Col. USAF (ret), President and CEO
Sid Gutierrez earned a BS in Aeronautical Engineering from the United States Air Force Academy – Distinguished Graduate – and an MA in Management from Webster University. He is a graduate of the USAF Test Pilot School and has completed a number of executive management courses at UCLA, MIT and Stanford. In the Air Force he flew the F-15, F-16, T-38 and many other aircraft while serving as a fighter pilot, test pilot, and instructor pilot. Sid joined NASA as an astronaut in the mid-80’s and in the early ‘90’s he served as the Pilot of Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-40 Spacelab Life Sciences – SLS-1, a dedicated space and life sciences mission), and Mission Commander of Space Shuttle Endeavor (STS-59 Space Radar Laboratory – SRL-1, part of Mission to Planet Earth). Both missions were recognized with the Aviation Week & Space Technology Laureate Award for outstanding achievement in the field of space.
Sid retired from the Air Force and NASA in ’94 and joined Sandia National Laboratories, where he served in various senior leadership positions. As a Center Director he was responsible for programs introducing disruptive ideas and technologies into satellites, space payloads and sensors and vulnerability assessments and analysis tools. He was responsible for a very successful half a billion dollar national security satellite system. He led innovations in national programs including support to the nuclear fuel cycle and international efforts to reduce the threat of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Recognizing the potential of Rocket Crafters’ innovative technologies and ideas, in ’12 Sid joined RCI as a member of the Board of Directors. Committed to changing the way we access space, in February ’15 he retired from Sandia to become the CEO of Rocket Crafters and Chairman of the Board. He is responsible for working with the RCI Team to establish and implement the goals and objectives of the company. In addition to serving on the Board of RCI, Sid serves, or has served, on the boards of other for-profit corporations and a number of not-for- profit organizations, a state technical university, NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel and a Presidential Commission.
Vice Chairman and Treasurer
Paul Larsen earned his BS in Engineering Management from the United States Air Force Academy, and his MBA from the Harvard School of business, specializing in Small Business Development and Small Business Operations.
Paul served for over 30 years as an Air Force and Federal Civil Service Price/Cost analyst, and a Procuring Contracting Officer (PCO); he held an unlimited warrant.
While with Air Force Material Command, Paul oversaw Contracting efforts for Minute-Man II Motor Wash-Out and Refurbishment; was Chief, Pricing and Finance Division; and President, University of Hill (Hill Air Force Base). Assignments during this time include Pricing Volume Manager for a complex $1.5b Air Force Pricing effort involving over 1,000 separate contract line items, each with four quantity ranges with firm fixed pricing for 10 years; Senior Price/Cost Analyst for major Program Depot Maintenance (PDM) contracts with European contractors to identify and repair structural and aircraft components for US jet fighter assets in the European Theater; working with several universities and colleges to improve and deliver education programs to Hill Air Force Base military and civilian employees; Pricing and Cost Analysis policy for the Command at Headquarters Air Force Material Command.
In ’10, Paul, Ron Jones, and Steve Edwards co-founded Rocket Crafters Inc. Today Paul serves as Vice Chairman and Treasurer. With his experience negotiating contracts and pricing, recruiting, managing, consulting and training government cost analysts, he brings to this position experience, leadership and focus that allows him to analyze and drive down costs to meet RCI’s financial and program goals.
Co-Founder and Chief Technologist
Ron Jones studied Physics Engineering at Western Kentucky University and earned a BS in Experimental Psychology from Southeastern Louisiana University in ’71. Later that same year he graduated from the Naval Aviation Officer Candidate School, after which he served as a Naval Flight Officer.
Earning the Human Resource Executive Certification from Babson College, Ron served as a Human Resource and Organizational Development executive through the mid-80s with Fortune 500 computer manufacturers. As Vice President, Administration and HR for CIS Technologies, a commercial software firm, he was a member of the senior executive team that built the company to ultimately dominate the field of healthcare digital claims processing services. As adjunct faculty with the Covey Leadership Center during the late-80s, Ron facilitated courses on leadership and personal effectiveness.
Following completion of The Center For Creative Leadership’s Leading For Organizational Impact: Looking Glass Experience program and learning that he scored in the top 1% globally in creative problem solving, Ron began transitioning his career during the mid-90s toward scientific and entrepreneurial pursuits; ultimately, selecting the then embryonic additive manufacturing field for development of advanced composite structures and related production technologies.
In ’99, he co-founded and was President of Shared Replicators Inc., a rapid prototyping service bureau that supported manufacturers and research organizations nationally. In 2001, he and his team made history working with Smithsonian NMNH paleontologists to recreate from scan data, an exact full-scale replica of the Museum’s famed Triceratops dinosaur’s skull and lower jaw.
In ’02 and again in ’03 Ron was awarded consecutive applied research grants from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology to support his work in advanced composites. In ’03, he was awarded a utility patent for his invention titled: Method for making freeform-fabricated core composite articles.
In ’04, Ron became interested in solving the recognized chronic problems inherent in Hybrid Rocket Engines (HRE), i.e., inconsistent-unpredictable thrust, excessive vibration, wasted fuel, and low specific impulse. Despite their safety and mechanical simplicity advantages over other forms of chemical rockets and their great potential for lowering the cost of space access, Hybrid Rockets had received comparatively little in the way of research support from NASA and the Department of Defense. Following two-years of investigation, Ron developed the first major breakthrough in this field in over 60 years, the patent for which is expected to be awarded in September of this year.
Late in ’10, Ron co-founded Rocket Crafters, Inc (RCI) with Paul Larsen and Steve Edwards. Today, as RCI’s President and CTO, he oversees all day-to-day operations and all research and development, manufacturing, and product development functions i.e., rocket propulsion, launch vehicle, supply chain management, manufacturing technology, and specialized ground equipment. With three additional HRE patent applications being prepared for submission later in ’16, Ron continues to innovate in this exciting and dynamic field.
Col. USAF (ret), Sr. Vice President - Propulsion
Rob Fabian earned a BS in Space Operations from the United States Air Force Academy, beginning a distinguished 25-year military career in both space operations and ballistic missile maintenance.
Rob worked extensively with the Air Force’s ICBM fleets, leading field repair and sustainment efforts on both the Minuteman III and Peacekeeper missiles as well as coordinating operations between the ICBM repair depot, acquisition program office, and the supporting logistics supply chain. As a space operations officer, his responsibilities spanned the gamut from day-to-day satellite tracking to planning and policy work at the highest levels of the government, including developing a 20-year roadmap for future space control system acquisitions and coordinating military and civil space policy issues across multiple Federal agencies.
In addition to his technical degree and extensive space and rocketry experience, Rob earned a Master of Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma and an MA in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College – Summa Cum Laude. His work has been published in the Proceedings of the Naval Institute and Astropolitics: The International Journal of Space Politics & Policy and he spent a year as an Air Force Fellow at RAND.
After retiring from the Air Force in ’13 Rob joined Rocket Crafters’ Advisory Board as a subject matter expert in rocket motors, military acquisitions, and military space operations. At the same time he began working with BAE Systems providing acquisition and program management assistance and advice to the Minuteman III ICBM program office, further deepening his insight into government acquisitions.
In March ’14 the company appointed Rob as Senior Vice President – Propulsion. Later that year he was appointed to the Board of Directors. He currently oversees all planning and program management associated with the company’s rocket engine development program. As the company transitions from a research focus to production, he will take on full divisional responsibilities for rocket engine production and launch vehicle integration.
Rob brings a proven track record managing the personnel, constrained budgets, and highly complex processes will be crucial in bringing RCI’s innovative new rocket motors to market on-time and on-budget. His in-depth space operations and policy experience within the Department of Defense and across other Federal agencies will be of great help as the company continues to grow and expand its customer base.
Sean Mirsky is an expert in Macro Economic Event and Algorithmic Trading infrastructure.
He is the founder and CEO of the ZNES Group, which uses its resources to invest in forward looking “development stage” opportunities that typically have their roots in space commerce, yet have some meaningful connection to trading.
Prior to that, Sean developed and co-led the global microwave network efforts of Jump Trading as Director and Chief Architect, achieving superiority in speed between US and European Trading locations. He also served as an embedded infrastructure specialist to key trading teams at Infinium Capital Management and Goldman Sachs.
On the Board of Directors of Rocket Crafters Inc., Sean is currently involved with commercializing patented 3D-Printed Rocket fuel and other breakthrough technologies for delivering Small Satellite (“SmallSat”) payloads to the precise orbit specified by each client.
Sean initially joined RCI’s Advisory Board, and in May ’16 was elected as a Board Member.
Capt. USN (ret), Board Member
Grant Begley is an aerospace leader in the highly specialized fields of manned systems, unmanned systems, and robotic systems. As an aerospace executive and consultant, his work results in the enablement of next generation capabilities. Begley is an accomplished initiator, developer, implementer and advisor of strategic planning, business development, resource obtainment, executive program management and technology insertion.
Grant, who has active security clearances, has enabled compelling new aerospace capabilities, future products and successes contributing to defense, national security and commercial applications for the federal government, Department of Defense, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, state governments, defense industry and the global private sectors.
Grant has successfully led the development of National Space Programs, from concept, to achieving compelling operational capabilities.
As a Certified Acquisition Executive, Grant advises global executive clients on competitive positioning, performance, and resolution of complex challenges leading to dramatic improvements.
Grant contributed to the development of the “Roadmap for U. S. Robotics 2013”, a White House initiative, as opening speaker and Team Leader. He served as Pentagon Senior Advisor – for Unmanned Systems, to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense.
In ’14 Grant became an Advisory Board Member for RCI. He has been a member of the Executive Board since late ’15.
Lt. Col. USA (ret), Vice President - Administration
With his BS in Public/Applied History from Oregon State University and a Masters in Public Administration, Management and Finance, Eric Witcher’s initial career was with the United States Army. At Lt. Colonel rank, he retired from the Army. With his Senior Professional of Human Resources certificate, Eric then experienced many more years as an HR Manager/Director with several Florida companies, followed by 7 years as an Assistant Professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Eric joined Rocket Crafters in July ’13. Eric oversees Human Resources, Purchasing, Security, and Corporate Programs.
With his BA and JD from the University of Oklahoma, Steve Edwards is an attorney by trade. However in the course of the last 3 decades he has earned remarkable prominence not only by providing sage advice and counsel on regulatory and environments issues, but also on business, legislative and political issues.
Steve held positions with Department of Energy (Attorney in the Office of the General Counsel responsible for legislative and environmental issues) as well as served as a consultant to the DOE, primarily on the National Energy Plan. While he served President Bush (“41”) as the Deputy Associate Director of Presidential Personnel, he was responsible for Presidential appointments at agencies including Energy and Agriculture. Following that, he served the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) as Chief Legal Counsel, where he delivered legal counsel to the GOP members of the US House of Representatives and candidates for Congress, and worked on federal campaign legislation.
Starting in ’92 Steve spent 7 years in the position of Chief of Staff for Jim Inhofe in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate and in ’99 he became Chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party.
Since ’02, Steve has been a principal with The Edwards Firm, where he represents clients with issues before the Oklahoma legislature, Corporation Commission, Tax Commission, Health Care Authority, Human Services and other agencies. The firm specializes in developing legislative strategies that fit each client’s business needs.
Late in ’10, Steve co-founded Rocket Crafters, Inc (RCI) with Paul Larsen and Ron Jones. Today he serves as RCI’s Corporate Secretary and as a Board Member.
The Company is also supported by a Board of Advisors that provides expert input and counsel to RCI management. Each Advisor is a seasoned professional in his or her respective field, and all are shareholders.
Dr. Mindy Howard earned her BS and MS in Industrial Engineering in the USA and her Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering and Management Science from Eindhoven University of Technology (Netherlands). She founded and is the Director of Inner Space Training, a Netherlands company that develops and delivers training for commercial astronauts, to help them with psychological acclimation to the different flight phases, and optimizing conditions for creating peak performance and a peak experience in space. Acknowledged as a Commercial Spaceflight Human Factors expert, Mindy has authored a number of publications and spoken to audiences at conferences, and to the media, on the subject.
Mindy has been an Advisor to RCI since March ’13.
Bill Macy is a recognized Advanced Manufacturing expert. His career includes being a former Boeing Phantom Works Engineer, and former Deputy Director at America Makes. Through his consulting firm, Macy Consulting, Bill is continuously pursuing the latest digital technologies to provide high quality, low cost solutions for complex manufacturing challenges.
Bill came on board as an Advisor to RCI in ’12.
Colonel David Hosley experienced a long and distinguished career with the United States Air Force. He started as an aviator at base level, culminating as Deputy Division Chief, Doctrine and Concepts Division, Headquarters, United States Air Force, Pentagon.
Along the way he was Director, Precommissioning Programs, Office of the Secretary of Defense as well as Assistant for Training and Education, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force. In both positions he was liaison with the White House, government agencies and departments, and congressional committees.
David commanded the Air Force Leadership and Management Development Center and the Center for Professional Development. As well, he was the Program Manager for Project Warrior, the Air Force wide cultural project to get the Air Force back to its basic roots. In this role David enjoyed personally working with the Air Force’s top leadership.
Upon retirement from the USAF, he built an FAA sponsored aviation program in Miami, Florida. Following that, the University of Central Florida needed a Program Manager for managing Department of Defense contracts. He then moved to the Space Shuttle Program where he became Director of Technical Training and then Executive Development for United Space Alliance.
Dave’s relationship with RCI developed as a result of his Board position on the Titusville-Cocoa Airport Authority. He has been an Advisor to RCI since September ’13 and brings significant expertise in the area of government relations.
After service as a Naval Officer, Paul Kosieracki earned an MBA in Finance from the U. S. International University. He was then employed by the Eastman Kodak Company for 30+ years, including 5 years as Executive VP and COO of Kodak Japan. Kosieracki amassed very broad international business experience while conducting business in 40 countries managing large mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures globally. As a Florida-licensed broker, in 2010 Paul established K&S Commercial, LLC, which is a full service commercial brokerage company. He presently provides consulting services, is an instructor at Eastern Florida State College (teaches courses on Business, International Business, Finance, and Entrepreneurship), and is on the Board of Directors for several privately held corporations.
Paul joined the RCI Advisory Board in early ’15.
Dale Coxwell works in a dual capacity as both the CEO of Coastal Steel Manufacturing, LLC and the Executive Vice-President/Owner of Coastal Steel, Inc. The companies specialize in simple and complex structural, ornamental and miscellaneous steel erection and fabrication and provide services both nationally and internationally. The portfolios for both companies include NBCUniversal and Disney (world famous structures such as the Animal Kingdom Expedition Everest, Magic Kingdom Mission Space and the 90-foot tall Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat at Disney MGM Studios), as well as numerous companies in Aerospace & Defense (Lockheed Martin, NASA, and SpaceX) and Industrial Manufacturing.
Over his 35-year tenure in the industry, Dale has been integral to his companies’ receipt of many awards, which include the Jefferson Award, the US Small Business Administrator’s Award for Excellence, the Governor’s Business Expansion Award, the Key to the City of Cocoa, Florida, the Key to the City of Cape Canaveral, Florida and the 2012 Fifty Florida Companies to Watch Award.
At any one time, Dale serves on the Board or in an Advisory position with about 10 professional and community organizations. He is a member of Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast and serves on its Industry Council. He is particularly proud of his work with the Ma-Chis Lower Creek Indian Tribe of Alabama – Economic Development Committee, and Scholarship Foundation. Dale maintains personal/corporate affiliations with AFL-CIO, SAME, SME and AISC.
Dale joined the RCI Advisory Board in August ’17.