Shift Announces 2020 AFVentures Fellowship Program
Shift is excited to announce today our partnership with the U.S. Air Force and the selection of the first cohort of 2020 AFVentures Fellows. The AFVentures Fellowship is a unique industry immersion program for future Air Force leaders. Next week, the cohort of fellows arrive in the San Francisco Bay Area to work closely with the CEOs, General Partners, and change agents of 20 leading technology and venture capital firms.
“Shift is committed to creating opportunities that demonstrate the rich experience and value of our military service members to the U.S. business community,” said Shift CEO Mike Slagh, who will be chairing the program. “The AFVentures Fellowship is our first unique offering in our partnership with U.S. Air Force, and I am blown away by the quality of experience this cohort is bringing, and overwhelmed by the interest of the San Francisco Bay venture capital community in hosting our first cohort of Fellows. I cannot wait to welcome them next week.”
After a highly competitive process, Shift, in coordination with AFWERX, the USAF program with a mission to create a culture of innovation in the Air Force, selected 21 emerging Air Force leaders across the Active Duty, Reserve, and Air National Guard Officer Corps, Enlisted Non-Commissioned Officer Corps, and U.S. Air Force Civilians. This first cohort of fellows bring incredible experience that spans the spectrum of the Air Force mission and domains, including program acquisition, special operations, air operations, intelligence, space, as well as international tours and combat experience in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Fellows are endorsed by their military units to travel to a metropolitan area for a six week program focused on industry, emerging technologies, and best practices, while developing professional networks within the private sector and among one other. Each fellow is matched to a company based on interest and functional alignment.
“As a military operator and capability integrator, the days are gone when threats to our nation remain relatively static for a generation. The world has evolved and the U.S. Air Force must evolve with it,” said Lt Col Mike Benitez, one of the 2020 AFventures Fellows. “I'm extremely excited for this opportunity to be immersed in the venture capital and startup world. I am looking forward to developing an understanding of the methods they use to assess risk and adapt in their competitive environment, to engage with the emerging technologies they are developing, and how I might apply my operational perspective to foster a positive working relationship between Silicon Valley and the U.S. Air Force to help solve problems for national defense.”
Shift 2020 AFVentures Fellows
- Maj Abby Barger, Chief of Joint Special Operations, LeMay Center for Doctrine Development and Warfighter Education, Maxwell Air Force Base
- Lt Col Mike Benitez, Director, 53d Wing Commander’s Action Group, Eglin Air Force Base
- Capt Bobby Carbonell, Operations Officer, ARCWERX
- Mary Chung, Intelligence Analyst, Technology Protection Branch, Air Force Office of Special Investigations
- Maj James Colraine, Program Manager, AFWERX
- Barbara Estes, Intelligence Analyst, National Air and Space Intelligence Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
- Maj Brian Hasbrouck, Program Manager, 566th Intelligence Squadron, Buckley Air Force Base
- Maj David Ho, Chief Technology Officer, Strategic Warning & Surveillance Systems Division, AFLCMC, Peterson Air Force Base
- MSgt Kevin A. Joseph, Superintendent, Combat Development Division 721st Operations Group, Peterson Air Force Base
- MSgt Josiah Littrell, Contracting Officer, Air Force Special Operations Command
- Morgan Locklar, Operations Research Analyst, Hill Air Force Base
- Lt Col Kaly “Moon” McKenna, Chief Innovation Officer, 432d, and Director of Operations for the 432d Operations Support Squadron, Creech Air Force Base
- Capt Paulina Morales, Officer in Charge, 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Unit, Luke AFB
- Capt Tim Nolan, Director, Wing Innovation Initiatives, Air Force Special Operations Command Innovation Office
- Capt Justin Poole, Director of Staff and C-17 Evaluator Pilot, Travis Air Force Base
- Kristen Reed, Acquisition Program Manager, Hanscom Air Force Base
- Laura Russell, Special Agent, Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Joint Base Andrews
- Maj Stacie Shafran, Public Affairs Officer, Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs, Randolph Air Force Base
- 2d Lt Sarah Soliman, 175th Cyberspace Operations Squadron, Maryland Air National Guard
- Maj Forrest Underwood, Chief of Strategic Engagements, Special Operations Command Europe
- Capt Brian Wolff, Lead Engineer, Cloud Computing Team, Weather Systems Branch, Air Force Lifecycle Management Center, Hanscom Air Force Base
This year’s first 2020 cohort will be focused on Investment and Risk Management and located in the San Francisco Bay Area. We are thrilled that the following host organizations have agreed to welcome our fellows to the Bay Area.
“I am excited that companies like Semper Virens have opened their doors to me and my other military colleagues," said 2d Lt Sarah Soliman, who will be joining the venture capital firm Semper Virens from the Maryland Air National Guard's 175th Cyberspace Operations Squadron. "I'm looking forward to discovering innovative technical solutions to bring back to the Air Force, as well as getting to know the service members who will be joining me as Fellows!"
During the Fellowship, fellows will immerse themselves in the venture capital and startup ecosystem of the San Francisco Bay area, complete a research project of great value to their host firms, and commence a capstone project for the Air Force with a cross-functional team of fellows, all the while meeting with industry leaders and developing strong bonds with their cohort that we believe will last for the rest of their careers.
By the conclusion of the program, fellows will have developed an understanding of how venture capital firms and venture capital-backed companies operate, make investment decisions, and manage risk.
"In a short period of time, Shift has been able to deliver a world-class fellowship that will provide the United States Air Force with unique access to the companies who are having some of the greatest impact on technology development in the United States," said Major Tony Perez, AFWERX Spark director and program manager who is overseeing the fellowship. "AFWERX's use of the Small Business Innovation Research program has opened up the Air Force to innovative businesses like Shift, who are able to rapidly develop and deliver dual use technologies that provide the Air Force with additional capability.”
Shift is grateful to play a role in reimagining what a deep collaboration between the Department of Defense and the technology community can look like.
Shift is a San Francisco based technology company created to redefine career change for the 250,000 military service-members who transition from the military to civilian life every year. Our talent marketplace, proprietary assessment technology and talent development experiences empowers employers to create reliable and diverse talent pipelines by matching military skills, abilities and experience to a variety of roles. We partner with great employers like Major League Baseball, Okta, Udemy, Palantir, Publicis Groupe, Cisco, Symantec, and many more, and are backed by investors at 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 U.S. Air Force 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 Air Force 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 Fellowship is open to all components of the United States Air Force 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 2020. Our next application period opens up in March for the May fellowship cohort. If you are interested in being notified about future programs or follow along with updates from the first cohort, you can sign up for our mailing list here.
2020 AFVentures Fellows Bios
Maj Abby Barger
Chief of Joint Special Operations, LeMay Center for Doctrine Development and Warfighter Education, Maxwell Air Force Base
Major Abby K. Barger is the Chief of Joint Special Operations at the LeMay Center for Doctrine Development and Warfighter Education at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. She coordinates Air Force review of Air Force, joint-service and multinational doctrine, including accessing the risks inherent in using new technology in future operating environments. Prior to assuming her current position, she completed two overseas tours flying as a combat systems officer for Air Force Special Operations Command.
Major Barger holds masters degrees from the Air Command and Staff College and Troy University, and is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy.
Lt Col Mike Benitez
Director, 53d Wing Commander’s Action Group, Eglin Air Force Base
Mike Benitez is an active duty U.S. Air Force officer currently serving as the Director of the 53d Wing Commander’s Action Group at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. In this role, he is the strategic advisor and chief innovation officer for a diverse 23-location unit responsible for hardware and software operational test, tactics development, weapons systems evaluation, and mission data optimization for the U.S. Air Force’s fighter, bomber, rescue, reconnaissance, and space portfolios. His extensive operational background—five combat deployments and over 200 combat missions flown in the F-15E—is balanced with assignments at the Pentagon, Congress, and the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency.
With a career in addressing diverse problems and developing solutions in the military, he is interested in expanding his knowledge of risk management, investment strategies, and technological solution development. His goal is to leverage these insights to identify non-traditional pathways and opportunities that can be implemented within the Air Force to foster innovative change that advances the service’s mission and its people.
Capt Bobby Carbonell
Operations Officer, ARCWERX
Captain Bobby Carbonell currently serves as the Operations Officer for ARCWERX, the Air National Guard’s Innovation Office. In this role he is responsible for creating a culture of innovation in the Air National Guard through celebrating innovation wins and failures, speaking engagements, base visits, and training events. Captain Carbonell also manages large scale innovation projects and helps Air National Guard Airmen find innovative solutions to their operational problems.
Captain Carbonell is an Aircraft Maintenance Officer with nearly a decade of experience working in and around aircraft maintenance activity in the Air Force. Prior to commissioning, he served in the Florida Army National Guard. During his Army National Guard service he deployed as an Infantryman to Baghdad, Iraq in 2003.
Bobby previously served as the founding Executive Director of Veterans Florida, a nonprofit organization that helped veterans find employment and become entrepreneurs. In that role, he built the organization from the ground up into a state-wide nonprofit with a $5 Million annual budget and 15 full time employees. During his tenure at Veterans Florida he created and managed an entrepreneurship training program that trained over 1,000 veterans in the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. He currently co-owns several small businesses with his brother.
Intelligence Analyst, Technology Protection Branch, Air Force Office of Special Investigations
Mary is a career intelligence analyst with 14+ years’ experience in acquisition, tactical, and supply chain risk management intelligence in chiefly related to nuclear, artificial intelligence, precision, navigation, and timing (PNT) and microelectronics technologies. Currently, she works with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Technology Protection branch in support of emerging Research and Development (R&D) programs.
Mary holds a Masters from American Military University, and is interested in technological innovations, particularly machine learning, AI-supporting raw/new materials, and PNT-supporting technologies.
Maj James Colraine
Program Manager, AFWERX
Major James Colraine is currently a reservist in the United States Air Force, where he serves as an Air Operations Officer for US Special Operations Command Pacific (SOCPAC) and as a Program Manager at AFWERX.
In his civilian life, James is a special agent assigned to the San Francisco Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), specializing in counterterrorism investigations. James joined the Bureau in 2010 and has served in the federal government for 22 years. Prior to joining the Bureau, James worked for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) at the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and the United States Air Force.
James has a B.S. in History from the United States Air Force Academy, a M.A. in Liberal Studies from Georgetown University, and an M.B.A in Entrepreneurship and Innovation from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Intelligence Analyst, National Air and Space Intelligence Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
Barbara Estes is an All-Source Intelligence Analyst for the United States Air Force, National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC), Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Mrs. Estes also serves as the Chairman of the Weapons and Space Intelligence Committee (WSSIC), Electronic Warfare Systems Subcommittee (EWSS), 2018-2021, and is Head of Delegation (HOD) for Electronic Warfare Radar Intelligence Exchange (EWRIE) under the Chiefs of Scientific and Technical Intelligence (CSTI) program. To mitigate strategic surprise and risk, Mrs. Estes leads intelligence community (IC) collaboration on simultaneous ongoing research efforts to deliver all-source intelligence analysis and products to drive policy makers, acquisition customers, and operators to modify doctrine, tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), and system designs to improve U.S. survivability in threat environments.
Mrs. Estes, a native of Cheyenne, Wyoming, began her Air Force career upon graduation from Advanced Technical Intelligence Center (ATIC), Dayton, Ohio. With nine years of intelligence analysis experience, customers recognize her as a subject matter expert on PACOM and EUCOM adversary deception capabilities across the information spectrum. Resides with her spouse, Mr. Jay Estes in Beavercreek, Ohio, and their son, Jace and daughter, Ani.
She holds a BA in Political Science from Miami University, and a MS in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University in Washington, D.C.
Maj Brian Hasbrouck
Program Manager, 566th Intelligence Squadron, Buckley Air Force Base
Major Brian Hasbrouck is currently assigned to Buckley Air Force Base outside Denver, Colorado. He is a Program Manager with responsibilities for modernizing the National Security Agency's signals intelligence architecture, operational processes, and workforce. Additionally, he is an Assistant Director of Operations for a Squadron of over 450 Airmen.
Major Hasbrouck graduated from the United States Air Force Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management. He started his career in the Air Force as an Intelligence Officer in support of fighter aircraft and Special Operations Forces. He then transitioned to become an Acquisitions Officer, giving him contract and project management experience with the F-22 stealth fighter program, National Reconnaissance Office space systems, and Big Safari rapid innovation projects. He has significant international experience having lived in South Korea, deployed three times in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, once for Operation Iraqi Freedom, and several times to South America in support of the Global War on Terrorism.
Maj David Ho
Chief Technology Officer, Strategic Warning & Surveillance Systems Division, AFLCMC, Peterson Air Force Base
Major David Ho currently serves as the Chief Technology Officer for the Strategic Warning & Surveillance Systems Division located at Peterson AFB, Colorado. He is responsible for directing the technical rigor across a command & control and ground-based radar architecture performing missile warning, missile defense, and space domain awareness. He is chartered to identify innovative, emerging technologies to sustain and modernize a 40+ year old architecture by leveraging relationships with government labs, small businesses, and other non-traditional sources.
Major Ho received his commission from Officer Training School, Maxwell AFB in 2007 after earning his Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Texas A&M University. He earned his Master of Science in Engineering from California State Polytechnic and a Master of Science in Research & Development Management from the Air Force Institute of Technology. He has served as the Deputy Chief of the Technical Support branch at the USAF Test Pilot School, Chief of the Technology Development branch for the ISR Sensors & FMS Division, MQ-9 Special Projects Program Manager (PM) for the Medium Altitude UAS Division, Deputy Chief of the Advanced Research and Technology Division at the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), and PM for NRO IT Services & Acquisitions.
MSgt Kevin A. Joseph
Superintendent, Combat Development Division 721st Operations Group, Peterson Air Force Base, Peterson Air Force Base Colorado
Master Sergeant Kevin A. Joseph currently servers as Superintendent of the 721st Operations Group's Combat Development Division at Peterson Air Force Base Colorado. He is responsible for the R&D of weapon system capabilities and upgrades for the 21st Space Wing's deployable Electronic Warfare mission.
Over his extensive career, MSgt Joseph has served in several leadership roles to include a key Command and Control position advising strategic military leaders, including the White House Situation Room. In his senior enlisted leader capacity, he advised offensive and defensive mitigation tactics against critical terrestrial and on-orbit threat events which ensured free and uncontested operations in the space domain for the United States and allied forces.
He has lead personnel and managed resources at all levels, to include a 30 member Project Management team responsible for numerous Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) innovation efforts which strengthened the current and created new operational capabilities for an Air Operations Center supporting Korean Theater Operations.
Most recently, through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, he vetted and formed partnerships with several civilian companies to develop mission capabilities which support global space operations.These efforts were highlighted at the first-ever Air Force Space Pitch Day where he captured a competitive award of up to $5.25M in contracts to further the technological developments.
In his off time he enjoys spending time with his family and working towards his Master of Science degree in Cyber Security.
MSgt Josiah Littrell
Contracting Officer, Air Force Special Operations Command
MSgt Littrell is a Contracting Officer and Superintendent of Contracting Operations at an Air Force Special Operations Command unit. He serves as a business advisor to the Commander by directing all acquisitions and procurements for the unit.
MSgt Littrell graduated from Trident University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Leadership. He enlisted in the Air Force in February 2006, and has served multiple tours in Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and Inherent Resolve; conducting operations in denied areas with various Joint Task Forces. He is Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act Level III certified and is relied upon to advise the unit on its $184M annual budget.
2018 Bachelor of Science in Leadership, Trident University, Cypress, CA. 2017 Non-Commissioned Officer Academy, McGhee-Tyson Air Force Base (AFB), TN. 2016 Senior Enlisted Joint Professional Military Education (non-resident program) 2014 Associate’s in Contract Management, Community College of the Air Force
Operations Research Analyst, Hill Air Force Base
Morgan Locklar is an Operations Research Analyst in Finance at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, she attended Auburn University and received a Bachelors of Science in Applied Mathematics, graduating summa cum laude. Morgan is now pursuing her Master of Business Administration in Business Analytics from Auburn University.
In her role as an Operations Research Analyst, Morgan has supported more than $6 billion in activities for numerous programs in their cost estimating needs. She is also her unit’s Information Assurance Officer and Morale Committee Chair. Hill’s 309th Aircraft Maintenance Group, F-16 Program Office, T-38 Program Office, and Air Dominance Enabler Division are her most frequent clients claiming $4.8 billion in estimates in the last year alone. Morgan has additionally acquired knowledge in Program Management and Financial Budgeting due to her unique position. Morgan finds great fulfillment in supporting critical Air Force operations in her role and looks forward to a long career as an Air Force Spouse and Airman.
Apart from her job, Morgan enjoys traveling the world, SCUBA diving, and powder skiing in Utah.
Lt Col Kaly “Moon” McKenna
Chief Innovation Officer, 432d, and Director of Operations for the 432d Operations Support Squadron, Creech Air Force Base
Lt Col Kaly “Moon” McKenna currently serves as the Chief Innovation Officer for the 432d Wing at Creech AFB and as the Director of Operations for the 432d Operations Support Squadron. She most recently served with the Defense Innovation Board to advise the Secretary of Defense on innovation efforts and as the Chief of Advanced Remotely Piloted Aircraft Strategy at the Pentagon where she advised senior military and civilian leaders on the changing landscape of warfare.
A graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, Lt Col McKenna earned her MBA from American Military University and her Masters in Strategic Studies from George Washington University. As an evaluator pilot with over 2000 hours in the C-130 and MQ-9 aircraft, she deployed four times in support of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom where she was awarded the Aviation Valor Award and Combat Action Medal for her actions under fire.
Lt Col McKenna enjoys volunteering her time teaching leadership, mentoring the 432 WG Diversity Council, and serving as a Defense Fellow with the Truman National Security Project where she uses her combat and innovation expertise to advocate and advise on strategic national and foreign policy issues.
Capt Paulina Morales
Officer in Charge, 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Unit, Luke AFB
Capt Paulina Morales is assigned to Luke AFB, Arizona as the 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Unit Officer in Charge, where she leads 220 Airmen and 102 contractors safely maintaining 15 USAF, 7 Norwegian, and 2 Italian F-35s worth $3.7B. She plans and executes flying and maintenance producing 4K sorties annually. She formulates long-term strategies ensuring fleet health and facilitates training for combat-ready F-35 pilots and maintainers. She directs production, monitors trends, and initiates corrective actions for over $6M in facilities and equipment
Capt Morales gained her commission from Arizona State, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Chinese. Upon commission, she was assigned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. There, she gained experience in C-17 flight line and organizational maintenance. She also gained 5th generation fighter experience as the F-22 Aircraft Maintenance Unit Assistant OIC. She then moved to Luke AFB, and commanded the detachment for F-16 and F-35 maintenance training and curriculum development. She went on to lead the 309th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, leading 190 airmen maintaining a fleet of 24 F-16s.
Before being assigned to her current duty, she received her Masters of Arts in International Relations and completed Advanced Maintenance and Munitions Operations School.
Capt Tim Nolan
Director, Wing Innovation Initiatives, Air Force Special Operations Command Innovation Office
Tim Nolan is the Co-Founder and Director of Wing Innovation Initiatives of Air Force Special Operations Command’s Innovation Office; the Alison Group. Tim helps Air Force Special Operations Forces inspire innovation through empowerment, driving transformational leaps forward in capability while fostering a high-trust, inclusive culture of professional competence, cooperation, and teamwork.
Tim has served 15 years within Air Force Special Operations as a C-146 Aircraft Commander and has founded, scaled and sold an E-commerce and Brick & Mortar Retail Sales business while serving on active duty.
Tim Nolan enjoys creating leverage and opportunities, being creatively resourceful in restrictive environments, and sourcing and selling graded Pokemon Cards with his three children.
Capt Justin Poole
Director of Staff and C-17 Evaluator Pilot, Travis Air Force Base
Captain Justin T. Poole is a Louisiana native who earned his commission through ROTC in 2010, following graduation from Louisiana Tech University with a M.S in Computer Science/Cyber Security. He began his career as an Undergraduate Pilot Training Instructor Pilot at Columbus AFB, Mississippi. Then, he was selected to fly the C-17A at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, where he also served as the Wing Executive Officer and Chief of Wing Tactics. Captain Poole is currently the Director of Staff and a C-17A Evaluator Pilot, Travis Air Force Base, California. In his current position, he is responsible for the professional development of 77 officers in the 21 AS, AMC's busiest C-17 squadron. He has coached high school students in the AFA Cyber Patriot program, and is an active member of the Louisiana Tech IndustryAdvisory Board for Cyber Engineering where he advises the university on industry trends.
Acquisition Program Manager, Hanscom Air Force Base
Kristen Reed is an Acquisition Program Manager for the Department of the Air Force at Hanscom AFB, MA. She is the Lead Program Manager for the Airborne Warning and Control System Block 40/45 Performance Based Logistics (PBL) sustainment initiative.
Special Agent, Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Joint Base Andrews
SA Laura Russell is a Special Agent assigned to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI), Joint Base Andrews, MD. Currently, SA Russell is responsible for conducting criminal investigations and supporting research, development, and acquisition programs to meet Department of Defense and Air Force requirements. SA Russell joined AFOSI through the PALACE Acquire Program in June 2016.
Maj Stacie Shafran
Public Affairs Officer, Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs, Randolph Air Force Base
Stacie is honored to serve in the United States Air Force. During her incredible career as a public affairs officer, she’s had a coveted front-row seat to witness and impact history. Her experience in public relations, marketing, outreach, and strategic and crisis communication afforded her opportunities to serve around the U.S., as well as South Korea, Italy, Iraq, Afghanistan and during humanitarian missions in the Philippines.
Focused on creating value and making a difference, Stacie is passionate about mentoring, collaboration, women’s affairs and advocating for our nation’s wounded warriors. She enjoys interviewing people, listening to podcasts, entrepreneurship, traveling and being an athlete. As a public speaker, Stacie highlights the importance of mental health care and resiliency.
Stacie is the founder of SNS Media and enjoys helping small businesses succeed. She, along with her father, created the Senior Airman Ashton Goodman Scholarship, which keeps Ashton’s legacy alive following her death in Afghanistan and helps students pursue their educational goals.
Stacie attended the University of Colorado-Boulder (Go Buffs!), studied journalism and earned her commission through the Air Force ROTC program. She furthered her education with an MBA. She currently resides in San Antonio and is thankful for her biggest cheerleaders, her parents, Steve and Carol, and sister, Amy.
2d Lt Sarah Soliman
175th Cyberspace Operations Squadron, Maryland Air National Guard
In 2018, Sarah Soliman made a mid-career decision to join the military and graduated Air Force Officer Training School in September. Her journey is inspired by two years working in support of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan plus six years as a research analyst at RAND. She is now a 2nd Lieutenant with the Maryland Air National Guard 175th Cyberspace Operations Squadron. Sarah has previous affiliations as a Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the National Academy of Sciences Air Force Studies Board and as a Technical Mentor to the Georgetown University Hacking for Defense Class. She earned degrees at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School and the West Virginia University Statler College of Engineering, where she serves on the board.
Maj Forrest Underwood
Chief of Strategic Engagements, Special Operations Command Europe
Major Forrest Underwood is an Air Force Special Operations MC-130J pilot. He is currently the Chief of Strategic Engagements in Stuttgart, Germany, where he serves as the Special Operations advisor to key civilian, allied, and joint military leaders across Europe. Previously, he served in Ramstein, Germany and Okinawa, Japan, where he flew missions throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
In 2018, Forrest led the creation of Air Force Special Operations Command's first innovation accelerator designed to foster cross-functional collaboration and problem-solving. To date, the network has raised over $20M in funding towards the development of Airman-generated innovations. Forrest is passionate about finding new ways to leverage lean principles and iterative processes utilized by startups within the DoD and partnering with industry to capitalize on emerging technologies across sectors.
Forrest holds a BS in Management from the US Air Force Academy, an MA in International Relations from the University of Oklahoma, and is an alumnus of the George C. Marshall Center for Security Studies.
Capt Brian Wolff
Lead Engineer, Cloud Computing Team, Weather Systems Branch, Air Force Lifecycle Management Center, Hanscom Air Force Base
Captain Brian D. Wolff is currently the Lead Engineer, Cloud Computing Team, Weather Systems Branch, Air Force Lifecycle Management Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts. In this role he is responsible for the vision, technical direction and development of the next generation architecture supporting the 960 million dollar Air Force Weather portfolio
Capt Wolff entered the Air Force as an Airman Basic in the enlisted corps in November 1998. He served nine years as an Aircraft Electrical and Environmental Craftsman on the C-130, F-16 and B-1 airframes. In March 2008 he applied and was competitively selected for commissioning through the Airman Education and Commissioning Program. He attended the University of Arkansas where he graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Engineering in May 2011. Prior to his current assignment, he was the Executive Officer, DoD Special Representative, Japan, Yokota Air Base, Japan. He currently attends Colorado Technical University pursuing a Masters in Software Engineering. Capt Wolff is married to the former Ms. Melissa McHan of Abilene, Texas. They have two sons and four daughters.