The World's Forum for Aerospace Leadership

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American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

    Rising Leaders in Aerospace Forum
    Rising Leaders In Aerospace Forum

    AIAA's Rising Leaders in Aerospace Forum provides a forum for young aerospace leaders, age 35 and under, to learn from and engage with others.

    The multidimensional program features a networking event with senior industry leaders, a peer networking reception, design competition presentations, a report from the SGAC Fusion Forum, and a panel session with young professionals discussing their early-career experiences.


    Sponsored By:
    ULA Logo


    Program of Events


    Leadership Exchange

    Tuesday, 10 September 

    1630–1730 hrs

    Room 29AB
    An event for young aerospace professionals to meet and network with senior industry leaders.


    Senior Mentors

    Andy Aldrin, Director of Business Development for Human Launch Services, United Launch Alliance

    Michael Griffin, AIAA President 

    Lt Gen Michael Hamel, Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy & Relations, Orbital Sciences Corporation  

    Lt Gen (Ret) Larry D. James, Deputy Director, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

    Greg Jones, Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, Orbital Sciences Corporation 
    Janet C. Karika, Director, Interagency Launch Programs, Jacobs NASA Launch Services Program 

    David King, Executive Vice President, Dynetics, Inc.

    Lt Gen (Ret) Tom Sheridan, Vice President, National Security Space, SI Organization, Inc.
    Lt Gen (Ret) Eugene L. Tattini, Deputy Director, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

    Mark Valerio, Vice President and General Manager, Military Space, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company



    Networking Reception

    Tuesday, 10 September 

    1830–2030 hrs

    Aqua Patio at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront

    The AIAA Young Professional Committee will be hosting a networking reception. This is a great opportunity for young professionals to meet other members and make new contacts.




    University Design Competition Winners

    Wednesday, 11 September
    1000–1100 hrs

    Room 29AB
    Every year AIAA and the AIAA Foundation sponsor several university-level design competitions to allow students to work on systems that resemble current real-world challenges. The competitions are developed by the AIAA Student Activities Committee and various AIAA Technical Committees.

    The students review the materials and objectives, design a vehicle or system, and then submit a major design report on their project. Often these projects primarily involve juniors and seniors who will be entering the workforce shortly after submitting their reports. This year’s winners in the space categories will be making presentations on their projects as part of the AIAA Rising Leaders in Aerospace Forum.


    AIAA Undergraduate Team Space Design Competition

    Paper Title: Conceptual Design for a Space Based Solar Power System
    School: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Authors: Cory Cameron, Philip Freidin, Brian Levine, Izan Peris Marti, Michael Reindl, Jason Swenson, John Teuber, Ernest Company Vallet
    Faculty Advisor: David Carroll 

    AIAA Undergraduate Team Space Transportation Design Competition

    Paper Title: Ironfly EJ
    School: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
    Authors: Timothy Grondin, Theresa Brown, Austin Coffey, Peter Edwards, Ryan May, Michael Mezzettone, Reamonn Norat, Sam Patel, Matthew Perry, Tyler Roberson
    Faculty Advisor: Eric Perrell



    Report from the 2nd Annual SGAC Fusion Forum

    Wednesday , 11 September

    1100–1130 hrs

    Room 29AB

    The Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) completed its second Space Generation Fusion Forum ( in conjunction with the 29th Annual National Space Symposium in April in Colorado Springs. Over two days, the Space Generation Fusion Forum offered the next generation of space sector leaders from government, industry, and academia the opportunity to come together to exchange views on current and pressing space topics via interactive panels moderated by today’s sector leaders. The AIAA MVP Award was presented to Lewis Groswald, who was selected from the five top participants of the Fusion Forum nominated by a panel of judges comprised of space industry leaders. He will represent SGAC and present the report of the Space Generation Fusion Forum.

    Lewis Groswald   Lewis Groswald
    Associate Program Officer
    Space Studies Board
    National Research Council
    Washington, DC 
    SGAC logo  Fusion Forum Logo

    Panel Session: Navigating Through the Space Industry as a Young Professional

    Wednesday , 11 September
    1430–1630 hrs

    Room 29AB
    Panelists from a variety of backgrounds will draw on their personal experience to share tips and tricks for young professionals in the space industry. This session will offer ample time for questions, discussion, and meeting other YPs who are at the conference.


    Sandy Coleman, Director, NASA Exploration Program, ATK Washington Operations 

    Lewis Groswald, Associate Program Officer, Space Studies Board, National Research Council, Washington, DC
    Paul Guthrie, Business Development Lead, The Tauri Group, Alexandria, VA
    Ronald Kohl, President, R. J. Kohl & Assoc., Jefferson, MD
    Zachary Krevor, Deputy, Systems Engineering and Integration, Dream Chaser Program, Sierra Nevada Corporation, Louisville, CO


    Panel Moderator:

    Kate Stambaugh, Space Systems Engineer, JHU/APL, Laurel, MD