Fellowship Program
October 20, 2020

Shift Announces New Joint & Virtual AFVentures Cohort

Shift is honored to announce the members and hosts of the third cohort of the AFVentures Fellowship. The new AFVentures Fellowship has now expanded to include Officers, Enlisted, and DoD Civilian personnel from across the Air Force, Army, Space Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. This fall, 24 Fellows will connect across 15 time zones to virtually engage with their hosts in major innovation hubs across the United States such as Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Austin, and Atlanta.


Meet the AFVentures Fellows of Cohort 3

  • Maj Beau Suder, SemperVirens, Air Force Reserve Special Operations Pilot
  • Maj Chad Rubin, Outlander Labs, Air Force C-5 Pilot & Senior Flight Test Director
  • COL  Crystal Hills, Structure Capital, Army Logistics Officer,  NATO Rapid Deployment HQ
  • CMSgt Don Reynolds, Scout Ventures, Air Force KC-10 Aircrew & 32nd ARS Superintendent
  • Ms. Donna Horning, Expanse, Department of Defense Civilian in Washington, D.C.
  • Capt Eric Wallace, The Engine, Air Force F-22 Pilot and Assistant Director of Operations
  • Maj Esteban Castellanos, Sapphire Ventures, Air Force Reserve C-17 Pilot & AFWERX PM
  • Capt Garrett Jameson, Soma Capital, Air Force Ops Research Analyst at USAFCENT
  • Ms. Holly Simonsen, Soma Capital,  DoD Civilian Data Analyst at Air Force HQ
  • Lt Col Jay Vizcarra, Catapult Ventures, Air Force E-8C Air Battle Manager & Chief of Innovation 
  • LTC Joe Leach, Alpha Bridge Ventures, Army Special Forces Officer at 1st SF Command
  • SSgt Jordyn Fetter, Coursera, Air National Guard Public Affairs Specialist and AFWERX Marketing Manager
  • Maj Kinsley Jordan, Catapult Ventures, Air Force T-6 Pilot, Chief of Innovation & AFTEST Director
  • Lt Col Lawson Cass,  Scout Ventures, Air Force F-16 Pilot and Director of Operations
  • Col E. Mark Shusterman, SV Angel, AF Reserve Flight Surgeon & Advisor to the AFRBA
  • Lt Col Matthew Scott, General Catalyst, Pilot and Co-founder of AFWERX/AFVentures
  • Maj Matthew Clark, The Engine, Air Force Special Ops & HQ AF Special Technology Ops Chief
  • Capt Niko Votipka, Atomic, Air Force C-17 Pilot & Director of Innovation Operations
  • Ms. Rhine N. Morland, Okta Ventures, Dept of Defense Civilian Electronics Engineer
  • Maj Robert Wallace, Capital Factory, Marine Corps Infantry and Regional Affairs Officer
  • 1LT Sam Pandey, Bowery Capital, Army Reservist & 75th Innovation Command Tech Scout
  • Lt Col Taylor Herron, Harpoon Ventures, Air Force Intelligence Officer & Speechwriter to the Vice Chief of Staff
  • CDR Tim Rhatigan, Outlander Labs, Navy MH-60S Pilot & DCMA Sikorsky Mil Flight Ops Dir.

About Shift

Founded in 2016 and based in San Francisco, California, Shift is a trusted labor marketplace for current and former members of the U.S. Military to discover careers, acquire and demonstrate new skills, and embark upon new job experiences at the best companies in the United States. From active duty service members in the midst of their military career to veterans who have made the transition to civilian life, Shift’s community platform allows its members to engage in career development services that keep them competitive in the current and future economy. Shift’s talent acquisition services provide our corporate partners with a talent pipeline of diverse, non-traditional, experienced and prepared candidates. Shift is a veteran-founded small business backed by Andreessen Horowitz, Expa, and Structure Capital.

About our Partnership with the U.S. Air Force

The AFVentures Fellowship has been made possible through the Small Business Innovation Program (SBIR), a competitive award based program that allows small businesses to explore their technological potential while helping the U.S. Air Force meet its specific research and development needs. The AFVentures Fellowship is a unique opportunity for the Department of Defense (DoD) to rapidly acquire industry-specific context and bring new scaled capabilities to the service while creating new and long lasting relationships with the private sector. By partnering with Shift, the DoD gains access to our extensive network of technology connections and learning opportunities which serve as developmental opportunities for future military leaders.

About the AFVentures Fellowship

The AFVentures Industry Immersion Program was created in partnership with the AFWERX, the USAF’s innovation arm, through a Small Business Innovation Program (SBIR), a competitive award based program that allows small businesses to explore their technological potential while helping the U.S. Air Force meets its specific research and development needs. 

Shift’s Industry Immersion Program (IIP), enables the U.S. Air Force (USAF), other Services, and Components of the DoD (DoD) to rapidly acquire industry-specific context and technical competence across mission-priority human capital needs by placing emerging USAF and DoD leaders into technology and business ecosystems across Silicon Valley and the United States. These immersive developmental opportunities increase the retention of the military’s most promising early and mid-career Airmen, Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, and DoD Civilians, while creating long-lasting relationships between the USAF, DoD and the private sector. This IIP is designed to increase the quality of technology proficient Airmen to develop, deliver, operate, and maintain the enabling technology required across all of the USAF S&T Strategic Capabilities.

The AFVentures Fellowship is open to all components of the Department of Defense and selection is determined by experience. Fellows are expected to be on career trajectories heading toward senior leadership positions such as General Officers, Senior Executive Service, and Senior Enlisted Advisors. Cohorts are expected to run every three months through 2024. If you are interested in being notified about future programs or would like to follow along with updates from the cohort, you can sign up for our mailing list here.

2020 AFVentures Cohort 3

Beau Suder

SemperVirens

Major Beau Suder is a Combat Aviation Advisor and special operations instructor pilot assigned to the 711th Special Operations Squadron. 

As a Combat Aviation Advisor, he is responsible for the execution of aviation foreign internal defense, irregular, and unconventional warfare operations in support of United States Special Operations Command theater engagement plans. This involves advising partner force military and political leadership on strategic initiatives and implementing those initiatives at the tactical level. 

Beau is passionate about finding the right technology to enable US special operations teams and their foreign partners as they endeavor to create more stable and free communities. As a civilian, Beau will be starting as an Associate at McKinsey & Co in Denver, CO in November 2020. Beau has a BS in Foreign Area Studies from the United States Air Force Academy, an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management, and an MPA from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.


Chad Rubin

Outlander Labs

Major Chad Rubin is an Air Force C-5M Super Galaxy pilot. He is currently a Senior Test Director and Chief of Flight Standards at Air Mobility Command’s Test and Evaluation Squadron at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. 

Previously, he flew worldwide airlift missions as an aircraft commander and instructor pilot out of Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Chad has also completed multiple deployments to the Middle East, recently earning a Bronze Star for his role in advising, training, and assisting Iraqi Air Force units and multiple senior Iraqi military leaders during Operation Inherent Resolve. 

In 2013, Chad started a local healthcare company in Delaware with his wife, where he still serves as a Board Member. Silver Lining Home Healthcare has grown to over 100 employees and brings premium healthcare to client’s homes all over the state. Chad is passionate about finding new ways to leverage emerging technologies and partnerships to positively affect healthcare outcomes and improve quality of life. Chad holds a BS in Operations Research from the US Air Force Academy, an MS in Project Management from the University of Management and Technology, Commercial Pilot License, and is a certified Defense Acquisition Professional in Test and Evaluation.


Crystal Hills

Structure Capital

Colonel Crystal M. Hills is a career Army Logistician with extensive experience at all levels within the Supply Chain and Logistics management industry.  Currently, she is the Senior Supply & Logistics Officer (G4) for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Rapid Deployable Corps Headquarters in Istanbul, Turkey.  There she leads and manages all matters pertaining to the procurement, transportation, synchronization, and distribution of materiel and resources for multi-national military organizations across SouthWest Asia, Middle East and Europe. 

Crystal successfully led Army Field Support Battalion-Africa in Livorno, Italy, an operational logistics unit with the strategic mission of maintaining and issuing prepositioned critical war-fighting stocks. She is currently slated to assume command of Anniston Army Depot, AL, in Summer 2021, which is the Army’s Center of Industrial and Technical Excellence for tracked and wheeled ground combat vehicles, artillery, bridging systems, and small caliber weapons. 

While attending the Dwight D. Eisenhower School at the National Defense University in 2020, Crystal supported COVID-19 relief efforts as part of the White House Supply Chain Task Force and as a mentor for John Hopkins’ Design Challenge. There she earned an MS National Security and Resource Strategy (Global Supply Chain and Logistics Management concentration). Her interests include the  use of blockchain and Artificial Intelligence to improve Supply Chain resilience and performance.


Don Reynolds

Scout Ventures

Chief Don Reynolds serves as the Squadron Superintendent, 32d Air Refueling Squadron, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. He is the senior enlisted adviser to the Commander for the professional development, military readiness, mission effectiveness, health, morale, and welfare of 149 assigned officer and enlisted personnel. Additionally, he manages mission qualification levels, assignment opportunities and training programs for 4 different career-fields. He coordinates with career field functional managers to ensure the squadron is equipped with a well-trained and combat-ready crew force to meet Combatant Commander requirements. 

In 2017, Chief Reynolds imaginatively developed and employed a mobile scheduling application that allowed paperwork transference. This idea allowed the section to form a more collaborative culture which increased paperwork processing as well as reducing scheduling errors. Ultimately, his concept effectively eliminated 150 scheduling man-hours as well as saving $419K annually. His idea was recognized as an Inspector General Best Practice and was subsequently adopted by 10 other installations. 

Don holds a BS in Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and is an alumnus of the Alamo Leadership Federal Executive Board program. He also holds a Project Management Professional certification and is a PROSCI Change Management practitioner.


Donna Horning

Expanse

Donna Horning is a defense professional based in Washington, DC. Her current responsibilities include analyzing the strategic implications of emerging and disruptive technologies for senior executive and military decision-makers. 

Prior to her career in government, she served as a cyber threat analyst for clients in the banking, retail, automotive, healthcare, and energy sectors, as well as consulted in developing a proprietary cybersecurity risk assessment model for public and private markets. 

Donna has prior experience partnering with the private sector to solve difficult national security challenges, through her participation in the ODNI/DHS-led Public-Private Analytic Exchange Program. She and other representatives across government and industry produced a report on “Threats to Undersea Cable Communications,” which was distributed to hundreds of public and private-sector customers. 

Donna holds a BA in Global Affairs and Political Science with Honors from Yale University; her thesis on burden-sharing in the NATO alliance was published in The Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities at West Point. She is also an alumna of Yale’s Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy.


Eric Wallace

The Engine

Captain Eric ”Badger” Wallace is an Air Force F-22 Instructor Pilot currently serving as Assistant Director of Operations for the 27th Fighter Squadron at Langley AFB, VA. He oversees operations for 350 airmen across $4.6B in national security assets. Eric has over 800 flying hours and has flown combat missions in Iraq and Syria in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

Eric is passionate about leveraging commercial best practices in the areas of risk management and investing to  increase dual-use adoption of AI technologies for the Department of Defense and the Defense Industrial Base. Eric holds a BS in Organizational Leadership from the US Air Force Academy and is currently pursuing a MS in Computer Science from Georgia Institute of Technology.


Esteban Castellanos

Sapphire Ventures

Somewhere in Esteban’s parents’ attic is a retired fleet of remote-controlled airplanes. Now covered in dust, these retro toys fueled his dreamer instinct and engineering curiosity that led to a career in aviation. 

With those planes, he extended his reach higher and farther into this world. As a pilot of an Air Force C-17 at Travis AFB, he led teams into war zones, humanitarian crisis areas, and brought them home safely. Esteban’s 10 years of traveling and exposure abroad expanded his comprehension of the world’s inequities and barriers to opportunity. His childhood dream of being a pilot morphed into a desire to leverage his operations experience to make meaningful social impact. 

Esteban set aside his wings to pursue an MBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and volunteered to get economically underprivileged, yet high achieving, minority high school students into Ivy League schools. After graduation, Esteban built his knowledge of software development and UX at Northrop Grumman’s Advanced Technology Development Center. Today he advocates with the DoD to better connect companies to the military to meet warfighter needs more quickly.



Garrett Jameson

Soma Capital

Captain Garrett Jameson is an Air Force Operations Research Analyst. He is currently the Chief of Training at the 609th Air Support Squadron at Shaw AFB, SC where he manages the training program for United States Central Command’s Air Operations Center. 

Prior to assuming this position, Garrett has served as a strategic studies analyst for Headquarters, Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) and deployed as an operations assessment analyst for air operations in Southwest Asia and the Middle East. While at AFMC, Garrett developed an automated risk assessment tool to provide real-time decision support for a $2B human resources budget rebalancing board, optimizing funding allocation for 14,000 job positions. 

Garrett has interned with Nike Exploration Team (NXT) as project manager in the research and development of adaptive footwear for wounded warriors and athletes with disabilities. He holds a BS in Operations Research from the US Air Force Academy and an MS in Operations Research from the Air Force Institute of Technology. Garrett is passionate about using advanced analytical methods to help people make better decisions. He is a member of the USAF Men’s Rugby 7s team and has captained the team in competition against sister-service and international opponents.


Holly Simonsen

Soma Capital

Holly is a data analyst in the Manpower, Organization and Resources Directorate, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. In her current position, she is responsible for the development of policy, guidance, and oversight for Air Force workforce requirements. 

She has served for over 10 years as an Air Force civilian and is a SME in workforce analytics. Her prior assignments include wing and staff level positions in Utah, Japan, and Germany. She holds a LSS/DMAIC Blackbelt. Her projects have included improving  deployment processing and optimizing a 45-person business operations focused on property shipping. Holly is focused on leveraging technology to improve communication and breaking down barriers to cross-organizational collaboration. She is passionate about exploring innovative solutions to enhance education. 

Holly holds a BS in Human Resource Management and an MBA from Utah State University. She loves the western United States, enjoys listening to podcasts, traveling, golfing, and SCUBA diving.



Jay Vizcarra

Catapult Ventures

Lt Col Jay "Viz" Vizcarra is the Chief of Innovation for the 461 Air Control Wing at Robins Air Force Base and an instructor Mission Crew Commander onboard the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS). With over 2,500 flying and instructor hours, he has extensive operational and combat experience on the E-8C JSTARS and the NATO Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS). He was also the Operational Test & Evaluation lead for the RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 40 Unmanned Aerial System and stood up combat operations for the platform in two Combatant Commands. 

Lt Col Vizcarra recently stood up the SPARK innovation cell at Robins AFB providing Airmen a platform to collaborate on warfighter solutions with local and state organizations, community maker spaces, universities, and the larger Air Force innovation ecosystem. The SPARK cell has leveraged this network to deliver $115M in new training and warfighter capabilities ranging from virtual reality, small unmanned aerial systems, additive manufacturing, agile software, and over 15k PPE solutions for COVID19. Lt Col Vizcarra believes every Airmen is a potential intrapreneur and has additional skill sets or a passion that the DoD can benefit from. If given the correct collaborative environment, they can surely pioneer the future capabilities of our military. 

He holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master of Science in Airport & Airline Management. He enjoys traveling with his wife and two Pekingese dogs, snowboarding, aerial (drone) photography, and playing the piano.



Joe Leach

Alpha Bridge Ventures

Joseph Leach is a career Special Forces Officer, who currently serves as the Deputy Director for the Office of Special Warfare, 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) at Ft. Bragg, NC. Joe served as an Enlisted Soldier and a Commissioned Officer, with nine operational deployments, leading Soldiers in combat and conducting sensitive operations. Joe is currently responsible for the recruitment, assessment, selection and training of all Sensitive Activities within the 1st Special Forces Command.

Joe began his Army career as an Enlisted Soldier, in the 75th Ranger Regiment, followed by a full career as an Officer. Joe graduated from Saint Louis University with a Bachelors of Arts degree and also holds a Masters of Business Administration in Aviation Management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Joe served in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) as a Platoon Leader, Executive Officer and Assistant Operations Officer. Joe followed this by multiple assignments to the 5th Special Forces Group, where he led special operations teams in combat and served as a Detachment Commander, Company Commander, Battalion Operations Officer and Battalion Executive Officer. Joe broadened his management skills, complex problem solving, strategic planning, and organization management skills, as a Joint Staff Officer and Special Operations Planner in the Pentagon.

Joe is married, with two high school aged children, Joseph and Sarah, who are both active in sports. Joe enjoys spending time with his family, pursuing a private pilot license and continuing to further his passion for business through professional reading, study and practice.



Jordyn Fetter

Coursera

Staff Sgt. Jordyn Fetter is a U.S. Air Force Public Affairs specialist. She is currently in the role of AFWERX Marketing and Communications Manager in San Antonio, Texas, where she facilitates connections across industry, government, and academia to lay the groundwork for innovative concepts and technologies to be integrated into U.S. Air Force operations. 

She also serves in the Air National Guard with the 149th Fighter Wing’s public affairs team. In early 2019, Fetter transformed AFWERX’s digital media strategy by prioritizing engagement and connection with internal Air Force stakeholders to build partnerships and strengthen trust between agencies aiming to improve their capabilities. This led to a spike in the creation and consumption of educational materials for intrapreneurs and tools like the Airmen Powered by Innovation platform and the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Open Topic program. 

Jordyn is passionate about the role of government in accelerating innovation across the U.S. and cutting through the bureaucracy to improve the customer and employee experience of Air Force partners and personnel. 

Jordyn holds a B.S. in Marketing from Arizona State University and has completed certificates in Sustainable Business Strategy from Harvard Business School Online and Circular Economy – Sustainable Materials Management from Coursera.



Kinsley Jordan

Catapult Ventures

Major C. Kinsley “TRIGGER” Jordan is an Air Force Intel/Surv/Recon E-3G AWACS and T-6 Instructor Pilot currently leading the Wing Innovation Spark Cell at Vance Air Force Base, OK. The Spark Cell researches, invests, develops and acquires solutions and technologies to apply towards the most challenging problems facing Airmen. In the last 2 years, the Major Jordan and the Spark Cell, by working with 16  different SBIR organizations, have forged $15M in ground breaking developments in training resources and processes such as enterprise VR simulation, video academics, and the development of the Mobile Device Integrated Toolkit (MDIT) into Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) across AETC and the Air Force.  These efforts have led to the development of the new Pilot Training Transformation Program; a revolutionary ground up redesign of AF Pilot Training for the first time in 60 years. 

In addition, Kinsley is the Director of the AFVentures capability AFTEST, Air Force Transformational Enterprise Solutions Team, which tackles Air Force Enterprise challenges, bringing problem resolution by identifying needed Policy, Programmatic, and Cultural Innovation. 

Finally, Kinsley is the Founder of The Winning Network, Podcast Host for The Legacy Podcast and the AFWERX DisruptiveAF Innovation Podcast. He holds a BS in Business Management from the US Air Force Academy, is in progress of MA in Business Leadership from Regent University and is the 2019 AETC winner of the Gen. Larry O. Spencer Innovation Award and was the 19th Air Force 2019 Field Grade Officer of the Year.



Lawson Cass

Scout Ventures

Lawson Cass is a recent graduate of the U.S. Naval War College’s  Advanced Strategist Program, Lawson is transitioning to the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw AFB to assume a Director role. 

Previously, he was a director at Nellis AFB, NV home to the USAF Warfare Center, USAF Weapons School, and RED FLAG. While instructing at the USAF Weapons School, Lawson leveraged diverse human capital to solve the toughest national security problems whilst training future tactical leaders. As the Weapon School’s lead Mission Planning Chief and Mission Commander he controlled a training and testing portfolio worth over $12 Billion and served as a consultant to Flag officers at USSOCOM, PACAF, ACC, DARPA, and the White House. 

As a national security strategist Lawson has a keen interest in Risk Management and Investing. He recently concluded research on political economy, great power competition, and COVID-19's impact on the global economic order, specifically, the World Bank and World Trade Organization. 

He holds a BA in Political Science from Wilkes University, a MA from Oklahoma State University in Engineering and Technology Management, an MA in Defense and Strategic Studies from the US Naval War College, and completed course work at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory.



Mark Shusterman

SV Angel

Colonel (Dr.) E. Mark Shusterman is an Air Force Reserve flight surgeon, currently working as Medical Advisor to the Secretary of the Air Force Physical Disability Board of Review. Mark joined the AF Reserve in 1995, at the conclusion of his internship. He became a flight surgeon in 1996, and has subsequently served in various capacities at medical units throughout the United States and abroad, including a combat deployment to the Horn of Africa, and recently, as interim Chief of Medical Staff at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. For the past eight years, Mark has also mentored prospective Air Force Academy cadets as an Admissions Liaison Officer in the San Francisco Bay Area.

In his civilian career, Mark has held senior leadership roles with several venture-funded medical device start-ups and has facilitated the development, clinical testing, and commercialization of innovative technologies in ophthalmology, neurology, and physiological monitoring. He earned a BA magna cum laude in psychology, with a Certificate in Asian Studies, and a Doctorate in Medicine from the University of Rochester. Mark’s post-graduate medical training included general, burn and plastic surgery.



Matthew Scott

General Catalyst

Founding member of AFWERX, an Air Force technology organization; named #16 Best Workplace for Innovators by Fast Company in 2020. As an Air Force Reservist, Matthew is working as the AFWERX Austin Director, where he invests in early-stage companies that will provide solutions to global challenges. 

After he completed his service as an active duty officer in the United States Air Force, Matthew returned to school to add education in financial analysis and accounting to his undergraduate and graduate education in operations research, all of which he hopes to apply to a career in private equity. 

Matthew is currently sitting for his Chartered Financial Analyst and Certified Public Accountant Exams. As part of the University of Texas Venture Labs program, Matthew worked as a Principal to lead a team of six Associates in strategic business case development for post-revenue companies by supporting business operations, modeling revenue projections, and developing marketing strategies. 

During his career with the United States Air Force, he completed an analytically rigorous NSA-sponsored graduate thesis on modeling and optimization of large data sets; managed significant relationships with foreign liaisons, private defense companies, and the U.S. government; and created and implemented high-impact policies to improve the efficiency of business operations and responsiveness to customer needs.



Matthew Clark

The Engine

Major Matthew Clark is an Air Force Special Operations MC-130J Navigator/Combat Systems Officer. He is the Head Quarters Air Force Special Technology Operations (STO) Chief at the Pentagon, where he provides deliberate and contingency action STO planning support to Combatant Commanders, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and SECDEF. Matt leads the CSAF's hi-priority COAL WARFIGHTER initiative by facilitating Special Access Program integration at tactical levels. 

Previously, he served in Okinawa, Japan, Mildenhall, England, and Hurburt, FL where he flew missions throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Prior to his commission he was stationed at Incirlik, Turkey and Lakenheath, England as Ground Radar Maintenance. In 2017, 

Matt as the Chief of the Special Operations Forces Aviation Branch in the Pentagon, was responsible for the SOF Career Fields. He identified shortfalls in the Combat Systems Officers career field manning for Air Force Special Operations Command. Matt worked closely with multiple Major Commands along with Rand to get the numbers right. His actions were instrumental in the Career Field manning increase from 53% to 85% in just two years.

 Matt holds a BS in Professional Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle and a MBA in Business Administration and Management from California Coast University.



Niko Votipka

Atomic

Captain Niko “Sonic” Votipka is a C-17A Instructor Pilot with the 535th Airlift Squadron at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. He is currently the Director of Operations for the 15th Wing’s innovation cell, Aloha Spark. He believes that in order to remain relevant in a modern, large-scale conflict, the Air Force must have an agile and adaptable workforce. Thus, his primary focus is the adoption of an Agile problem solving framework by Airmen through education and mentorship. 

Niko also vets potential SBIR companies and coaches Airmen to successfully carry out their own projects. He spearheaded an effort across all 4 branches to provide critical PPE to Oahu’s military hospital through 3D printing. Presently, he is working to restructure Hickam’s deployment process to operate in a COVID-19 environment. Prior to the C-17A, Niko was a 4-Ship flight lead and Mission Commander in the F-15E Strike Eagle. He has previously served at Sheppard AFB, Seymour Johnson AFB and Mountain Home AFB. 

Niko earned his BS in Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Political Science and Aerospace Studies from the University of Central Florida. He also holds an MS in Engineering from the University of Arkansas.



Rhine Morland

Okta Ventures

Electronics Engineer and Contracting Officer Representative (COR) for the United States Air Force, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Rhine Nicol Morland is an Electronics Engineer for the United States Air Force, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Ms. Morland is a native of Dayton, Ohio and has worked with the Air Force for five years. During her five years Ms. Morland has worked in various technical and management positions ranging from software technical monitor, SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) action officer, data analytics lead and COR. Her experience in Information Technology (IT) allows her to provide direction on how to identify and manage risks associated with IT systems and data. She is enthusiastic to study the private sector’s methodologies in risk management that can be used in her future of shaping technical and business strategies within the DoD. 

She holds a BA in Mechanical Engineering Technology (Minor Industrial Engineering Technology) from The University of Dayton, and a MS in Information Systems from Wright State University. Her interests include providing risk analysis and direction on investment properties as well as studying emerging technologies in regards to stock investments. In her free time, she plays competitive golf to prepare for her future on the LPGA tour.



Robert Wallace

Capital Factory

Major Robert Wallace is an Infantry Officer in the United States Marine Corps currently stationed at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. For the past year he has been studying toward his MA in International Affairs with a focus on Russian Foreign Policy in the Middle East. 

Prior to this posting Major Wallace served seven years in 29 Palms, California and from there conducted three combat deployments to Afghanistan and one to Iraq.  During those deployments he frequently served as an advisor to foreign military forces, training and directing multinational units in combat. He also spent two years with the Naval Construction Force in Gulfport, Mississippi helping them prepare for combat missions in the Middle East and for international cooperation missions in the South Pacific. 

He holds a BA in International Studies and an MA in Theology and is a graduate of the Expeditionary Warfare School and an Adjunct Faculty for the Marine Corps University. He is primarily interested in identifying ways policy can be crafted to reduce suffering, enhance quality of life, and encourage people toward individual and corporate productivity. Robert is married to Andrea Wallace and they have been blessed with six children.



Sam Pandey

Bowery Capital

1LT Sam Pandey serves as an innovation acquisitions officer for the 75th Innovation Command whose primary mission is to drive operational innovation, concepts, and capabilities within the US Army in support of Army Futures Command. Prior to his current role he served five years as an enlisted soldier in the California National Guard as a truck driver. With this experience, he published an article focusing on using smart devices to track supply chain readiness within the Army Logistics Corps. 

Sam’s prior experience includes launching a medical device company out of UCSF’s Rosenman Institute that focused on treating diabetic ulcers and neuropathy in patients. Additionally he worked for a cybersecurity automation start-up named LogicHub in Mountain View where he focused on sales and marketing growth. 

He is currently an MBA student at Georgetown University and recently completed an internship at EY Parthenon focusing on post merger technology integrations. During the fellowship Sam hopes to focus on learning valuation methodologies utilized to minimize portfolio risk and calculate exit value. In terms of technology he is interested in Fintech, Manufacturing IoT, and Robotics. Currently, he is researching the application of AI to ground penetrating radar systems to minimize the number of IED casualties on the battlefield. He is exploring commercial opportunities for this venture as well.



Taylor Herron

Harpoon

Lt Col Taylor “Bingo” Herron is a career Air Force Intelligence Officer with an unbridled passion for disruptive change.  During his 19 years of service, he’s driven broad transformations across a wide range of strategic analysis, tactical reconnaissance, and human-resource management organizations.  

From 2017-2019, Lt Col Herron commanded Air Force Special Operations Command’s largest and most lethal intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance squadron where he drove the adoption of DevSecOps methodologies and AI/ML integration to accelerate the targeting cycle.   Lt Col Herron currently serves in the Office of Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force, focused on hardening the Air Force’s innovation ecosystem in support of the Chief of Staff’s vision to accelerate change.  

Lt Col Herron brings a diverse range of experiences to the table including over 10 years of foreign service throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.  He holds degrees in economics, political science, organizational science, and military strategy.



Tim Rhatigan

Outlander Labs

CDR Tim “Duck” Rhatigan, USN, is the Director of Flight & Military Operations @ DCMA Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, CT, exercising contract oversight and new product acceptance for seven ACAT I multi-year acquisition programs valued at nearly $40B.  Currently qualified in the MH-60M Blackhawk, the Army’s newest helicopter. 

CDR Rhatigan is a 2000 Naval Academy graduate and career Navy helicopter pilot, who has served in various operational and senior staff positions within the DoN & DoD, including as a Flag Aide to Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command and as an operational Commanding Officer of a Norfolk-based HSC squadron flying the MH-60S.

A graduate of the Fletcher School at Tufts University, the Naval War College, and currently a second year MBA-candidate w/ a focus in 'sustainability' at Yale's School of Management, CDR Rhatigan is excited for the opportunity to engage w/ and learn from leaders in the civilian sector.  He is personally interested in the ongoing development of urban air mobility solutions and electric propulsion in the aviation sector, and his current studies at Yale are focused on sustainable and impact investing.



Shift Team

Forrest Underwood

Forrest Underwood

Ventures Fellowship Program Manager
M.A., University of Oklahoma
B.S., United States Air Force Academy

Forrest is the Program Manager for the Air Force Ventures Fellowship at Shift.org. He is leading the expansion of the Program to the entire Department of Defense to host 1,000 Fellows each year at venture capital firms and startups in technology hubs across the country over the next four years. 

Prior to his transition from Active Duty, Forrest embedded with GGV Capital for 6 weeks during the inaugural Air Force Ventures Fellowship. Based on his experience in Silicon Valley, he was recruited to build a globally distributed MedTech evaluation team supporting the White House COVID-19 Task Force and FEMA which evaluated more than 4,000 companies and led to 13,000 contract actions worth $830M.

Forrest served 11 years in the United States Air Force as a C-130J pilot at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, a Special Operations MC-130J pilot at Kadena Air Base, Japan, and the Chief of Strategic Engagements at Special Operations Command Europe in Stuttgart, Germany.  He has deployed to Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.



Mike Slagh

Mike Slagh

CEO & Chairman
M.P.P, Harvard University
B.S., United States Naval Academy

Experience: Mike is often described as the entrepreneur bridging the gap between the military and tech. By decoding experiences, he’s helping veterans get hired into roles not normally associated with military service at companies like Major League Baseball, Andreessen Horowitz, and Adobe. As Shift Founder & CEO, he builds strategic hiring initiatives with executive teams and creates pathways for veterans into media, technology, and venture capital companies. Prior to founding Shift he was a Product Manager at a venture capital-backed financial technology company. Mike previously served for seven years in the Navy, deploying to South America and the Middle East as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Officer, eventually running global operations for a bomb squad battalion. Prior to the Navy, he co-founded ID.me, a company that has raised $40M+ in venture capital and is the first digital identity network that allows consumers to prove who they are online while controlling how their information is shared with brands.



Chris MacPherson

Growth & Government Programs

Christopher currently oversees government programs, marketing, and strategic initiatives at Shift.org, a San Francisco-based, Andreessen Horowitz backed labor marketplace for veterans. He is also an Adjunct Faculty member at Princeton University's Keller Center for Innovation in Engineering Education, where he teaches a course on Creativity, Innovation and Design, and runs his own innovation consulting business, Shadestream Innovations.

Christopher has also worked at the design firm Frog Design, where he focused on the strategy and design of artificial intelligence and applied data systems to enable transformational change, and at the global macro hedge fund Bridgewater Associates. Prior to Bridgewater, Christopher spent over a decade focusing on technology, defense and national security issues for the US Government, with roles at the National Security Agency, the White House Situation Room, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. 

He is trained as a computer scientist, and holds degrees from Hamilton College, Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, and the United States National Intelligence University.

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