Meet our Speakers

Hear directly from a mix of diverse NASA speakers - from the Administrator, Jim Bridenstine, to our Program Executive, Jenn Gustetic, this event brings you direct access to leaders and technical contacts.
Gerald Sanders
NASA ISRU System Capability Lead
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Gerald Sanders

NASA ISRU System Capability Lead

Gerald Sanders has worked at the NASA Johnson Space Center full time for 35 years in the Propulsion and Power Division of the Engineering Directorate, and has extensive experience in propulsion, fluid systems, and In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU). Gerald Sanders has worked in the area of ISRU for over 25 years. During this time, he has led multiple strategic plans, architecture studies, development projects, and analog field tests for ISRU advancement. Gerald Sanders currently serves as the NASA ISRU System Capability Lead (SCL), and Co-Investigator for Human Mission Extensibility for Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment (MOXIE) on the Mars 2020 rover. As the ISRU SCL, he serves as the technical steward for the Agency on ISRU, coordinates activities across multiple Mission Directorates and Centers, leads activities to inform mission planning work and investment strategies, and serves as Agency-wide resource to help NASA missions leverage technologies, facilities, and workforce unique to the capability.

He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Cincinnati in 1987.

Kate Kvaternik
NASA SBIR/STTR Program Support Manager
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Kate Kvaternik

NASA SBIR/STTR Program Support Manager

Kate Kvaternik is the Program Support Manager for NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Programs. She is responsible for managing processes within the solicitation lifecycle, developing program guidance materials, and facilitating new initiatives. Kate has 15 years of experience with NASA’s SBIR/STTR program and an additional 3 years with the NASA Technology Transfer program. Kate holds a Bachelor of Science from Colgate University with a major in Biology and minor in Chemistry.

William Toscano
NASA SBIR/STTR Program Post-Phase II Technical Advisor
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William Toscano

NASA SBIR/STTR Program Post-Phase II Technical Advisor

Dr. William Toscano is currently working in the NASA SBIR/STTR Program Management Office at NASA Research Center (ARC) at Moffett Field, CA. His role is to manage and help expedite the commercialization of technologies developed by small companies funded by the NASA SBIR/STTR Program. Prior to his current role, Dr. William Toscano worked in the NASA ARC Technology Transfer Office for ten years, where he was responsible for developing partnerships and processing NASA Space Act Agreements with companies such as Google, Nissan North America, Amazon, Boeing, General Dynamics, Motorola, Lockheed Martin, and many others as well as Interagency Agreements with other Federal Agencies such as DARPA, DoD, FAA, USGS, USDA, and others.

Prior to his time with NASA, Dr. William Toscano worked for Agilent Technologies, Fujitsu, Electronic Data Systems, and several small companies including three startup companies. The market/businesses spaces included engineering consulting, semiconductors and circuit boards, software (engineering, simulation, mathematical, and environments/tools), test and measurement equipment, industrial and commercial equipment (engines, compressors, heat pumps, refrigeration systems and appliances), and cryogenic process equipment. His technical and businesses roles included engineering manager, marketing vice president, sales and marketing vice president, business development vice president, director of sales, and president/general manager.

Dr. William Toscano has a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Master of Business Administration in Marketing and Finance from the Boston University. Dr. William Toscano has authored more than 35 technical papers and publications and he has one US patent.

Carol Lewis
NASA SBIR/STTR MD Liaison, SMD
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Carol Lewis

NASA SBIR/STTR MD Liaison, SMD

Dr. Carol Lewis is the NASA SBIR Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Liaison. This includes supporting the SMD Mission Directorate Representatives in SBIR solicitation and portfolio activities, and providing program oversight guidance which reflects NASA Science technology needs and priorities. Prior to November 2018 she was Jet Propulsion Lab’s (JPL) SBIR/STTR Center Technology Transition Lead, which included planning, developing, and implementing activities to assure that the program produced technologies that support JPL and NASA missions, and collaborating toward their commercialization by industry.

Prior to joining SBIR/STTR, she served as a technical line manager for spacecraft power systems and technologies, and optical and chemical sensors. Her organizations supported numerous planetary and earth orbiting flight projects with hardware design, development and testing, and cutting-edge technology development of photovoltaic arrays, thermal to electric power conversion, solid state electrochemistry, advanced bulk and thin film batteries, direct methanol fuel cells, optical metrology sources, and array-based chemical sensing. As Instrument Manager for JPL's ENose, she led the delivery of this array-based sensing technology demonstration, bridging the TRL 4-to-6 transition; a year later, ENose completed its successful six-month ISS flight experiment. Before joining JPL, Dr. Carol Lewis supervised the materials development group at the Varian Research Center (Palo Alto) that was responsible for numerous record-breaking efficiencies for single-junction and multijunction single-crystal semiconductor solar cells.

She received a Ph.D. degree in Inorganic Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Yale University.

Alison Mutter
NASA SBIR/STTR Program Senior Business Analyst
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Alison Mutter

NASA SBIR/STTR Program Senior Business Analyst

Alison Mutter is a Senior Business Analyst for the NASA SBIR/STTR program. She joined the Project Management Office (PMO) team at Ames Research Center in 2017, and works mainly on Post Phase II initiatives, ensuring processes including Phase II-E and CCRPP run smoothly as well as helping to develop new vehicles.

Before joining the PMO, Alison worked in a related role supporting the development team for the NASA SBIR/STTR program's Electronic Handbook (EHB), where she supported requirements and process documentation, as well as serving as the team's agile coach. She also has previous experience supporting the Small Business Administration (SBA), where she developed a metrics program to better understand customer engagement on their public website (SBA.gov).

Alison Mutter has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics from Bard College.

Nancy Mendonca
NASA Deputy ARMD Mission Integration Office (AMIO)
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Nancy Mendonca

NASA Deputy ARMD Mission Integration Office (AMIO)

Nancy Mendonca is currently the NASA Deputy in the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) Mission Integration Office (AMIO). The AMIO integrates ARMD’s Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) efforts across the four ARMD Programs and with the AAM community. She served 24 years in the Navy flying H-46 helicopters. Between the Navy and NASA she worked at the Missile Defense Agency on the Marine Corps MRAP Program and at NTIA working on the Federal Strategic Spectrum Plan. She graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering and subsequently eared Master of Science degrees in Aeronautical Engineering and National Security and Strategic Studies. She is also a Certified Public Accountant and has currently prioritized rescuing Great Danes and riding horses over flying helicopters.

Danielle Piskorz
NASA SBIR/STTR Center Technology Transition Support
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Danielle Piskorz

NASA SBIR/STTR Center Technology Transition Support

Dr. Danielle Piskorz supports technology transition for the NASA SBIR/STTR Program at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Previously she served as a member of the technical staff in the Visible and Infrared Sensor Systems Department at The Aerospace Corporation. She has also worked in the space policy group of the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) and at the Space Studies Board (SSB) of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Danielle Piskorz earned a Bachelor’s degree in physics with a minor in international studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D in planetary science from the California Institute of Technology.

Kevin Engelbert
NASA SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer Representative
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Kevin Engelbert

NASA SBIR/STTR Contracting Officer Representative

Kevin Engelbert works closely with U.S. companies seeking to develop and demonstrate in-space manufacturing capabilities on the International Space Station National Lab to serve both commercial and government clients. Kevin Engelbert serves as the Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR) for NASA’s contracts with these small business partners. Kevin Engelbert also supports development and implementation of NASA’s ISS commercial use and pricing policies and solicitations to enable the development of an economy in low-Earth orbit.

Kevin Engelbert joined the ISS Research Integration Office in 2016. Prior to that, Kevin Engelbert served as the Business Manager in the ISS Development Projects Office beginning in 2012. Kevin Engelbert held multiple positions in the ISS Mission Integration and Operations Office going back to 2002 when he joined NASA. He worked as an engineer and mission manager for a NASA contractor in the spacesuit and spacewalk arena beginning in 1990.

Kevin Engelbert graduated from Texas A&M University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering. He earned a Master of Science degree in Finance from the University of Houston at Clear Lake in 2000.

Michael Hester
MSRDC President & CEO
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Michael Hester

MSRDC President & CEO

Michael Hester is a seasoned, visionary leader and analytical business strategist with over 25 years of experience in managing large-scale programs for nonprofits and educational institutions. In addition to having expertise in strategic change management and organizational processes, Michael Hester has additionally demonstrated expertise in connecting minority institutions of higher education and small businesses to contracting opportunities in the federal marketplace.

In the early phase of his career, Michael Hester gained invaluable experience in all facets and levels of education administration ranging from K-12, community college, four-year institution and STEM educational policy at the federal level. In addition to holding a number of administrative positions in higher education in areas such as accreditation and outcomes assessment; program evaluation; institutional research and planning, he continues to teach as an adjunct professor in nonprofit management, business administration and graduate level statistics.

Michael Hester continued his work in minority education grants and contracts administration during his tenure with NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. While there, he managed multiple projects valued at over $12M for the NASA Minority University Research and Education Division and supervised a 40-member team of analysts.

Immediately prior to working with the MSI STEM Research & Development Consortium, Michael Hester served as Vice President & COO and later assumed the role of President & CEO of the UNCF Special Programs Corporation (UNCFSP). While there, Michael Hester managed a $78M portfolio of federal and privately funded programs and applied his experience in education administration, business management, strategic planning and federal contracting to chart new enriching paths for minority serving institutions in Global Competitiveness and Technology Initiatives and Commercialization.

Michael Hester graduated from Duke University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and received the Master of Public Administration degree from North Carolina Central University. He has served as an adjunct faculty member at Southeastern University, Guilford Technical Community College, and Saint Augustine’s College and is currently an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Maryland, Global Campus.

Alan Arnold
MSRDC Director of Research Development
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Alan Arnold

MSRDC Director of Research Development

Dr. Alan Arnold is the Director of Research Development for MSI STEM Research Development Consortium (MSRDC) and provides vision and direction to increase MSI funding for research, development, testing, and evaluation (RDT&E) programs and activities. He develops collaborations between MSIs/HBCUs, non-MSI institutions of higher education, and industry to create innovation for federal agencies according to their research priorities and capability gaps. Prior to joining MSRDC, Dr. Alan Arnold was an AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation where he provided guidance for the Excellence Awards in Science and Engineering (EASE) Program to government contractors for the development, implementation, launch, and continued management of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) and the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM). He found great interest and success in fostering collaborations and potential partnerships between institutions (academic and non-academic) by establishing an engagement process between NSF and external stakeholders for the Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) program to promote best practices for faculty diversity and inclusion initiatives to increase diversity within faculty ranks. Dr. Alan Arnold was nationally awarded for developing research and teaching excellence procedures for staff while teaching medical courses in China.

Dr. Alan Arnold was born and raised in inner city of Flint, Michigan. He has a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from Wayne State University School of Medicine and a Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology from Ferris State University.

John Sankovic
Ohio Aerospace Institute President and CEO

John Sankovic

Ohio Aerospace Institute President and CEO

Dr. John Sankovic, named president and CEO of Ohio Aerospace Institute. As OAI’s new leader, John Sankovic will prioritize developing multi-university partnerships, driving research from university laboratories to Ohio’s industrial aerospace manufacturers and fostering novel collaborations between governments, industries, and private organizations.

John Sankovic comes to OAI following a distinguished 31-year career at NASA, where he most recently served as center chief technologist and director of the Office of Technology Incubation and Innovation. There, he received numerous awards, including the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, six Agency Honor Group Achievement Awards and an R&D100 technology innovation award.

An industrious academic, John Sankovic earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from The University of Akron, his Master of Business Administration degree from Cleveland State University and his Master’s and Doctorate degrees in biomedical engineering from Case Western Reserve University. He is a registered professional engineer in the State of Ohio with distinction by the Ohio Society of Professional Engineers for highest achievement on both licensure examinations. He holds three U.S. patents.

Inclined to share his knowledge and passion with future generations of innovators, John Sankovic has taught numerous university courses over the past 15 years and authored or co-authored more than 70 technical publications on topics ranging from space propulsion and power to fluid mechanics and biomedical sciences.

Anthony Gillespie
Ohio Aerospace Institute Senior Program Manager
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Anthony Gillespie

Ohio Aerospace Institute Senior Program Manager

Anthony Gillespie is a Senior Program Manager at the Ohio Aerospace Institute managing their small business assistance and technology-led economic development programs. He has over 29 years of experience working in a variety of technology and business roles strategically applying technology to create value for non-profits, academia, government, and industry throughout the nation.

Anthony Gillespie has over sixteen years of small business development experience, which has been gained as an entrepreneur, working at a business incubator to develop a commercialization strategy for a selected NASA technology, helping with the formation of two startup companies based upon technology created at Carnegie Mellon University, and managing technology consulting projects across a variety of sectors. While at Carnegie Mellon University, he obtained strong technology, legal, and business experience by evaluating and marketing inventions, negotiating license agreements with small and large businesses, and working with external counsel to develop and execute legal strategies to protect different types of intellectual property for the engineering, computer science and data storage technology applications. He is also founder and President of Keen Point Consulting, LLC (KPC), a minority-owned, small business firm established in 2015 that offers technology-led strategic consulting and implementation services. His consulting work with KPC has focused on technology-based economic development strategy and implementation projects in the State of New Hampshire and Ohio.

Prior to forming KPC, he managed the business operations of Battelle’s Technology Partnership Practice and helped to design and lead the implementation of technology-based economic development programs focused on innovation partnership strategies and technology commercialization throughout the United States. He gained extensive technology experience in the electric power and financial services industries by working for ten years as an engineer and project manager for American Electric Power (AEP) and The PNC Financial Services Group.

He holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from The University of Dayton and dual degrees from Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management with a Master of Business Administration specializing in entrepreneurship and an Master of Science in Management of Information Systems (MS-MIS).

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