary stock exchange listings. Sectors serviced included technology, mining, oil & gas, and agriculture.
Sangeet has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Alberta majoring in Political Science. She also holds a Post-Graduate in Public Relations from Humber College. She is a Canadian citizen and has lived in the Canada, the United States, and Hong Kong SAR, and currently resides in Toronto.
Nova Spivack is Founder & CEO of Magical Technologies, LLC (www.magiclcorp.com), a science and technology venture studio based in Los Angeles. He works via Magical as an active “venture producer”–combining his experience as a serial entrepreneur, angel investor and VC to help form, fund and incubate breakthrough companies. He is a venture Partner in Rewired.ai ($100M AI and robotics venture studio), and an adviser to EES Ventures, a seed stage science and technology venture studio. He has had several IPOs and exits, and has helped to build companies acquired by Facebook, Apple, and others. Nova is ranked as a Top LA Power Player in Technology, and among the Top 20 Futurists worldwide. An author of dozens of patents and an expert on AI and big data analytics, Spivack also invented and patented the key technologies and applications for consumer-scale augmented reality in 2009. Nova flew to the edge of space in 1999 with the Russian Air Force. He is a patron of the Commercial SpaceFlight Federation, an investor in Space Adventures, and the Chairman of the Arch Mission Foundation, a non-profit foundation working to build archives in space and on the moon. Spivack has advised government agencies, presidential campaigns, global corporations, top consumer brands, venture funds, and fast growing tech startups.
Frank White is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and a Rhodes Scholar. He earned his M.Phil. in Politics from Oxford University.
Frank is the author or coauthor of 10 books on topics ranging from space exploration to climate change. His book, The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, is now in its third edition, and is considered by many to be a seminal work in the field of space exploration and development. A film called “Overview,” based largely on his work, has had more than 7 million plays on Vimeo.
Frank is also a co-founder of the Overview Institute, a leading organization dedicated to analyzing the Overview Effect and disseminating its findings.
Frank worked for Harvard University for 17 years and now teaches at Harvard Extension School, Harvard Summer School, and in Boston University’s Metropolitan College.