Our Team

Nanoracks is managed by a team of space industry veterans who understand the marketplace and have their own positive reputations in the community.

Jeffrey Manber – Chief Executive Officer

Jeffey ManberAs CEO of Nanoracks, from 2009 onwards, Jeffrey Manber has steered the growth of the first company to own and market its own hardware and services on board the International Space Station.

When Nanoracks began operations, no one even knew if customers would pay for space station services. No one understood how a private company could operate onboard a government facility.

Today, Nanoracks is a market leader in space station services, having flown over 700 payloads, including 200 satellites deployed, from customers from 30 nations… Read more about Jeffrey Manber.

Micheal McVey – Interim Chief Operating Officer

Micheal McVeyMicheal is a Financial & Operational oriented CFO. He has an extensive background in the Oil & Gas industry as well as Aerospace. Micheal is adept at developing successful growth strategies and strategic initiatives with executable tactics designed to capitalize on revenue opportunities and cost reductions.

He has a business reputation for entrepreneurial agility combined with strategic focus on best practices, process improvement, operations, and financial growth delivered in dynamic environments. His hands-on leadership style promotes a team-based culture, and approaches business decisions based on data-driven metrics with operational discussions. Additionally, Micheal is skilled at negotiations, M&A, and system implementations. Micheal has an MBA from the University of Tulsa supported with a CPA designation. Read more about Micheal McVey.

Stephanie Purgerson – Senior VP of Government Affairs (Active Military Duty)

Stephanie PurgersonStephanie has over 28 years of technical, operations and strategic roles in global supply chains and military environments. She comes with prior experience at Rubbermaid, Sweetheart Cup, Abbott Laboratories, Aviall and the US Army (29 years).

Currently, Stephanie is a Reserve Army Officer (Colonel) still serving in the Texas Army National Guard. Stephanie has served tours in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Stephanie holds a B.S. in Biology, an M.S. in Engineering Technology, and a Masters in Strategic Studies from the US Army War College. Read more about Stephanie Purgerson.

Chris Cummins – Chief Commerce Officer

Chris CumminsChris is an experienced financial innovator with an extensive aerospace background, and has been involved in the financing side of commercial space since 1981. Chris was one of the founders of Nanoracks working with Jeff Manber starting in 2009. Jeff and Chris met while working at the Commerce Department’s Office of Space Commerce in 1988.

Prior to being a pioneer in developing fund-linked products at Citigroup, Chris consulted to various aerospace companies and worked at NASA/JSC developing cost and schedule estimates for the ISS. Chris holds a MS in Statistics from NYU, a MBA from Yale, and a BA in physics and government from Cornell. Read more about Chris Cummins.

Richard Pournelle – Senior Vice President of Business Development

Richard PournelleRich manages sales and business development for Nanoracks. He has been involved in commercial space for over fifteen years. Prior to Nanoracks, he worked for investment bank Near Earth helping aerospace companies raise capital.

Richard spent eight years working at Mojave Spaceport for XCOR Aerospace as Director of Business Development. He began his career as Professional Staff for the Committee on House Administration where he helped create the THOMAS legislative information system. Richard holds a BA in Political Science from UCLA. Read more about Richard Pournelle.

Mike Lewis – Chief Innovation Officer

Mike LewisAs CIO, Mike works to develop new innovations for Nanoracks as the company grows into new and emerging in-space markets.

Previously, as a consultant to Nanoracks he supported the areas of design, analysis, business development, and project management in order to help the company provide repeatable access to the ISS and other microgravity environment platforms for commercial and educational research projects. Read more about Mike Lewis.

J. Brockton (Brock) Howe – Program Manager, Airlock

Brock is a product driven Engineer/Manager with over 25 years of experience in aerospace and oil field engineering product development including requirement development, conceptual design, detailed design and analysis, fabrication, testing, certification, operation, and product improvement.

Prior to Nanoracks, Brock worked in a variety of engineering and project management roles at a number of companies including General Dynamics, Space Industries, Johnson Engineering, ABB Lummus Global, SpaceHab Inc, Qualified Technical Services Inc, DynCorp International, and Houston Offshore Engineering – all based in Texas.

Veronica La Regina – Director of Global Engagement (Europe)

Veronica La ReginaBefore joining Nanoracks Veronica was a Strategy and Business Development officer at RHEA, and appointed at the European Space Agency (ESA) – ESTEC as the Business Innovation Expert of the Commercial Partnerships’ Initiative for Space Exploration in the Directorate of Human Space Flight and Robotic Exploration. Previously, Veronica worked for the ESA Technology Transfer Programme Office, Department of International Relations of the Italian Space Agency (ASI). She also worked at the European Space Policy Institute in Vienna, at the International Space University in Strasbourg, Telespazio SpA in Rome, Wave Energy Centre in Lisbon and worked as a researcher at different universities in Europe and in the USA. She has been a climate-KIC coach since 2012.

Veronica holds a master’s degree in system engineering from Electronic Engineering Department, a master’s degree in Space Policy, and a full Graduation in Law. She also pursued PhD Studies in Economics. In 2017 she was awarded as a “Leader” by the Italian Branch of the Business Professional Women Network.

John Benac – Director of Engineering

John BenacAs Director of Engineering, John leads the growing NanoRacks engineering and fabrication team to create, fabricate, test and deliver space flight hardware that meets all customer needs. He will chair all company design reviews, implement process improvements necessary for sustained growth, and oversee engineering efforts as the company moves towards its Space Outpost program and Bishop Airlock launch and operations.

He has seven years of experience at Boeing, working on 737 final assembly, and NASA Glenn and Johnson Space Centers. John operated console for the International Space Station Mission Control and supported International Space Station Environmental Control and Life Support Systems through the entire lifecycle during station assembly, shuttle retirement, and commercial cargo commissioning.

John also contributed on NASA’s SLS heavy lift rocket and defined ground and launch vehicles interfaces and integration concepts for the NASA funded Cryogenic Propellant Storage and Transfer Demonstration Mission. John also conducted contracts supporting United Launch Alliance development of the Vulcan and Atlas V payload accommodations. He served as a Senior Systems Engineer for Advanced Concepts at Stratolaunch, where he first engaged with NanoRacks supporting NanoRacks’ LEO Commercialization proposal studying repurposing of launch vehicle upper stages as in-space habitats and platforms. While at Stratolaunch, he defined new systems and programs and performed mission analysis for government and commercial customers on the Medium Launch Vehicle.

Conor Brown – Payloads Director

Conor BrownConor Brown is the External Payloads Manager at Nanoracks, and has been working on the CubeSat deployment program since 2014. During his time at Nanoracks, Conor has managed CubeSat missions on over 14 flights and supported the development of a variety of small satellite deployment systems.

Conor was the primary mission manager for the first ever CubeSat mission that deployed above the ISS from a US Cargo resupply vehicle.

Carl Carruthers – Chief Scientist

Growing up in Florida, Carl was inspired to pursue a career in science by watching launches from the causeway at Kennedy Space Center and witnessing the construction of the International Space Station. After finishing his B.S. in Chemistry at Florida Atlantic University, he moved to Texas for his M.S. in Biochemistry at Texas A&M University. Upon graduating, Carl began working at The Houston Methodist Research Institute in the lab of Dr. John Baxter and Dr. Paul Webb on the structure and function of nuclear receptors. In collaboration with Dr. Jan-Ake Gustafsson at The University of Houston, Carl completed his Ph.D. in Biochemistry.

Carl has been the PI of seven microgravity experiments: two fluid and one glass transition experiment flown on reduced gravity aircraft, a genotoxicology experiment flown on STS-91, and three protein crystallography projects on STS-134, STS-135 and Expedition 34/35 on the International Space Station. He began working as Chief Scientist at Nanoracks in January 2014 working on payload operations and designing cutting-edge COTS life science hardware for the ISS. When not chasing rockets he can be found flying, photographing or staring into space.

Abby Dickes – Marketing Director

Abby DickesAbby is the Marketing and Communications Manager working out of the Nanoracks’ DC Office. She handles press, public relations, launch guest operations, creative and strategic planning, event planning, and external company communication. In addition, she oversees website updates, graphic design, and both print and digital marketing materials.

Abby’s past experience includes working at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, NASA Headquarters’ Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs, the House Science Committee, and Aerospace Industries Association. She achieved of Bachelors of Art in Government and Politics with a minor in Astronomy from the University of Maryland, College Park.

David Elmore – Quality Assurance Manager

David ElmoreDavid Elmore joined Nanoracks Houston team in June of 2015 as the Company’s first Quality Assurance Manager. David comes to Nanoracks after having worked 30 years on the Shuttle Program in the Crew Environmental Training, Crew Extravehicular Mobility Units (EVA Suits), Hardware Qualification and Manufacturing Divisions.

At Nanoracks, David took on the task of logistics and spent the first year developing a system for maintaining inventory, tracking locations and traceability for flight, non-flight and government-furnished hardware. David has also established systems to record historical data to establish objective evidence of compliance and a non-conformance system for tracking non-complying hardware. David provides the quality engineering, inspection and record-keeping activities.

Mary Murphy – Senior Internal Payloads Mission

Mary has worked at Nanoracks LLC since July 2014, as the Senior Internal Payloads Manager, she oversees Account Managers, managing customer expectations and making sure there is efficient use of Nanoracks and NASA resources.

She provides overall project coordination between stakeholders for all customer accounts and coordinates with business development and financial staff to ensure contractual requirements flow down to payload integration activities. Mary serves as the primary interface between customers and NASA senior management as required, between customers and Nanoracks Operations, Flight Safety, Engineering and Avionics teams as well.

Previously, Mary worked as a Program Engineer and Project Manager at Advanced Technology Systems Company, Teaching Fellow in Project Engineering and Manufacturing at the University of Maryland, and an Assistant Project Manager and Bid Coordinator at Sun Control Systems. Mary holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland and the Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification from The Project Management Institute.

Keith N. Tran – Mission Operations Manager

Keith has over two decades of experience in human space flight operations at both NASA and JAXA (Japan Aerospace eXploration Agency). Prior to Nanoracks, he worked as the International Space Station Flight Controller for over 10 years at NASA. After that, Keith supported and trained the JAXA flight control team for the next 10 years in the area of human space flight operations.

Mr. Tran received his BSEE degree in the University of Houston in 1994. Contact Keith at ktran@nanoracks.com.

Martin Wilson – Web Manager

Martin is a Website Manager and a known digital marketing expert. His team are recognized as one of the leading web designers and digital marketing agencies for space-themed programs and are a major driving force in the growth of a number of organizations.