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Board of Directors 2023-2024
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The Potomac Advocates
Goddard Dinner Chairperson / President Elect
United Launch Alliance
Youth Education Chairperson
Kevin “Morty” Mortensen
Meghan Allen is the Vice President of Government Relations, Sierra Space working as the primary representative for aerospace and defense legislative issues in its Washington, D.C. office. With more than 20 years in the aerospace industry, Allen is a key member of Sierra Space’s leadership team, applying her knowledge, insight, and strategic planning skills to produce comprehensive communications and action/engagement plans, and build networks, coalitions and contacts to effectively influence positive outcomes for the company. In her time as a government relations and legislative affairs specialist, Allen has worked with the Administration, Congressional Leaders and Federal Agencies to ensure appropriate budgets and regulatory regimes as we look to create platforms in space to benefit life on earth.
Sierra Space is a uniquely vertically integrated spacetech company that is creating the foundational infrastructure and ecosystem that will enable the future commercial space economy. Sierra Space Corporation and its affiliated companies have produced more than 4,000 space systems, subsystems, and components to components to customers worldwide while engaging in more than 500 space missions, including to Mars. This proud legacy of industry excellence will empower space technology’s next great leap.
Sharon Dunbar is vice president of Cross-Company Business Initiatives for General Dynamics Mission Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics. In this capacity, she supports General Dynamics Mission Systems and other General Dynamics business units through joint initiatives, strategy, and interfacing with senior Department of Defense customers.
Prior to her current position, Sharon was vice president and general manager of the Federal Systems line of business for General Dynamics Mission Systems. The Federal Systems team was responsible for delivering communication, surveillance, and public safety solutions for the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security. Sharon previously served as the company’s vice president of Human Resources.
Before joining General Dynamics in 2014, Sharon served 32 years in the U.S. Air Force. Her assignments spanned command, homeland security, contracting, and government relations. She retired in 2014 as a Major General and Commander of the Air Force District of Washington with responsibilities for aerospace expeditionary operations involving 60,000 personnel assigned worldwide and oversight of national capital region operations to include homeland security, special air missions, and national special security events.
Sharon earned a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering and business management from the U.S. Air Force Academy and graduated with distinction from the National War College with a Master’s Degree in National Security Studies. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from California State University and completed her doctoral studies in Public Policy at The George Washington University along with executive programs at Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Defense Acquisition University. Sharon serves on the board of directors for several non-profit organizations.
Joshua Hartman is the President of GEOST Inc and Chief Growth and Strategy Officer of LightRidge Solutions, the holding company that owns GEOST and two other companies in the space and airborne markets. In this role he responsible for ensuring successful corporate growth and overseeing operations. Separately. He is a champion of disrupting the space and intelligence communities by discovering novel technical and operational concepts as well as commercial approaches that solve national security problems. He has worked very hard to make commercial companies a successful part of our global innovation ecosystem.
Previously, Mr. Hartman was a partner at a Space-focused Venture Capital fund called The Flying Object. Separately he also was a Managing Partner and CEO at a corporate strategy firm focused creating company growth through organic and acquisitive activities in the Defense and Intelligence markets. He currently sits on several corporate boards, is featured frequently in defense-related publications, is regularly invited to speak at national and international forums and has testified in front of the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.
While in government, Mr. Hartman, serving as the Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (USD(AT&L)) and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space and Intelligence (DASD (SI)), was responsible for supporting the USD(AT&L) with a range of functional expertise related to Department of Defense (DOD) and intelligence community systems. Prior to his Pentagon time, he supported the U.S. Congress as professional staff on the House Armed Services Committee developing policy on U.S. national security issues, and later on the House Appropriations Committee shaping and guiding the DOD budget and national security policy and investment strategy. In recognition of his service, Mr. Hartman has received numerous military awards, was selected by Space News as one of the top 10 individuals in 2006 “making a difference” in space around the world, and was awarded the Secretary of Defense Outstanding Public Service Award.
He began his career as an officer in the U.S. Air Force. Mr. Hartman holds a B.S. in Physics from the U.S. Air Force Academy, and an M.S. with honors in Strategic Intelligence, with a concentration in Middle Eastern/Iranian affairs from the National Intelligence University. He also completed work in the Graduate Program of Business Administration at California State University, Long Beach. He continues to serve as a member of the Air Force Reserves with most of his previous duty at the National Reconnaissance Office and currently serving at the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) bridging the gap between commercial investments and government needs.
Megan O. Marsh
Megan O. Marsh is a Chief Solution Architect supporting SAIC’s Defense and Civilian Sector.
Marsh has more than two decades of experience supporting the Aerospace and Defense markets. Marsh thrives on cultivating relationships connecting industry executives to the forefront innovative technology.
Marsh is the National Co-Director for SAIC’s Women’s Employee Resource Group providing a forum for women and men to champion the growth, development, and engagement of women. This role fuels her passion for driving the company towards even stronger diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Marsh is currently serving as a board member of the National Space Club & Foundation, a non-profit association devoted to excellence in space activity.
Marsh has an Executive Masters in Science from George Mason’s School of Management and a Bachelor of Science from James Madison University where she majored in Integrated Science & Technology with a dual concentration in Manufacturing and Biotechnology.
Lisa Monaco, PhD
Dr. Lisa Monaco is Vice President and Deputy General Manager for Jacobs supporting the Jacobs Tidewater Operations Group (JTOG) in Hampton, VA. In this role, she provides executive contract oversight and direction on the Center Maintenance, Operations and Engineering contract with personnel at both NASA Langley Research Center and NASA Wallops Flight Facility. Support to the Navy Surface Combat Systems Center is provided at Wallops Flight Facility as well. At both NASA locations, Jacobs is a technical solutions provider working to help fulfill NASA’s critical missions.
Previously, Dr. Monaco supported a Jacobs contract at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center where she helped manage their technical workforce, implemented a technology innovation program, and established the Technical Fellows program. Prior roles also included Director of Science and Technology, Project Scientist, and Principal Investigator.
Dr. Monaco has been involved in the aerospace community for over 25 years. She has been active in her communities through Leadership Programs and in promoting STEM engagement. Dr. Monaco currently serves as a board member for the National Space Club and Foundation, Washington DC, the Virginia Aerospace Business Association (VASBA), the Christopher Newport University Department of Physics, Computer Science and Engineering Board of Advisors, the Virginia Institute for Spaceflight Autonomy (VISA) and the Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance (HRMFFA). She also devotes her time and energy to serving as the global co-chair of the Jacobs Women’s Network, an employee led team focused on ensuring all Jacobs women can thrive. She has co-authored over 30 technical papers and is an AIAA Associate Fellow.
Dr. Monaco received her B.S. from Seton Hill University, and both an M.S. in Chemistry and Ph.D. in Materials Science from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
Kevin “Morty” Mortensen
Mr. Mortensen joined BAE Systems, Inc., July 2017 and is currently the Vice President, Business Development, Strategy and Growth for Air and Space Force Solutions. In this role, Mr. Mortensen is responsible for all Business Development Activities for a portfolio value of over $5.5B. Prior to assuming this position, he was Vice President for International Marketing with the Swedish Space Corporation.
Mr. Mortensen is a retired U.S. Air Force Officer, having served 29+ years in a variety of national security space-related and leadership roles, including Director of Schriever Wargame 2012 Operational Assessment where he directed 285 interagency/coalition players from 25+ organizations executing the Commander of Air Force Space Command’s objectives on resilience, performance and affordability of future space architectures; Commander of the 3d Space Operations Squadron where he led 120+ military/civilian/contractor team conducting 24/7 ops for 12 Department of Defense Communication satellites worth $3.9B; and Chief of Space and Cyberspace Legislative Affairs Program where he liaison between Congress and the Air Force for annual authorization of all Air Force Space, Cyberspace and Intercontinental Ballistic Missile programs. He was also Aide-de-Camp to two Commanders of AF Space Command.
Mr. Mortensen currently serves on the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) National Board of Directors. He is also the Vice Chair of the NDIA Space Division and is the immediate Past President of the NDIA Rocky Mountain Chapter. Mr. Mortensen also serves the Vice Chair of the Colorado Springs Military Affairs Committee’s Board of Directors and is a member of the Colorado Springs Chamber/EDC Board of Directors.
Mr. Mortensen holds a B.S. degree in Organizational Management from Colorado Christian University, a M.S. degree in Management from Lesley College, and a post graduate certificate in Organizational Management from George Washington University.
Tami Plofchan is a Director for Government Affairs for the Lockheed Martin Corporation. She is responsible for developing strategies and executing government engagement campaigns in support of Lockheed Martin’s aerospace and defense portfolios before the U.S Congress. A primary responsibility includes advocating for the company’s NASA civil human deep space exploration and planetary robot missions, and NOAA’s weather satellites and instruments.
Tami came to Lockheed Martin from the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), where she was a Director of Legislative Affairs for three and one-half years engaged with the U.S. Congress on aerospace related authorization and appropriation bills on behalf of association’s almost 340 member companies. While at AIA, she was a senior team member executing AIA’s The American Rocketry Challenge (TARC) engagement with U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representative offices. TARC is the world’s largest student rocket contest with nearly 5,000 middle school and high school students nationwide competing each year.
Previously, Tami served in various roles as a congressional staffer in the U.S. House of Representatives with three southern California Members of Congress. She currently serves as Vice Chair for the Aerospace Industries Association’s Space Legislative Committee.
She holds a Master of Arts in Government Affairs from Johns Hopkins University and Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of California, San Diego.
Robbie Sabathier is the vice president of Government Operations and Strategic Communications for United Launch Alliance (ULA) headquartered in Centennial, Colorado. In this role, she is responsible for leading ULA’s interaction with key decision makers and stakeholders in Washington, D.C., and shaping critical policies and decisions related to ULA’s business. She oversees strategic communications including external and internal communications, as well as brand and event management.
Sabathier brings over 20 years of broad-based commercial and civil launch experience from her work with the European commercial launch company Arianespace, and space shuttle contractor United Space Alliance. In addition, she co-founded a startup telecommunication company specializing in designing, deploying and operating low-cost, high-speed internet networks to serve rural communities.
Sabathier is active in the aerospace industry engaging in community and university outreach to promote STEM education and to encourage women in aerospace. She serves as a board member for the National Space Club and Foundations, as well as the Washington Space Business Roundtable. Sabathier served four years on the FAA’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee as the Deputy Chair of the safety working group.
Sabathier holds a bachelor’s degree in international business from San Diego State University and a Juris Doctorate from American University Washington College of Law.
Joseph J. Vealencis is a Principal at Potomac Advocates, a premier defense, intelligence, space, science and technology research and consulting firm based in Washington, D.C.
Joe has more than 23 years of government and leadership experience. Prior to joining Potomac Advocates, he served as the Chief of Staff at Ball Aerospace, a leading aerospace, science, and defense company headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado with revenues over $2 billion/year. Joe served as strategic advisor to the President and the Executive Team in their management of the company’s daily operations and execution of its strategic plan. He ensured robust internal and external coordination, message planning, coordinated reporting activities to Ball Corporation and its Board of Directors, and led mergers and acquisitions discussions within the business unit.
A 1998 graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Joe’s leadership experience includes multiple Active Duty operational assignments, commanding ships in New England during/post the terrorist attacks of 9/11 conducting port security and law enforcement operations, and off the coast of Iraq protecting U.S. Marines and guarding critical Iraqi oil infrastructure. In 2005 he began an assignment as a Coast Guard Fellow on Capitol Hill, transitioning to full-time congressional staff shortly thereafter while finishing his Master of Science degree part-time.
From 2005 to 2010, Joe served in various positions with the House Committee on Homeland Security, including Staff Lead for the Transportation Security Subcommittee and acting Deputy Staff Director for the Committee. During this period, Joe oversaw the activities of multiple Department of Homeland Security entities, including the U.S. Secret Service, Transportation Security Administration, and later the U.S. Coast Guard. He authored multiple legislative provisions that were enacted into laws like the SAFE Port Act and the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act. He was instrumental in advancing the Committee’s access to the U.S. Intelligence Community, which he later joined in 2010.
While in the Intelligence Community, Joe worked in multiple legislative, public affairs, and leadership roles. He provided strategic counsel and engagement strategies for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s (ODNI) Office of Legislative Affairs. He led the National Counterterrorism Center’s Office of Strategic Communications from 2013-2015, coordinating its congressional and public affairs operations, as well as its domestic and foreign engagement programs. He went on to serve as the Director of the Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at the once secretive National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) where he led a team of active duty and civilian staff in their efforts to strengthen Legislative and Executive Branch communications and partnerships, and educate the public on the missions of the NRO.
Joe is former member of the Senior National Intelligence Service and is a veteran of the United States Coast Guard. He has received numerous personal, professional, and military awards throughout his career. In his free time, Joe sits on the Board of Directors for the National Space Club and Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to encouraging youth to pursue careers in STEM education.
Joe holds a Bachelor of Science from the U.S Coast Guard Academy and a Master of Science from the National Defense Intelligence College.
Lisa Wood is the Senior Director, Civil Space within the Strategic Operations Strategic Capability Unit within Ball Aerospace. In this role, Wood is responsible for growing the company’s civil space portfolio, including driving strategy, customer and stakeholder engagements in Washington, D.C., and expanding our opportunities in the civil space market. She also leads the Strategic Operations’ civil space team and partners across the enterprise.
Wood joined Ball Aerospace after a distinguished 30-year career of government service at NASA. Most recently, she served as the director of strategy implementation for the business’ Civil Space Strategic Business Unit. She worked across the organization to develop plans and processes in support of the business area’s strategic goals and new opportunities. She started at Ball Aerospace as the director of space sciences, where she was responsible for key customer and stakeholder engagement in the Washington D.C. area and beyond.
Prior to Ball, she served as a senior technologist in the Office of the Chief Technologist at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. In this role, Wood was the liaison to the NASA Science Mission Directorate, providing strategic planning to ensure technology investments within each science division were aligned with current space policy, Decadal Survey recommendations and Agency priorities. Prior to that role, Wood was the Associate Director of Mission Planning and Technology Development at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center for the NASA Earth Sciences Division, where she directed the Division’s activities associated with the definition, development and implementation of airborne and space mission concepts for competed and directed opportunities.
Wood holds a B.S. in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan, an M.A. in science, technology and public policy from George Washington University and an M.A. in secondary education, mathematics from Trinity College.
About the National Space Club & Foundation
The National Space Club and Foundation is a non-profit organization devoted to fostering excellence in space activity through interaction between industry and government, and through a continuing program of educational support. Awards are offered to recognize significant achievements in space science and enterprise. Scholarships and other education support are a major focus of Club activity.
The National Space Club and Foundation welcomes your questions and comments, including any comments or corrections to information on this website.