David Hurst is a technology innovator and entrepreneur, having founded multiple successful technology companies.
He has over 30 years of experience in software engineering, developing complex systems, managing software development teams, and delivering products. He has performed technical due diligence and business strategy assessments for venture capital firms and advanced technology start-ups. In 2013, he left the IT industry to follow his passion for space exploration. Mr. Hurst founded Orbital Transports to develop the space logistics and orbital infrastructure technologies needed for the emerging economy of space resources—and ultimately to support human settlement of the Solar System. Mr. Hurst performs systems engineering and project management for small satellite space missions. He is a contributor to the INCOSE Space Systems Working Group CubeSat System Reference Model and develops MBSE practices for small satellite missions. As an advocate of space-related and space-scalable business, he founded the NewSpace Chicago community of space entrepreneurs and others engaged in building commercial space ventures in Chicago. Mr. Hurst graduated from Northwestern University with a BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He has received four patents.Read more
Geza 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. Read more
Jeff KrukinVP Business Growth
Jeff Krukin’s dual-track career (Aerospace & Defense and Information Technology) began as an IBM Systems Engineer, where his customers were NASA’s Johnson Space Center and aerospace contractors.
During his 25-year Information Technology career, he specialized in strategic business and technology planning and implementation, technical sales/business development, marketing, and communications.
Jeff left the IT industry in 2004 to establish his space career in North Carolina’s Research Triangle area. He quickly conceived the North Carolina Aero/Space* Economic Development Project and received two grants for educating political, business, and economic development leaders about the entrepreneurial NewSpace industry and its significance for the state’s manufacturing sectors. He was the primary researcher and author of The Aero/Space Economy in North Carolina: A Preliminary Assessment of Current Performance and Future Prospects, and a key contributor to North Carolina’s Strategic Plan for Workforce Development in the Aviation and Aerospace Industries. In 2009, The North Carolina Aerospace Alliance retained Jeff to organize the state’s first NewSpace Commerce Forum. In 2010, Jeff led a commercial spaceport exploratory committee involving regional economic development organizations, and the state’s Department of Commerce and Department of Transportation.
From January 2005 through December 2007, Jeff was Executive Director of the Space Frontier Foundation, a non-profit NewSpace advocacy organization. He has been widely recognized for dramatically improving its professional impact, reputation, and operations.
Jeff is a global speaker and strategic thinker, appearing across the United States and Europe, and in Canada, Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong. He has been interviewed for newspapers, magazines, radio, and television from Los Angeles to Palm Beach, as well as in Europe and Asia.Read more
Board of Advisors
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.Read more
Brian G. Peterson
Brian Peterson served as lead executive for quantitative trading in multiple Chicago proprietary trading firms, including DV Trading and Hehmeyer Trading,
and has also traded in Foreign Exchange, Agriculture, and other commodities. Not only has Mr. Peterson been a top-25 market maker in oil and gas markets, he has also participated as a designated market maker in new product launches on several global commodities exchanges.
Mr. Peterson teaches quantitative trading systems development as a senior lecturer at the University of Washington Department of Computational Finance and Risk Management. He is a sought-after speaker on quantitative finance with several publications on portfolio risk and portfolio construction. He has authored or co-authored more than ten open source packages for using R in Finance. He co-founded the annual R/Finance quantitative finance conference in Chicago and leads R’s participation in Google Summer of Code.
Mr. Peterson was previously an executive at global management consulting firms, including a Fortune 1000 firm during the 90’s Internet boom. As a management consultant, he advised 8 of the top 10 global banks, global brokerages, nearly half of the top 25 asset managers, and clients in other industries such as health care, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, services, and technology.Read more
Peter Wokwicz currently serves as both interim CIO and CEO for companies going through changes, including M&As and IPOs.
He regularly works with the world’s best-known brands, in industries as diverse as ecommerce, retail, aerospace, finance, and consumer products.
He also currently serves as COO for Alpine Consulting, a technology firm advising mid-sized through Fortune 100 companies. Previously, he worked for Deloitte, where he managed strategic technology planning, system implementations, and process reengineering projects for real estate and financial industry clients.
In addition, he is an active investor in tech-enabled startups and sits on several Boards for prominent companies.Read more
Christopher Porada, Ph.D.
Dr. Porada is a professor at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. His research focus for over 25 years has been to develop safer and more efficient means of accomplishing gene transfer into clinically relevant cell types in vivo and
achieving immunological tolerance to the therapeutic transgene. The ultimate goal is to use this knowledge to develop safe, effective treatments for monogenic diseases such as hemophilia, which could be administered shortly after, or prior to, birth.
Additionally, he spent more than 10 years studying stem cell-based gene therapy, employing hematopoietic stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells as delivery vehicles for a variety of marker and therapeutic transgene cassettes. He has a great deal of experience transducing bone marrow-derived stem cells with a variety of viral vectors, and with tracking/characterizing stem cell engraftment after transplantation.
More recently, as a NASA-funded investigator working with NASA’s Translational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH), he has applied his knowledge of hematopoiesis and stem cell assay systems to define the effects of solar particle event and galactic cosmic ray radiation and conditions of microgravity on the human hematopoietic/immune system, using unique in vitro and humanized mouse model systems. The ultimate goal of this work is to define the risk of leukemogenesis astronauts will face during long-duration missions in deep space (such as those NASA has planned to the Moon, near-Earth asteroids, and Mars) and developing effective countermeasures to keep astronauts safe.
He received a Bachelor’s degree from Colgate University in molecular biology and a Ph.D. from the University of Nevada, Reno in Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology and Physiology. His thesis work was on in utero gene therapy under the tutelage of Dr. Esmail Zanjani, a pioneer and world leader in the field of fetal therapies.Read more