The Aerospace Event will provide aerospace and defense industry suppliers and stakeholders with a top-level, confidential, informative, and exclusive venue for executives to learn and exchange ideas on common concerns and new developments in our rapidly-changing industry.
Our goal is to provide the premier gathering venue for the important middle-tier of the aerospace and defense industry on an exclusive basis to ensure quality input and discussions.
The Aerospace Event in Washington, DC will focus on understanding the confluence of policy, technology and strategy for Aerospace & Defense.
The agenda is comprised of leaders who will provide knowledge, impactful and strategic discussions and contemporary debates on DoD budgets and policy, RDT&E and procurement trends, and geopolitics.
Conrad Washington, DC
October 9-10, 2023
Mr. Richard Aboulafia joined AeroDynamic Advisory in January 2022. Since 1988, he has tracked aircraft programs, markets, and companies as an analyst and consultant and now manages consulting projects in the commercial and military aviation field and analyzes broader defense and aerospace market and industry trends. Mr. Aboulafia has advised numerous aerospace companies, including most prime and many second- and third-tier contractors in the US, Europe and Asia. Additionally, he advises numerous financial institutions on aerospace market conditions.
Mr. Jeffrey Bialos is a partner in the global law firm of Eversheds Sutherland where he is Co-Head of the firm's Aerospace, Defense and Security Practice. His areas of practice include M&A, joint ventures, antitrust, export controls, foreign investment, government contracts, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Mr. Bialos has advised aerospace, defense and other high-tech firms making complex business decisions, governance, structuring transactions and regulatory compliance. Also,he has handled the antitrust review of major defense and aerospace transactions pursuant to the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and advised clients on the foreign acquisition of sensitive assets in defense and aerospace, financial services, and a range of other business areas. From 1999 to 2000, he served as the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Industrial Affairs and received the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal. Previously, in 1997 to 1999, he served as the Special Advisor to Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs Stuart M. Eisenstat. Prior to this, he served as Principal Deputy Assistant of Commerce for Import Administration.
Ms. Elaine Bitonti leads the Connected Battlespace & Emerging Capabilities portfolio for Collins Aerospace an RTX business where she is responsible for operational analysis, demonstration, experimentation, and transition of Collins' CJADC2 efforts. Ms. Bitonti's portfolio also assesses and matures emerging capabilities needed for future warfare.
Ms. Kathleen Boyle provides strategic leadership to achieve enterprise growth through the development and delivery of supply chain risk and supplier performance management solutions which help customers assure compliance, eliminate supply chain risk and receive quality product on time. Starting with an internship in 1991, she has over 30 years of organizational and management experience with the Verify group of companies. Ms. Boyle is a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors for Aerospace Industries Association, Founding President and current Board Member of Women In Defense – Greater Los Angeles Chapter and serves as the FBI's Defense Industry Sector Chief for the Bureau's West Coast InfraGard association.
Mr. Pierre Chao brings three decades of A&D investment, equity analysis, investment banking, strategy management consulting and M&A due diligence expertise. Founded in 2019, Proteus Capital Solutions is focused on making control investments in middle-market aerospace, defense and government services companies with the strategic goal of building the next generation of mid-tier competitors in the sector. Prior to Proteus Capital Solutions, he co-founded Renaissance Strategic Advisors — a premier Washington, DC, and London-based A&D strategy and M&A due diligence firm. From 1995-2003, he was an Institutional Investor ranked A&D equity analyst with Smith Barney, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and Credit Suisse First Boston. He led the #1 ranked U.S. and global A&D team every year eligible. Mr. Chao began his career as an M&A banker in the New York and London offices of Prudential-Bache Capital Funding.
Mr. Matthew Cordner is responsible for A&D-related activity within the global SAP Practice of HCL, including business development, bids, proposals and implementation support. Serving as Industry Advisor to client leadership, he provides thought leadership and consulting for Digital Transformation initiatives. Mr. Cordner began his career at Bell as a design engineer on the V-22 program and subsequently held a variety of leadership positions in Engineering, Manufacturing, R&D, Program Management, Manufacturing Engineering, Production Control and Quality. Also, he managed numerous aircraft, technology, process improvement and software implementation projects during his 33-year tenure at Textron. Mr. Cordner was Executive Director of Xworx — Bell's R&D organization responsible for developing innovative technologies as well as building and testing flying prototypes for Bell's next generation of vertical lift aircraft.
Mr. Conn Doherty has responsibility for the Battle Management Command & Control and Autonomy Solutions portfolio within the Mission Systems strategic business unit. His portfolio includes battle management solutions, multi-domain command and control, advanced networking solutions, mission autonomy and relationship responsibility for the ThalesRaytheonSystems joint venture. In his role, he is responsible for setting the strategy and delivering solutions across all domains for domestic and international customers to help them safely and successfully complete their most complex missions. Previously, he served as Vice President of Strategic Campaigns within Raytheon Intelligence & Space where he led strategic growth pursuits that spanned the RTX portfolio with all Department of Defense and international customers.
Dr. Ronald J. Epstein actively covers companies listed in the United States, Canada and Brazil. In the Institutional Investor All-America Research poll, he was ranked as a top-three analyst in Aerospace & Defense Electronics for the last 14 years and led the #1 team for the last eight years. Dr. Epstein is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and a mentor for the Techstars Space Accelerator. Previously, he worked as a research scientist in applied aerodynamics technology at Boeing Phantom Works. Also, he was an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, teaching fluid dynamics and control systems.
Dr. Evelyn Farkas has three decades of experience working on national security and foreign policy in the U.S. executive, legislative branch, private sector, and for international organizations overseas. In 2019-2020 she ran to represent New York's 17th Congressional District in the House of Representatives. Dr. Farkas is currently the executive director of the McCain Institute at Arizona State University. Prior to that, she was president of Farkas Global Strategies and a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Atlantic Council. From 2012 to 2015, she served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia, also covering the Balkans, Caucasus, and conventional arms control. From 2010 to 2012, she was the senior advisor to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and special advisor to the Secretary of Defense for the NATO Summit. Prior to that, she was the executive director of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism and was a senior fellow at the American Security Project.
Mr. Jeremiah Gertler provides market intelligence, analysis, and insight to private clients worldwide. Prior to joining Teal Group, he was the military aviation analyst for the Congressional Research Service for 12 years, where he testified before Congressional committees, briefed members and staff on policy, budget, technical, and other matters, and wrote and maintained reports on major military aviation programs. In previous Capitol Hill billets, he oversaw the entire defense procurement and missile defense budgets on the professional staff of the House Committee on Armed Services for FY2000 through 2005, responsible for $78 billion a year, and earlier, served as military legislative assistant to a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. As senior fellow at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, he was principal author or co-author of major reports on Department of Defense reform and missile defense, and initiated studies on reserve component roles and missions, systems acquisition, military logistics, and Special Forces aviation.
Ms. Amy Gowder leads a $5 billion operation focused on developing and manufacturing advanced and next-generation engines and systems for military air combat, trainer, tanker, helicopter, and marine applications as well as civil applications. With more than 26,000 engines in operation for 300 U.S. and international military customers, she and her team also provide service and support to ensure the fleet remains mission ready. Ms. Gowder has over 20 years of leadership experience in the aerospace and technology industry. Prior to joining GE, she served as Chief Operating Officer for Aerojet Rocketdyne where she led the Engineering, Operations, Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Quality & Mission Assurance, Safety, Health & Environment, and Information Technology organizations, and had oversight of 11 sites in nine states. During her tenure at Lockheed Martin, she held several key executive positions, such as president and general manager of Commercial Engine Solutions. As vice president and general manager for Lockheed Martin's Training and Logistics Solutions in the Rotary and Mission Systems business, she was responsible for the execution and strategic growth of the mission readiness and sustainment programs with more than 5,000 employees around the globe. Prior to Lockheed Martin, she worked for Accenture and specialized in Supply Chain Management for the high technology industry.
Mr. Todd Harrison leads efforts to conduct innovative, insightful and pathfinding research. Prior to joining Metrea, he was a senior fellow and the Director of Defense Budget Analysis and the Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). At CSIS, he led efforts to provide in-depth, nonpartisan research and analysis of defense funding, space security, and air power issues. Mr. Harrison joined CSIS from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), where he was a senior fellow for defense budget studies. At both CSIS and CSBA, he authored numerous publications on trends in the defense budget, military space systems, threats to space systems, civil space exploration, defense acquisitions, military compensation and readiness, and military force structure, among other topics. Mr. Harrison previously worked at Booz Allen Hamilton, where he consulted for the U.S. Air Force on satellite communications systems and supported a variety of other clients evaluating the performance of acquisition programs. Prior to Booz Allen, he worked for AeroAstro, Inc., a small startup developing advanced space technologies, and as a management consultant at Diamond Cluster International.
Mr. Derek Hess leads Business Development efforts for the Aviation and Security strategic programs portfolio. Prior to joining Sierra Nevada in 2015, he was Senior Vice President, Business Development for Beechcraft Defense Company. Prior to his business career, he served a distinguished 27-year career in the United States Air Force. While on active duty, he served as the Vice Commander of 1st Air Force; Commander, 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group; and Commander, 44th Fighter Squadron. Also, he served staff tours as the Division Chief of the Weapons System Division of the Secretary of the Air Force's Legislative Liaison Office and as the Director of Operations in the Air Force Division of the US Military Training Mission in Saudi Arabia.
Mr. Michael Knowles has more than 30 years of leadership experience in global aerospace and defense markets, including Cubic Corporation, Rockwell Collins, Lockheed Martin, and Curtiss Wright Defense Solutions. Over his career, he has effectively developed and launched market-changing technologies and products in both defense and commercial markets. As President and General Manager of Cubic Corporation's Mission and Performance Solutions business, he led a $700 million global business unit with 2,000 employees. Mr. Knowles directed the development and implementation of strategies and organizational transformations that drove significant increases in sales and margin percentage, and achieved year-over-year growth in bookings, sales, and EBITDA. Mr. Knowles is a retired Navy Officer, AEDO, and graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot school.
Ms. Abby Lilly was appointed to her current position in September 2019 and is responsible for all aspects of supply chain strategy, supply chain operations, and subcontract program management for the Rotary and Mission Systems Business Area. From October 2020 to March 2023, she assumed leadership of the Lockheed Martin Supply Chain Council and was responsible for supply chain policy, enterprise initiatives and cross business area collaboration for the corporation. Ms. Lilly brings more than 25 years of aerospace industry experience to Lockheed Martin. Previously, she served as the Vice President of Global Supply Chain for Eaton Aerospace where she had overall supply chain responsibility for 25 plants around the world. Prior to Eaton Aerospace, she was the Vice President of Supply Chain for GKN Aerospace North America with responsibility for 14 plants in North America. Previous to GKN, Abby held a number of leadership positions in Supply Chain, Operations and Programs with Rolls-Royce North America.
Dr. Kevin Michaels has over 30 years of experience, including hundreds of consulting engagements for leading aviation and aerospace companies across the globe. In 2011-2016, he was a Vice President with ICF's Aerospace & MRO consulting practice. Previously, he was a co-founder and partner with AeroStrategy from 2001-2011 until its acquisition by ICF. Dr. Michaels is a globally-recognized expert in the aerospace manufacturing and MRO sectors and has significant expertise in business-to-business marketing, customer satisfaction, M&A advisory, technology assessment, cluster development, and strategic planning. His experience spans all major market segments, including air transport, business & general aviation, and military.
Mr. Vago Muradian has been an international security reporter, editor, commentator and broadcaster for nearly 25 years. For 14 years, he was the editor of Defense News, expanding its network of correspondents to 21 countries. Also, he was the founding host of Defense News with Vago Muradian. Before joining Defense News, he was the founder and managing editor of Defense Daily International and the business and international reporter for Defense Daily, the leading U.S. daily newsletter covering the defense and aerospace industry. Mr. Muradian joined Defense Daily from Air Force Times, the independent U.S. publication covering the U.S. Air Force where he covered global operations. His career started at Inside the Army.
The Honorable Nazak Nikakhtar brings over two decades of experience in international trade and national security. Through leadership roles in the U.S. government and private sector, she has leveraged her valuable insights into the expansive range of U.S. and international laws, regulatory and policy processes, and federal agency resources to achieve clients' business objectives. From 2018 to 2021, with unanimous confirmation by the U.S. Senate, she served as the Department of Commerce's Assistant Secretary for Industry & Analysis at the International Trade Administration. She also fulfilled the duties of the Under Secretary for Industry and Security at Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security. As one of the key national security experts in the U.S. government, she developed and implemented innovative laws, regulations, and policies to safeguard strategically important technologies, strengthen the U.S. industrial base and protect the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States. As the head of the agency's trade policy office, she advised the U.S. government on legal and economic issues impacting critical technologies, advanced manufacturing, financial services, e-commerce, data privacy, cybersecurity, critical minerals/rare earths, and energy competition. Finally, as the federal agency’s lead on supply chain assessments, she spearheaded the United States' first-ever whole-of-government initiative to evaluate and strengthen supply chains across all strategic sectors of the economy.
Mr. David Nolletti has 20 years of restructuring, corporate renewal, crisis management, and project management experience. This includes his extensive experience in aerospace, defense, distribution, consumer products, sporting goods, aerospace maintenance repair and overhaul, and general industrial verticals. More specifically, he also has deep knowledge of representing debtors and creditors in aerospace manufacturing and airline bankruptcy proceedings. Prior to joining the Riveron, he was President, CEO, and Co-founder of Cold Mountain Capital LLC., a family front office private equity investment platform focused on acquiring and managing underperforming aerospace, defense, and heavy industrial manufacturing companies. Prior to his time at Cold Mountain, he was a global marketing and market research manager at Procter & Gamble and served as a commissioned officer in the United States Army on both active duty and in the reserves.
Dr. Alfred (Tony) Pandiscio is responsible for developing and executing an integrated technology and research strategy across the company and ensuring it meets defense customers' current and future needs. Dr. Pandiscio shapes RTX's technical strategy for defense and intelligence applications, including technology gap assessments and identification of technology collaboration opportunities within RTX as well as with government and industry partners. Prior to his current position, he was a successful engineer and manager with nearly 40 years of experience at RTX and the former Raytheon Company. Dr. Pandiscio has worked as an algorithm developer, systems engineer, capture lead and department manager in missile guidance and control, sensor netting, air defense systems, operations analysis and technology development.
Ms. Joanna Speed specializes in bringing together prominent aerospace industry executives to expose the issues, confront the challenges, and answer the questions facing its stakeholders. Ms. Speed recently served as Chief Growth Officer of Aeromed Group, and previously was the Managing Director, Aerospace and Defense Events for the Aviation Week Network – which included the SpeedNews Legacy – where she led the launch and execution of multiple marketing strategies and audience engagement platforms. During her prior tenure, she emerged as a thought leader for pioneering forecasting and intelligence forums in the A&D arena. Ms. Speed is a recipient of the Service to the Flag Award for Industry by Women In Defense and serves as the current President for the Women In Defense Greater Los Angeles Chapter – a subsidiary organization under the National Defense Industrial Association. Also, she is a member of the Board of Directors of LeFiell Manufacturing. Recently she was recognized by Business Insider as one of the top 15 most influential women in aerospace.
As a Navy Supply Corps Officer, RADM Peter Stamatopoulos has deployed across the globe in submarines, aircraft carriers, amphibious assault ships, and operational staffs, and has commanded tactical, regional and global supply chain organizations charged to grow and sustain naval and joint force operations, activities, and investments. As an Admiral, he served as CEO leading eleven direct report portfolio companies consisting of 23,000 employees responsible for running Navy's Global End-to-End Supply Chain Operations for Surface, Undersea and Aviation segments. Most recently, he led the architecture and deployment of a Navy-wide supply chain reform effort which realized $2.2B in supply chain benefit with more than $816M in year over year savings yielding monetized gains of more than $7B in Fleet mission-readiness in its first three years.
Mr. Bill Sweetman provides global strategy, competitor intelligence, risk assessment and media services for clients who demand insight and disciplined research. Before forming Valkyrie Strategic Services, he was a strategist at Northrop Grumman, identifying and developing opportunities in high-speed and long-endurance vehicles. Prior to that, he was an internationally recognized aerospace and defense journalist, with a long career that started at Britain's Flight International and continued with the Interavia and Jane's groups before a decade with Aviation Week Network. Mr. Sweetman is known for his deep knowledge of aerospace technology and his work has been cited by the CIA and translated by the GRU.
Mr. Robert Thomson is a leading expert in the Aerospace & Defense and aviation sectors. His clients include many of the world's leading companies in Europe, the Americas and Asia, where he advises on strategy, M&A, program management, and operational performance improvement. His recent focus has been on sustainability and he is one of the key contributing authors to Roland Berger's "Roadmap to True Zero" and "Defence Zero", as well as working on the implications of sustainability for the supply chain. Mr. Thomson is also an expert on strategic war gaming. Prior to joining Roland Berger in 2000, he worked at Rolls-Royce as an engineer and as an Investment Manager, in which capacity, he was one of the founders of Objective Asset Management.
Dr. W. Alexander Vacca examines the competitive implications of technology, military affairs, business, and politics. In 2001, he joined Northrop Grumman in their Electronics sector and has worked and supported program captures and business initiatives in military aircraft, space, and missiles, working in California, Florida, and Virginia. Dr. Vacca has done pro bono work on matters of industrial competitiveness and capacity at the Eisenhower School, the Office of Net Assessment, and the TechAmerica Foundation, and publishes occasionally on matters of military innovation.
Mr. Howard Woods has responsibility for the Unmanned Aerial Systems and Urban Air Mobility portfolio within the defense segment. The portfolio includes integrated propulsion and avionics systems. Mr. Woods is responsible for setting business strategy and delivering solutions to U.S. and foreign defense customers that address their most critical and emerging mission requirements. Previously, he has served in various strategic, executive and advisory roles with companies such as Ricardo Plc, SAP, UPS Strategic Consulting, Ernst & Young Management Consulting and General Motors. Mr. Woods served in the U.S. Navy, operating strike-fighter-reconnaissance aircraft in numerous combat theaters. Also, he served as an instructor at Strike Weapons and Tactics School Atlantic where he evaluated, trained and instructed various mission, weapons and systems and operational tactics.
Mr. Jay Wynn has led or supported more than a hundred strategy engagements and M&A transactions in the aerospace, defense, and government services sectors. His career began as an advisor in the A&D sector over 20 years ago, working as a consultant with ANSER Corporation, serving clients at the Pentagon. Prior to founding Fairmont Consulting Group, he served as a managing director with CSP Associates where he led or played a key supporting role in transaction and strategic advisory engagements. Previous to CSP, he was with Bain & Company in their Private Equity Group, providing due diligence advisory services to clients across a range of industries.