Speakers and Presenters

Patrick Binning

Patrick Binning - NSS Mission Area Executive, JHU APL

Patrick Binning is the mission area executive for National Security Space at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland. In this role, Binning is responsible for APL programs that focus on space solutions to critical national security challenges. Binning has nearly 25 years of experience in program management, research and development, technology transfer, satellite operations and executive management in the aerospace field. Before his new post he managed intelligence community programs within the National Security Space mission area. Binning joined APL in 2014, after serving as head of the Mission Management Office at the Naval Research Laboratory. He has also managed programs and directed research for the Missile Defense Agency, Office of the Secretary of Defense and National Reconnaissance Office, and served as Fellow in the Department of Commerce Science and Technology Fellowship program. He holds doctorate and master’s degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder; he earned a bachelor’s in aerospace engineering from the University of Cincinnati, Ohio. Binning is a recognized domain expert, and presents and speaks regularly at national and international space and missile defense symposiums and conferences.

Brad Cheetham

Brad Cheetham - CEO, Advanced Space

Bradley Cheetham (CEO and President of Advanced Space LLC) leads company operations and strategy, delivering flight dynamics and operations software and services to clients across the space industry. Mr. Cheetham is a cofounder of Advanced Space, which was created to support the sustainable exploration, development, and settlement of space. He is the lead instructor and curriculum developer for a graduate level two-course sequence in Commercial Spaceflight Operations at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Future Space Leaders Foundation, is a member of the Entrepreneurship and Investment Committee of the International Astronautical Federation, and serves on the Board of Advisors and the Board of Trustees of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS). Mr. Cheetham earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanical Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he has also conducted significant research on spacecraft navigation in support of a Doctorate of Philosophy.

John Conafay

John Conafay - Analyst, Bryce Space and Technology

John Conafay is a graduate of the design school at Arizona State University and veteran of the United States Air Force. John started his space career with the NewSpace Initiative and CubeSat laboratory in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at ASU, and eventually worked for the Director of the school. He then went on to work as Business Operations Intern at Spire Global in San Francisco, CA where he worked to make operations more efficient and fostered his love for CubeSats. While working and pursuing his degree full-time, Conafay was Treasurer and then Executive Director of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, USA. While in these roles he, with his phenomenal team, streamlined operations, finance, and accounting systems, invested the national endowment, spearheaded the first national rebrand in over 35 years, and raised over $500,000 for the organization. John is currently an analyst with Bryce Space and Technology, formerly working on performance and budget analysis for NASA Headquarters before being asked to join the Bryce business development team.Space Generation Advisory Council. John is passionate about the economic development of low-income countries through the utilization of space, learning about the economic impacts of space weather, and is a huge comic nerd.

Nick Day

Nick Day - Mechanical Engineer, Jacobs

The Honorable Lori Garver

The Honorable Lori Garver - General Manager, Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l.

The Honorable Lori Garver serves as the General Manager of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l., the largest airline pilot union in the world. Prior to joining ALPA, Lori served as the Deputy Administrator of NASA from 2009 – 2013. Her efforts at NASA focused on advancing U.S. aeronautics and space activities through technology development, partnerships and innovation. This was her second time serving at NASA, having previously served in a number of positions from 1996 – 2001. Other public roles have included being the lead civil space policy advisor to Mr. Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign and the head of his transition team for NASA. She also served as the lead space policy advisor for the Hillary Clinton and John Kerry presidential campaigns. Lori is a member of the Board of Directors of MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA), a global communications and information company. Lori earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Economics from Colorado College and a master’s degree in Science, Technology and Public Policy from George Washington University.

Sara Jennings

Sara Jennings - Facilitator, Frontier Development Lab

Phil Metzger

Phil Metzger - Associate Planetary Scientist, Florida Space Institute

Dr. Philip Metzger is a planetary scientist at the University of Central Florida, performing research related to solar system exploration and space resources. He co-founded the Kennedy Space Center's Swamp Works technology development lab, and he is a founding member and the current chair of the ASCE Technical Committee for Regolith Operations, Mobility and Robotics. He received the astronaut’s Silver Snoopy award in 2010 and was selected as the Kennedy Space Center’s NASA Scientist/Engineer of the Year for 2011.

Michael Meyer

Michael Meyer - Mars Exploration Program Lead Scientist, NASA

Michael Meyer is a Senior Scientist at NASA Headquarters in the Science Mission Directorate. He is the Lead Scientist for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, responsible for the science content of current and future Mars missions, and Program Scientist for the Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity mission. Dr. Meyer has also served as the science liaison for the Review of Human Spaceflight Plans Committee (Seeking a Human Spaceflight Program Worthy of a Great Nation). In 2009, Dr. Meyer was awarded Exceptional Service Medal and the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Professional Service. Meyer was the Senior Scientist for Astrobiology and Program Scientist for the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission, which was launched in 2001 and is still orbiting Mars. The Astrobiology Program, started in 1997 with Dr. Meyer as the Discipline Scientist, is dedicated to the study of the life in the universe. Since 1993, Dr. Meyer managed NASA’s Exobiology Program and from 1994 to 1997, Dr. Meyer was also the Planetary Protection Officer for NASA, responsible for mission compliance to NASA’s policy concerning forward and back contamination during planetary exploration. Dr. Meyer was the Program Scientist for the Mars Microprobe mission (DS-2) and for two Phase I Shuttle/Mir experiments. Meyer was detailed from the Desert Research Institute, University of Nevada, where he was an assistant research professor from 1989-97. From 1985 to 1989, he served as associate director and associate in research for the Polar Desert Research Center, Department of Biological Science, Florida State University. In 1982, he was a visiting research scientist at the Culture Centre for Algae and Protozoa in Cambridge, England.

William Pomerantz

William Pomerantz - VP Special Projects, Virgin Orbit

Will Pomerantz is the Vice President for Special Projects at Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit, the innovative launch company for small satellites. Working in the same role at Virgin Galactic from 2011 - 2017, he helped start Virgin Orbit, as part of his remit to extend Virgin Galactic's efforts beyond space tourism. He is also the Chair of the Board of Advisors of SEDS-USA and Co-Founder of the Brooke Owens Fellowship Program, a prestigious mentorship and work experience program for women pursuing aerospace careers. He is also a member of the Editorial Board of ROOM, a Space Journal, among other activities. In addition to countless presentations he has given on behalf of his employers, a TEDx talk explaining why humans explore space. Will is a graduate of Harvard, the NASA Academy, and the International Space University. From 2005 - 2011, he worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, serving as the primary author and manager of the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE and the $2 million Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander XCHALLENGE. He has also worked at Brown University, the Futron Corporation, and the United Nations, among others. Will was the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of SpaceAlumni.com, an early social network for space professionals. Additionally, Will has served on a US Federal Advisory Committees, on for the National Academies of Science and Engineering and one for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Todd Romberger

Todd Romberger - VP of Commercial Space, Space Florida

Todd Romberger is Vice President of Commercial Space at Space Florida, where he leads sector-focused business development, deal formation, and investment for Space Florida, specializing in high growth commercial space markets including small satellites, small launch vehicles, in-space manufacturing, and suborbital spaceflight. Prior to joining Space Florida, Todd held operational roles throughout the space industry including as a satellite operator of the Genesis I and Genesis II experimental expandable spacecraft at Bigelow Aerospace, and as a weightless flight coach for ZERO-G where he has accumulated over 500 weightless parabolas on commercial flights. Todd was the first person to taste test beer designed for consumption in space in a microgravity environment, and served on Crew 46 of the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah. He has also held engineering roles at Lockheed Martin and ASRC Aerospace, and holds a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Central Florida, where he served as President of SEDS-UCF and Vice Chair of SEDS-USA.

Robin Seemangal

Robin Seemangal - Reporter, PopSci

Joel Vinas

Joel Vinas - Executive Director, Center for Space Commerce and Finance

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 transitioned from technical proficiency towards a business focus. A Star Trek fan, Joel was torn between "engineering gold" or "command red" – so decided to do both. While pursuing his undergraduate degree in business management at the University of Central Florida, Joel began advising entrepreneurs in college, taking a leadership role as the vice president of both the entrepreneurship club and the economics club. Upon graduating, Joel’s dormant passion for space was renewed by the progress of the commercial space market. Since then, he’s been an ardent supporter of human space settlement while honing 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, ensuring smooth operations and applying his tight tolerances to the presentations. Joel is an Advocate for the Space Frontier Foundation, and a member of the National Space Society, Planetary Society and Chicago Astronomical Society. In addition to his role with The Center, Joel serves as co-founder of Chicago’s space-centric networking organization, NewSpace Chicago.