Executive Team

DavidHurst2David Hurst
Founder and CEO

David has been a technology entrepreneur for most of his career, having founded multiple successful technology companies. He has over 30 years of experience as a software engineer, managing software development teams, developing complex systems and delivering products. He has consulted with venture capital firms and advanced technology start-ups, performing technical due diligence and business strategy assessments. In 2013, he left the IT industry to follow his passion for space exploration. David founded Orbital Transports to develop the space logistics and orbital infrastructure technologies needed for the emerging space resources economy, and ultimately to support human settlement of the Solar System. As an advocate of space-related and space-scalable businesses, he founded the NewSpace Chicago community of space entrepreneurs and others engaged in building commercial space ventures in Chicago. He has received 4 patents. He graduated from Northwestern University with a BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

gezagyukGeza Gyuk, Ph.D.
Chief Scientist

Dr. Gyuk has a decade of experience in design and construction of space and near-space experiments and operational systems. He is a staff Astronomer at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago and has served as PI on nearly $5M of grant funding, including over $3M of federal grants. He has 15 years of experience managing R&D groups, including the development of a star-tracker for the VERITAS project, novel algorithms for the extraction of high energy events in the presence of spatial and temporal noise, and imaging, control and communications systems for high altitude balloons.

Dr. Gyuk has interests in a broad range of subjects ranging from planetary exospheres to particle-physics cosmology. At the Adler Planetarium, he founded and leads the Far Horizons program, which is a community of amateurs, students and volunteers who design, build, and operate space exploration missions. Currently he is a member of the international VERITAS collaboration, which built and operates the world’s most sensitive TeV gamma-ray observatory. As part of Adler’s NEO followup and AVAST groups, he also studies Near-Earth Objects and the composition of V-type (basaltic) asteroids, thought to be remnants of larger proto-planetary objects.

Dr. Gyuk received his degrees at Brown University and the University of Chicago.

Joel Vinas
VP of Business Development

Joel Viñas was raised in Florida, in the shadow of the Space Coast. After service in the U.S. Marine Corps as an avionics calibration technician, Joel pursued a degree in business management with the University of Central Florida. Joel has honed his unique business and analytical insight through various roles as marketing, business and operations analyst. A certified project manager, Joel has been an integral part of the NewSpace Business Plan competition, both as operations manager and as an advisor to entrepreneurs, coaching finalists and preparing them for investor pitches.

An ardent supporter of human space settlement, Joel is an Advocate of the Space Frontier Foundation, and a member of the National Space Society, Planetary Society and Chicago Astronomical Society. He serves as the Executive Director for the Center for Space Commerce and Finance, a nonprofit enabling space startups. He is also co-founder of Chicago’s space-centric networking organization, NewSpace Chicago.

Board of Advisors

EpsteinHarry 150x150Harry Epstein

Harry Epstein is currently the President of Quadrant Management Consulting and Managing Director of Quadrant Management Inc. based in New York. His focus at Quadrant is in the areas of strategic consulting, innovation, IP commercialization and the building of strategic alliances.

Harry is actively involved with a variety of organizations across many industries. In addition, Harry serves on innovation and advisory councils for several major brand organizations. Harry frequently speaks in public in the areas of innovation, sustainability, renewable energy and packaging, and serves as a guest lecturer in academia.

Harry has numerous published articles in peer-reviewed international theoretical physics journals and is an accomplished classical pianist. He was educated at Dawson College and McGill University in Montreal in math, physics, business and chemistry. He is married, has four children and is based in Chicago.

Brian G. Peterson

Brian Peterson is a Partner and the Head Trader for Automated Trading at DV Trading in Chicago.  At DV, Brian runs a quantitative trading team that is a top-25 market maker in multiple Interest Rate and Energy markets, and a registered market maker in many of them. In addition to Interest Rate and Energy products, Brian’s team also trades FX, Agriculture, and other Commodities. Brian’s team regularly participates as a designated market maker in new product launches on several global commodities exchanges.

Brian is also a senior lecturer at the University of Washington’s Computational Finance and Risk Management department where he teaches quantitative trading systems development. In computational finance Brian has published multiple papers on portfolio risk and portfolio construction, and is regularly invited to speak at major conferences on topics related to quantitative finance. Brian is also an author or co-author of more than 10 open source packages for using R in Finance, the organization administrator of R’s participation in Google Summer of Code, and a founding member of the conference committee for the annual R/Finance quantitative finance conference in Chicago.

Prior to DV and UW, Brian held similar positions at other major Chicago trading firms, and was an executive at two global management consulting firms, one of which was included the Fortune 1000 during the 90’s Internet boom. As a management consultant, Brian has advised 8 of the top 10 global banks and many regional banks, approximately half of the top 25 asset managers, global brokerages, and many other non financial services clients in industries including health care, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, services, and technology.

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