Meet our latest cohort of Defense Ventures Fellows

The future of defense is public-private partnerships
Defense Ventures is an 8-week fellowship that identifies emerging innovators from the Department of Defense and facilitates industry immersions at venture capital firms, incubators, and startups across the United States. Shift runs this program in partnership with AFWERX, the innovation arm of the Air Force, who created this opportunity for members of the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines, Space Force, Coast Guard, Reserve, National Guard and DoD civilians.

Companies who host Defense Ventures Fellows gain insight into the mission of the Department of Defense, new perspectives on the federal marketplace, and forge enduring relationships with the military members they host. 

This fall, these fellows will begin a journey to learn “what great looks like” in emerging technology and bring commercial best practices back to the Department of Defense. The Defense Ventures Program allows fellows to engage directly with the private sector, establish meaningful connections, and develop a more in-depth understanding of business models, dual-use technologies, and solutions to challenging problems. 

Visit shift.org/dvp to learn more about the Defense Ventures Program and how to apply.

Meet the members of Cohort Thirteen

Mira Labs

Captain Bryan Anderson is an Air Force Officer and Pilot with over nine years of service. Bryan is a former C-130J Instructor Pilot and has deployed to Africa to provide tactical airlift support across the continent. In addition, Bryan has deployed to U.S. Central Command as the lead airlift planner for the Middle East. Currently, Bryan is a C-37 Pilot assigned to Hickam AFB, Hawaii. He is the 15th Wing Chief Innovation Officer charged with leading a cross-functional Agile software development team. In addition, he advises the Wing on disruptive technologies focused on Agile Combat Employment (ACE) operations. Bryan manages many initiatives focused on business partnerships, airman innovation education, and process improvement. Bryan is the host and producer of the Black Box Recordings Podcast, a podcast with a focus on unique challenges and opportunities for military members transitioning to civilian service. Bryan earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Japanese from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 2013. Also, he holds a Master’s of Science in Biology from the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

Squadra Ventures

Technical Sergeant Chefon Clark is a Manpower Analyst with nine years of active-duty service. In his current role, he is the portfolio manager for Mission Requirements at Aviano Air Base, Italy, where he advises 19 organizations on workforce solutions affecting a multifunctional portfolio of 3.1K human capital assets. He uses analytical research and consultant services to advise leaders on organizational structure, requirements determination, program allocation & control, and performance management. Chefon serves as a liaison for the command interpreting strategic guidance, ensuring senior leaders have the manpower requirements needed to execute missions in support of NATO Allied Air Command and across the European theater.Before his current assignment, Chefon worked for the Air Force Manpower Analysis Agency, conducting Air Force-wide manpower studies. He used statistical and data analysis to quantify the workforces needed to accomplish missions across various domains, including mission support, flying operations, and aircraft maintenance. He led the 2-year study of Aerospace Ground Equipment, exposing faulty equipment accountability across the enterprise and validating 2.1K positions, a potential savings of $81M for the Air Force.Chefon is a computer science major and designed the computer programming curriculum for Aviano Air Base on behalf of the Wing Innovation Team and Spark Cell.

Sheka Jones

Major Sheka Jones Espy is a Clinical Nurse within the United States Air Force Reserve, where she serves as an Individualized Mobilization Augmentee specializing in Disease Management. She delivers individualized telephonic education and resources to TRICARE beneficiaries. Before this role, Sheka was a flight Commander within the 349th Aeromedical Staging Squadron and Officer in Charge of the Drug Demand Reduction Program for the 349th Air Mobility Wing. As a civilian, she is a board-certified Ambulatory Care nurse and Public Health Nurse Manager. She oversees the California Children’s Services program which provides medical case management, physical therapy, and occupational therapy services to children with chronic medical conditions.Additionally, Sheka serves as the Deputy Director of the Child Health and Disability Prevention program, ensuring periodic health assessments and services are available to low-income children. Sheka obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (2009) from Dominican University of California and a Master in Public Health (2016) from Drexel University. She comes to Defense Ventures with a unique skill set and is committed to driving technological advances supporting the nursing career field.

FGC Plasma

Major Jonathan Foronda is a Data Analyst with 16 years of active duty service. In his current assignment, Jonathan developed a knowledge management tool for Fort Bragg tenant units, and an informational dashboard to support the Commanding General’s decision-making process as it pertained to combatting COVID-19. Previously, Jonathan led a recruiting division that plans, directs, and coordinates operations and marketing efforts across the western region of the United States to ensure maximum production in enlistments. He also served on the Talent Management Task Force while assigned to the Army’s human capital development organization, Human Resources Command. His background includes a broad spectrum of assignments, ranging from operational to generating force commands. Jonathan was recently selected as a Training with Industry fellow to utilize his military experience with a venture capital firm.Jonathan holds a Master of Operations Research degree through the Florida Institute of Technology, a Master of Healthcare Administration degree through the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, a Bachelor of Economics degree through the University of Washington, and is currently enrolled in an Advanced Business Analytics Certificate program through the University of South Carolina.

The Engine

Mr. Brad Goodrich is currently serving as a Deputy Director for NavalX, an innovation cell for the US Navy. NavalX seeks to create a more agile, connected, and collaborative US Navy by guiding stakeholders to rapidly deliver new capabilities to the warfighter. Brad has a background in science diplomacy, the science of innovation, and in developing next generation technology related to ship design, robotics, and autonomy while working across the US Navy to develop early-stage research, applied science, prototyping, and rapid transition to help bridge the valley of death. Brad has a unique background working across six unique Navy organizations that are working to provide the US Navy with the most advanced technology possible. He has worked at the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), the US Navy’s home for future ships and submarines. He worked at both the Office of Naval Research in Arlington, Virginia and the Office of Naval Research Global at the US Embassy in Santiago, Chile as the Science Director. More recently, he served as the Innovation Technical Director at the program office for unmanned systems, mine warfare and affordable surface ships (PEO USC). Brad graduated from Purdue University with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. He has an MS in Engineering Management from George Washington University and an MPA focused on policy and government administration from Indiana University.


Technical Sergeant Shawn Gregoire is an active duty Aircraft Inspection Senior Manager, responsible for the successful periodic inspection process of cargo aircraft valued at $167 million (C-5M Galaxy).With over 13 years of experience, he has led teams to successful anti-drug trafficking missions in Central America and acted as an invaluable piece to several successful missions based in Europe and the Middle East.Shawn has leveraged data to improve the efficiency of the movement of life saving supplies and top secret missions as an Operations Manager and used those same skills to successfully overhaul the global hub of aircraft wheel and tire creation, significantly cutting unnecessary time and steps in their process.

Scout Ventures

Commander Nathaniel “Than” Hathaway is a Senior Staff Editor and Lead Executive Level Event Planner at NATO’s maritime center of excellence, Combined Joint Operations from the Sea (CJOS). Than currently leads a team of senior multinational officers and civilians to deliver CJOS COE’s annual professional journal, fostering intellectual debate on key defense issues. He recently planned and executed the 2021 Maritime Security Regimes Roundtable, an executive military and academic PhD level international forum of over 600 maritime security experts from 43 countries.Than got his start in the Navy as a helicopter pilot of the mighty “Big Iron” MH-53E, conducting Airborne Mine Countermeasures and flying in multiple disaster relief operations. Since then, he has accrued cross-service multinational leadership experience in Test & Evaluation, Joint Planning, Flight Operations, and Joint Concept Development.A native of the DC metro area and a graduate of the US Naval Academy, Than and fam currently reside in Chesapeake, VA.

Pallas Advisors

Senior Master Sergeant Eddie Herrera is the 492nd Attack Squadron Senior Enlisted Leader, March Air Reserve Base, California. He directly oversees flight/maintenance operations, manpower, training, mobility, readiness and career development for his unit. Eddie steers his unit’s 124 million dollar MQ-9 programmed flight training program, which graduates over 100 Active-Duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve flight training student’s annually. Prior to his current role, Eddie served as a Military Training Instructor, Instructor, and Remotely Piloted Aircraft Sensor Operator. He traveled to Creech Air Force Base, Nevada where he flew over 1,100 MQ-1 combat flying hours, supporting Operations Enduring Freedom, Inherent Resolve and Iraqi Freedom. From there Eddie was selected for Formal Training Unit Instructor duty at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. It was here that Sergeant Herrera transitioned from the MQ-1 to the MQ-9 weapon system. Eddie has three Community College of the Air Force Associate Degrees and has completed both his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees, with core competencies in Human Resources and Organizational Management/Leadership.

Captain Anthony McHugh is an active duty officer who has served in the Air Force Analytic and Test communities. He currently serves as a leading member of the Department of the Air Force’s strategy analysis team within Air Force Futures at the Pentagon. As a part of this highly skilled team, Anthony manages analysis requirements, execution, and development of tools to accelerate decision making and strategy analysis in an agile environment. Prior to his current assignment, Anthony led design, execution, and analysis of radar and other electronic systems. He coordinated with intelligence and test teams to improve testing processes and hasten delivery of electronic development to operational users. Anthony then led a 32-person team responsible for technology development in coordination with allied partners. He guided teams focusing on collection and consolidation of test results for data driven insights.He integrates innovative technology trends and future force design knowledge to provide strategy and force structure implications towards capability development. Anthony is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and was a four year Big 12 wrestler. He holds an M.S. in Industrial Engineering from New Mexico State University and an M.A. in Economics from New York University.

Justin Pierce is currently a Chief Engineer for the 2d Space Launch Squadron at Vandenberg Space Force Base where he ensures technical launch readiness for National Space Security Launches. He is also a lead for Spaceport of the Future where he works to foster future launch and mission capabilities for the United States by facilitating the development of the innovative vision the project holds. Previously, he led the New Entrant Certification Team where he and his team assisted space launch companies in their pursuit to launch from the Western Range with certification and mission assurance efforts. Prior to working for the Space Force, Justin worked as a flight test engineer at Boeing and General Atomics, where he was involved in a number of flight test engineering operations. He held an Air Force Test Director qualification and tested a number of critical aerospace technologies that are currently in operation. Justin has supported more than 100 flight test missions in four of the seven continents on a multitude of aircraft, weapon, and rocket systems. Justin holds a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Engineering Sales from Iowa State University.


Captain Megan Ritzert is an Air Force Weather and Environmental Sciences Officer with seven years of active-duty service and currently serves as a Flight Commander. Her background includes a breadth of operational assignments across the weather enterprise, including installation, fighter aircraft, Army staff, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance weather support. Throughout her career, Megan led teams exploiting weather data and impacts to shape operations across multi-domain operations. She deployed to the Middle East as a member of Joint Headquarters staff on a combined task force organizing weather support, overseeing remote data weather sensing, and syncing capabilities with 72-partner nations across the theater. Additionally, Megan is the career field Model Manager for weather functional tactics, techniques, and procedures. She leads coordination and documentation of best practices employing innovative technology to support emerging requirements. Megan lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, and stays active exploring the Desert Southwest and traveling. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a B.S. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. She will graduate with a M.A. in Emergency Management and Homeland Security from Arizona State University in May 2022.


Captain Natasha Rizvi is a Finance Officer in the United States Air Force, currently serving as the 100th Air Refueling Wing Commander’s Executive Officer at RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom. She advises the Wing Commander on higher headquarter communications and administrative tasks for over 2,000 personnel. During her time as executive officer, she synced multiple distinguished guest visits to include the President and First Lady of the United States first overseas trip prior to the G7 Summit in June 2021.Captain Natasha Rizvi has previously served as the Budget Officer for the 100th Air Refueling Wing and Comptroller to the 65th Air Base Group located in the Azores, Portugal. Prior to serving overseas, she was a cost analyst for various cyber weapon systems at Hanscom AFB in Boston, MA to include working in the Kill Chain Integration Branch where she helped field Interim Full Motion Video on the F-35B aircraft.Natasha earned her Bachelor of Science in Management with a minor in Arabic from the United States Air Force Academy. She holds a Masters in Finance, by Extension from Harvard University.


Lieutenant Colonel Tim Sehnem is a command pilot in the Air Force Reserve. He currently serves as a fighter staff officer, providing staff expertise and supervision for all Tenth Air Force combat fighter, bomber, remotely piloted aircraft, rescue and special operations units. Formerly, Tim was an instructor pilot in the F-16 aircraft on both Active Duty and in the Air Force Reserves. Tim has over 2,700 hours of jet time and has flown over 150 combat hours in both Afghanistan and Iraq. After leaving active duty in 2006, Tim has had a successful career as a senior program manager for a defense contractor. Primarily focusing on F-16 training devices and aircrew training, Tim leads a team of engineers and F-16 subject matter experts who are supporting a multi-million-dollar major defense contract. Tim is a 1997 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Management and a Masters of Business Administration degree from Mississippi State University.

Refinery Ventures

Lieutenant Colonel Mike Seltzer is an F-35 Instructor Pilot and Defense Innovation Unit Program Manager with 18 years of military service, including active and reserve duties. He has been an operational fighter pilot for a majority of his career, including multiple combat deployments in the F-16, advanced instructor roles in the F-16 and F-35, and most recently serving as the director of operations for the newly established F-35 Weapons Instructor Course before joining DIU in early 2020. After separating from active duty in 2014, Mike completed a Masters in Management from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, and spent the following year at Alpine Investors, a growth stage Private Equity firm in San Francisco. Following this break from full-time service, Mike accepted an invitation to join the initial cadre of F-35 instructor pilots building the 6th Weapons Squadron, an advanced training unit for JSF pilots across the USAF. After standing up the team, Mike joined DIU as a Program Manager and is now also serving as the Deputy Director for the Autonomy Portfolio. In this capacity, Mike manages a variety of autonomy projects across the DoD and supports teammates doing the same.