Speakers and Panelists

2019 MAMA Space Symposium


James F. Bridenstine is the the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the space agency of the United States Federal Government. The Administrator serves as the senior space science adviser to the President of the United States. According to NASA, the role of the Administrator is to "lead the NASA team and manage its resources to advance the Vision for Space Exploration." ​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.

Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson is the Commander, Space and Missile Systems Center, Air Force Space Command , Los Angeles Air Force Base, California. He is responsible for more than 5,000 employees nationwide and an annual budget of $6 billion. As the Air Force Program Executive Officer for Space, General Thompson manages the research, design, development, acquisition and sustainment of satellites and the associated command and control systems. His extensive portfolio includes military satellite communication, missile warning, navigation and timing, space-based weather, space launch and test ranges, certification for launch, space superiority, responsive space and other emerging evolutionary space programs.


Lt Gen David A. Deptula, USAF (Ret.) , Dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies , is a world-recognized leader and pioneer in conceptualizing, planning, and executing national security operations from humanitarian relief to major combat. In addition to his duties as Dean of the Mitchell Institute, he is the Risner Senior Military Scholar at the U.S. Air Force Academy; a board member at a variety of organizations; an independent consultant; and sought after commentator around the world as a thought leader on defense, strategy, and ISR.


Kimberly Yoder is Deputy Director, Contracting at the Air Force Research Laboratory.  Ms. Yoder graduated from the Air Force Officer Training School in 1985 and began her active duty military career as an Administrative Contracting Officer for the Civil Reserve Air Fleet at Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina. In addition, her career included overseas assignments to Clark Air Base, Republic of the Philippines and Iraklion Air Station, Crete, Greece as well as deployments to both Southeast and Southwest Asia. After retirement from active military service in 2005, Ms. Yoder continued a civil service career with the government.



Maj. Gen. Paul D. Rogers serves as the Adjutant General of the Michigan Army and Air National Guard and the Director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs which includes the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency. He commands and directs more than 150 units that comprise the Michigan National Guard (approximately 10,500 Soldiers and Airmen) and oversees the employment of more than 700 State and 300 Federal employees serving throughout Michigan at armories and veterans service facilities.


Thomas O. "Tom" Engler is the Director of the Center Planning and Development Directorate at NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida. He provides strategic leadership and management integration of center planning activities, partnership development initiatives and technology development activities to enable Kennedy as a multiuser spaceport supporting both government and commercial launch providers and their customers. He leads the identification and development of strategic and business partnerships that advance NASA and Kennedy goals, and provides the Kennedy "front door" interface to industry and other governmental organizations.


BG. Wayne R. Monteith USAF (Ret.) Currently serves as the Federal Aviation Administration 's Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation. Mr. Monteith provides strategic leadership and direction to ensure the protection of public health and safety, safety of property, and the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States during commercial launch and reentry activities. He is also responsible for encouraging, facilitating and promoting the U.S. commercial space transportation enterprise.


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 offering 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.



Col Jeffrey “JR” Alexander is the 110th Operations Group Commander, 110th Attack Wing, Battle Creek Air National Guard Base, Battle Creek, Mich.  He directs Cyber operations, the 110th Operational Support Squadron, and the 172nd Attack Squadron ensuring persistence against emerging targets in support of a Joint Force Commander’s objectives. His is currently the 110 Operations Group Commander flying the MQ-9 and leads defensive cyber activities supporting Geographic Combatant Air and Ground Force Commanders.



Dan Shanahan is senior manager for Global Sales & Marketing, Homeland Defense, in the Space & Missile Systems (SM&DS) division of The Boeing Company . With a focus on strategy, marketing, and sales for a portfolio of Homeland Defense & Missile Defense programs, he most recently managed business development objectives for extending the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system prime contract for an additional 5 years and brought the Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV) inside the GMD Program as a sole source capture. 


Jim Cantrell is CEO of Vector Launch, Inc. and a well-known entrepreneur and expert in space systems and has 30 years of experience in the aerospace and high technology industries. Jim was part of the SpaceX founding team and served as the company’s first Vice President of Business Development. Jim founded two other successful aerospace and automotive engineering companies and has held CEO positions in aerospace and biometric software companies. Jim also played key developmental roles in numerous venture funded space efforts including Rocket Lab, Planet, Black Sky and Spaceflight.


BG. Michael Dudzik, USAF (Ret.) is the President of IQM Research Institute . He has served in key leadership roles on the Air Staff, National Security Space, and Air Force Space Command with assignments in policy, space systems acquisition, and space operations.   Since 2013, IQM Research Institute has been actively engaged in embedded and operational cybersecurity programs for vehicles and infrastructure, as well as software assurance and cyber workforce development.  Prior to joining IQMRI as President, Mr. Dudzik served as a Vice President of Science & Technology within the Lockheed Martin Corporation. 


Gavin Brown, Executive Director of the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association and is recognized as the leading driving force for promoting aerospace companies active in Michigan by providing aerospace prime contractors and top-tier system integrators with highly qualified sources for their part procurement in the commercial, general aviation, defense and unmanned aerial vehicle aerospace sectors. The MAMA family of manufacturers has focused on developing a space industry focus that includes missiles, directed energy, satellites and other defense systems. 

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