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 Nine

Harpoon Ventures

Ken Corigliano professionally dedicates his Air Force officer career to advancing technology at the edge. With combat experience, unrelenting curiosity, and a gift for building relationships across and within disparate organizations and capabilities, Ken defines paradigms at all of his military assignments. He is well-known within the innovation circles of the Intelligence Community and the Dept of Defense, working behind the scenes during national crises. “Data is the new weapons race,” is a quote in his briefs to high level audiences, advocating veracity, velocity, volume, and value. His dedication to streamlining processes, optimizing people, and developing impact flows from a unique mapping of cause-effect relationships.

Personally, Ken has applied rigor to his play. Ken loves pushing the limits of human performance across multiple sports. An author and contributor, he influenced the disciplines of coaching, mentoring, sport performance, and human achievement including pioneering patented neurosciences. He has built and sold companies, patents, trademarks, domains, and helped build emerging industries with willing partners. With venture capital, entrepreneurial, philanthropic, import/export, coding, quantum science, and human performance experience, Ken embodies a life of immersing oneself in diverse worthwhile endeavors. A public servant first, Ken places valuable impact to society as his call to action.

Ken has a Masters in International Relations from Webster University, a Dual Bachelors in International Relations and Political Science from Saint Leo University, both Magna Cum Laude. Ken is a graduate of MIT's Business Applications of Artificial Intelligence, Disney's Institute of Leadership Excellence, and a keynote speaker on Quantum Information Sciences, Artificial Intelligence, and Human Performance Optimization.

Material Security

Jimmy Harrington is a cybersecurity and enterprise IT specialist, with 19 years of active duty service. His background spans worldwide leadership experiences in systems engineering, operational planning and strategy development. These roles range from tactical communications, cybersecurity, and customer support, to information operations, cyberspace operations, humanitarian relief and multi-national operations.

In his current role, Jimmy manages a $650 million portfolio of enterprise cybersecurity capabilities. He informs development of security infrastructure and tools, strategy and policy for all 845 thousand users on the Air Force’s network enterprise. His innovations are driving the Department of Air Force’s digital transformation through a data-centric Zero Trust strategy and laying the foundation for more secure and reliable operations and a more streamlined and flexible user experience.

Prior to his current assignment, Jimmy led 200 IT professionals as an installation Chief Information Officer, providing the range of technology services to 14 thousand users supporting advanced aerial test and training, along with combat and rescue flight operations. He is a passionate, mission-focused leader with a proven record of building new leaders.

As a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, Jimmy holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and a Master of Science in Management Information Systems from the University of Illinois. He was selected as a National Security Affairs Fellow with the Hoover Institute at Stanford and currently lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

Learn To Win

Major Jose (Joey) Hinojosa is the Chief of Squadron Standardization and Evaluations at the 22d Airlift Squadron, currently stationed at Travis Air Force Base in California. Major Hinojosa is an evaluator pilot with 2,200+ flying hours in the C-5M who, in his current position, evaluates unit training programs, manages aircrew evaluation, and provides his expertise to navigate the C-5M community's most difficult challenges.

Over the past two years, Major Hinojosa has managed a $1M virtual reality program initiative, with the help of Travis AFB's SPARK innovation hub, supplementing a lack of resources and diminishing community experience, by creating an innovative solution to a strained C-5M loadmaster training program. His efforts led to to the first successful Phase 3 Small Business Innovation Research project with AFWERX at Travis AFB. Maj Hinojosa still dedicates time consulting with the virtual reality start-up company developing the program to increase its scalability to multiple aircrew positions and potentially other aircraft communities.

Major Hinojosa received a Bachelor's of Science in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin and is currently working on obtaining his Master of Science in International Relations at Troy University. He and his wife, Rachel, enjoy experiencing all the outdoor activities California has to offer with their dog, Luna, and traveling the world together.

Capt Tony “T2” Huang is the Branch Chief of Curriculum Development for the United States Air Force Academy located in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Tony leads a team of curriculum developers using state-of-the-art instructional system design methodologies. His team is directly responsible for the development and deployment of 45 course and lesson plans for freshman and senior cadets to meet Air Force commissioning education requirements. Capt Tony Huang received his commission through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program at the University of Hawaii and a Master of Arts in Corporate Diplomacy from Norwich University. He has served in roles spanning across aircraft and space acquisitions. As a program manager, he led a 50-man team for command and control software for GPS, tasked with product strategy and technical refresh road mapping for the satellite control segment.

Capt Huang was also the program manager for C-5 Galaxy modernization program to include platform configuration and SW integration systems. He also served as the Aide-de-Camp for NATO Air Training Command in Kabul, Afghanistan, directly responsible for security, safety, and continuity of 2-star General commander support staff.


Brett Jansen is a Naval Intelligence Officer assigned to U.S. Third Fleet, where he leads teams in Information Warfare planning, real-time threat intelligence and Maritime Domain Awareness to Naval units operating throughout the Indo-Pacific. He additionally serves as an intelligence briefer to the Commander of U.S. Third Fleet, synthesizing geopolitical, diplomatic, and military activity affecting U.S. strategic interests throughout the Indo-Pacific.

He previously supported both the Naval Aviation and Special Warfare communities, deploying twice aboard aircraft carriers in the Pacific and three times as a senior analyst and intelligence director for Joint Special Operations Task Forces conducting counter-terrorism and stability operations in the Middle East. He’s passionate about high quality data, integrating Information Warfare disciplines, and leading teams with empathy, curiosity, and purpose. In 2018, frustrated by information sharing capability gaps working with foreign partners and across organizations, he co-founded Jansen Capital to invest in data security and encryption startups.

Prior to the Navy, Brett studied Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Maryland, leading student teams to partner with developing communities in Brazil, Ethiopia, and Uganda to improve public health and clean water access. Brett lives in San Diego, CA with his wife Eleanore and dog Bigsby.


Jillian Klug is an Information Technology and Cybersecurity professional with twenty-one years of active-duty service. Her background includes a diverse portfolio of strategic and tactical assignments where she has driven value to operations by empowering customers to be at the core of technology solutions. In her current role as the Director of Innovation, Jill directs the build, integration, and adaption of advanced technology to increase precision and reduce risk in support of current and future operations. Her focus is to enhance decision making and attain insights through data driven solutions, free trapped capacity through automation, and grow beneficial partnerships to achieve innovative end states.

Prior to her current assignment, Jill served as the Chief Information Officer where she aligned Information Technology priorities to organizational lines of business. She was responsible for the strategy, solutions, delivery, and maintenance of information and computer technologies for a global customer making time-critical, strategic decisions.

Jill is originally from Pennsylvania and currently resides in Virginia with her husband, two children, and the family German Shepherd. She is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Scrum Master (CSM), and in October, 2022 she will graduate with her Master’s Degree in Cybersecurity.

Boom Supersonic

Krystal LaMarca is a Contracting Officer who has thirteen years of dedicated civil service experience with the Department of Defense supporting various program offices at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, OH. Additionally, Krystal is an astute mission focused business leader providing sound business advice and results-driven strategies to acquisition teams. Her experience encompasses successful execution and oversight for a variety of complex acquisitions, to include quick reaction capability Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) requirements, in support of the United States Air Force (USAF) and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers. She is currently responsible for a $110M FMS program for technology oversight, protection and prevention of unauthorized transfer of US technology.

Prior to that, she was responsible for a $1.3B FMS program for development of an Electronic Warfare (EW) platform, leading the team through the acquisition of the Initial Operational Capability (IOC) aircraft, mission systems development, and ground support equipment. She has supported various USAF programs supporting Headquarters Air Force Material Command (HQ AFMC), National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC), United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and Air Combat Command (ACC).

Krystal possesses an outside the box thinking mentality with innovative approaches and proven ability to meet aggressive schedules to deliver mission critical requirements. Krystal lives in Ohio and readily volunteers her time wherever there is a need. She holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration through Bowling Green State University.

Clif Luber currently serves as a Supply Officer in the U.S. Navy. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2014 where he majored in Political Science and was named a Truman Scholar. After graduation, he worked at the White House for the Vice President’s National Security Affairs Office assisting with national security policy and speechwriting. He has previously served on a destroyer, hospital ship, and submarine, as well as at the Pentagon and the White House as a Social Aide. On his nuclear submarine, he managed a $3.3M annual budget. He is currently serving at Naval Special Warfare Group TWO in Virginia Beach, VA as a Logistics Officer.

In 2020, Clif founded a real estate private equity company, Upward Capital, that is dedicated to helping veterans, young professionals, and families invest and build financial freedom with real estate joint ventures and syndications.

Clif is a Missouri native and enjoys supporting all Missouri professional sports, as well as skiing, golfing, running, and weight-lifting.

Jer McKoy is an action officer on the Joint Staff in the Pentagon where he analyzes strategic issues and evaluates future capabilities as a solutions architect and product manager. His fourteen years of Air Force service focus on analysis and technology, with multiple special operations and interagency deployments punctuated by advanced education. He partners with portfolio managers to integrate design thinking and lean principles into experimentation and investment recommendations, which shape senior national security leader decisions on issues like data sharing, artificial intelligence, and distributed computing.

Prior to his current assignment, Jer worked with a small team on emerging threats to defense activities and deployed to the Middle East to combat growing technology development by extremist groups.

Jer lives in the Washington, DC area with his wife, an author and entertainer, and their dog, where he actively volunteers with several national security-focused non-profits. His current research leverages data analytics to evaluate influence activities from an intelligence perspective.

Red Cell Partners

Brian McMenamin is an active duty Naval Officer with 12 years of experience within the Naval Special Warfare community; he has spent most of his time on West Coast and four years in Hawaii focused on an undersea mission set.

Brian was hand selected to work in Virginia Beach where his effort has shifted to research and development in support of the greater Naval Special Warfare Community. Brian is currently leading small team elements focused on future war fighting functions, and preparing Special Warfare operators to support national priorities.

His personal ventures include owning and operating an investment real estate company (Your Real Capital), which focuses on providing affordable housing options and education to military real estate investors. Brian is also a partner in a coffee startup (Mellō Beans Coffee Co.), which provides world-class coffee products that promote physical and mental health. Brian attended the United States Naval Academy and received a degree in Ocean Engineering.

Scout Ventures

Lieutenant Rob Nicholson is the Deputy Department Head of Administration for Navy Reserve Command Tenth Fleet Cyber Command (NR C10F HQ) and has spent over twenty years in the ocean, atmosphere and space field.

In his operational capacity, he provides support to Navy Space Command's integration efforts with US Space Command and has contributed to various DoD and NATO training and policy initiatives. He also serves as the lead instructor for two reserve programs and has provided instruction to 300+ Active Duty and Reserve sailors on the topics of Atmospheric Science, Oceanography, and Space Based Environmental Monitoring.

Prior to NR C10F HQ, he served as Department Head of Operations and S&T Liaison at the Office of Naval Research’s (ONR) Science & Technology (S&T). He was selected by the Chief of Naval Research as #1 of 85 Junior Officers for ONR’s 2018 Junior Science and Technology Officer of the Year. He advised on various high priority S&T projects resulting in investment recommendations for ONR and DOD’s Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO) Program. He currently sits on various advisory boards for key state and regional innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives. He also built a 4,000-member virtual community of startups with instructors, vendors, business owners, and strategic partners, creating 40+ physical events in 22 cities featuring workshops and networking.

Rob lives in Southern Delaware with his wife and two children. He holds a Master’s Degree in Management from Wilmington University and a Bachelor's Degree in Natural Science and Mathematics from Thomas Edison State University. Additionally, he is a volunteer volleyball coach for a local youth recreational league.


Captain David Oh is a Signal Corps Officer in the United States Army. He currently serves as the Company Commander for the United States Army Network Enterprise Center (USANEC) – Okinawa. He serves as the DISA Executive Agent of all inter-base communications on Okinawa, servicing over 35,000 bilateral and joint users from over 18 DoD organizations on 11 installations across DODIN enclaves.

In his previous assignment, David served as the Operations Officer for the Los Angeles Army Recruiting Battalion, responsible for overseeing all battalion-level current and future operations from over 450 zip codes, 22 colleges, and 398 high schools encompassing over 4,000 square miles of Los Angeles and Ventura counties. David has served in multiple leadership positions, such as the Platoon Leader and Company Executive Officer for multiple organizations during his initial assignment in 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, GA.

David is a graduate of Mercer University and the University of Southern California, earning a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Master’s Degree in Business, respectively. In his free time, he enjoys trail running, backpacking, and spending quality time with his loved ones.

Two Bear Capital

Major Dennis “Ross” Perreault is the Deputy Chief for the Data Operations Branch within the ACC HQ Intelligence Data and Technology Futures Division. Ross has compiled 23 total years in service, first enlisted in Navy Electronic Warfare, then both enlisted and commissioned in Air Force Intelligence in the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserves. His role includes managing enterprise portfolio analysis across cloud, data management, artificial intelligence, and other automation solutions through cross-functional teams focused on realizing the digital innovation strategies.

Outside of his Reserve duty capacity, Ross has been involved in numerous IT modernization, innovation and experimentation efforts in defense contractor roles with the Navy, Joint Forces Command J2 and its Joint Intelligence Laboratory. In 2018, as Wing Innovation Lead, he championed Wing innovation proposals including an AFWERX SBIR Phase II contract. Ross has also been exploring entrepreneurship on the side with the launch of two businesses focused on commercial imagery services and craft coffee roasting.

He lives in Newport News, Virginia with his wife and three children and holds a Master's Degree in Technology Entrepreneurship through the University of Maryland.


Captain Jacob Pridotkas is an Operations Research Analyst with five years of active duty service in the Air Force. He is currently assigned to the 18th Special Operations Test and Evaluation Squadron, where he leads a team of military and civilian analysts. He is responsible for technical design and analysis for Air Force Special Operations Command’s operational test program.

Prior to his current role, Jacob worked at the Air Force’s ‘Kessel Run’ where he developed software to optimize the scheduling of air-to-air refueling missions. His time in Boston culminated in the deployment of tanker auto-planning software to the 609th Combined Air Operations Center. Jacob has also served at the Air Force Research Laboratory in San Antonio, TX developing modeling and simulation software for new directed energy technologies.

Jacob holds a B.S. in Mathematics from Boston College and a M.S. in Analytics from Georgia Institute of Technology. He is a frequent traveler and currently lives in Destin, FL, enjoying an assignment by the beach.

Beagle Learning

Major Dan Sabatelli is the 19th Airlift Wing Chief Innovation Officer, a 41st Airlift Squadron Assistant Director of Operations and C-130J instructor pilot with 15 years active duty experience in tactical airlift. He is instrumental in standing up the 19th Airlift Wing Innovation Lab and establishing programs designed to develop and actualize innovative ideas from across the Wing. Additionally, in this role he connects private companies with relevant technology to potential users in the wing. In his role as 19th Operations Group Chief of Aircrew Training, Dan focused on ways to improve the training capabilities of the squadrons, leading his team to create and pitch two separate programs that were eventually implemented across all active duty C-130J wings.

Previously he was stationed in Germany where he had roles liaising between and Army units in Europe, coordinating with partner countries and conducting tactical airlift operations across Europe and Africa. As an executive assistant to the USAF Scientific Advisory Board, Dan has sought opportunities to help some of the nation’s preeminent thinkers address topics that will shape the future of the USAF and its technology.

Currently residing in Little Rock, Arkansas Dan loves traveling with his wife and two children.

Decisive Point

Billy Sangster is an active duty Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technician with 19 years of service. Beginning his EOD career in Santa Rita, Guam, he deployed in various roles throughout the Indo-Pacific theater. Since 2007, he has worked extensively in support of naval special warfare and has deployed across the Middle East and Africa eliminating explosive threats in a variety of environments. In 2017, he was selected to lead an innovation initiative chartered to test and evaluate emerging technologies as future warfighting capabilities for special operations.

Currently, he serves as the senior enlisted advisor for his command's research and development efforts. In this role, he is responsible for the portfolio management and technical direction of all EOD research, development, testing, and evaluation efforts. He is a graduate of Norwich University with a Bachelor's in Strategic Studies & Defense Analysis and recent graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Master's in Business Administration.

He lives in Virginia Beach, VA with his wife and four children. They enjoy outdoor activities, reading, and participating in local swimming and running clubs.

Major Joel Searls, USMCR, serves as the Outreach and Strategy Officer for the Communication Directorate-Los Angeles at the Entertainment Media Liaison Office (EMLO) and has spent fourteen years in the Marine Corps including service across the US and a deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He advises, coordinates, and synchronizes Marine Corps support to entertainment and academia industries in order to increase knowledge, encourage positive attitudes and behaviors among key publics and stakeholders to portray the Marine Corps as a naval force with authenticity, tell the Marine Corps story, and reinforce core values while ensuring truth in lending and accuracy of entertainment involving the service.

Since 2014, he has worked in the Entertainment industry at multiple firms to include the Paradigm Talent Agency and now runs his own company Samurai Cowboy Entertainment Group (SCEG), which is a boutique talent management firm that represents writers, actors, and directors. He is an associate producer on the feature film Running with the Devil, which stars Nic Cage and Laurence Fishburne. Joel’s experience includes having worked in the TMT sector of investment banking.

Joel lives in Los Angeles, California and holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson, and an MSF from USC Marshall.


Lieutenant Colonel Angela Smoot is an Army Acquisitions Officer assigned as a fellow in Training with Industry. TWI allows LTC Smoot the opportunity to engage with the nontraditional entities that enhance her traditional Army Acquisitions education and experience.

Previously, LTC Smoot served as Commander of Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) responsible for the administration of over 5,000 contracts valued in excess of $18 billion at 255 contractor facilities. LTC Smoot led and managed the efforts of contracting, engineering, earned value, manufacturing, cost/price, quality assurance, and logistics specialists throughout west, central and northern Florida and Puerto Rico.

LTC Angela Smoot earned a Bachelor of Administration in Business Management from Prairie View A&M University and a Master of Art in Public Administration from Webster University. LTC Smoot is Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) Level III in Contracting and Program Management.


Captain Elizabeth Sterchele is an Air Force Acquisitions Program Manager assigned to the C3I&N Enterprise IT and Cyber Division at Hanscom AFB, MA. Here, she is responsible for modernizing NIPR and SIPR networks, while also consolidating IT and cyber services currently managed by base communications squadrons. Elizabeth’s next project is to directly support infrastructure for the Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) and Enterprise IT as a Service (EITaaS) programs.

Previously, Elizabeth worked as the lead Information System Security Engineer (ISSE) on the Air Force Satellite Control Network (AFSCN) at Peterson AFB, CO. Elizabeth oversaw a team of 15 ISSE’s responsible for conducting cyber vulnerability assessments at global satellite remote tracking stations.

Elizabeth received her commission and B.S in Civil Engineering from Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN. After graduation, she received her M.S in Civil Engineering from the University of Louisville. Elizabeth is currently pursuing her M.S in Cybersecurity from The Johns Hopkins University with a focus in Systems Engineering. When she is not working or studying, Elizabeth enjoys watching Purdue football, the New England Patriots, and the Boston Bruins.

Captain Kristopher Tan is an active duty Acquisitions Officer serving as an Airframe Development Project Manager within the USAF Armament Directorate, Eglin AFB. He currently leads an 11-person integrated product team in the airframe development and test of advanced aerial munitions and oversees design and risk reduction across 4 organizations in a $20M primary and aerodynamic structures portfolio.

Prior to advanced hardware development, Captain Tan served as a scrum product owner at the Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles where he led a 6-member scrum team in the development of enterprise level and cloud-deployable satellite command and control platforms. He is also an alumni of SOCOM’s Ghost Program where he served as project manager on 8 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) efforts designed to rapidly develop and deploy new combat capabilities to US Special Forces.

Captain Tan holds a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering with minors in Mathematics and Leadership from Virginia Tech. When not working DoD efforts, he is an avid inventor and entrepreneur with one patent pending and two companies founded.

Squadra Ventures

Master Sergeant Jerry Voyles is the Superintendent of Plans and Programs for the 8th Fighter Wing at Kunsan Air Base where he advises the commander on operational planning and capabilities. He is also an advocate for sparking innovation across the wing via the base’s Be on the Lookout for Opportunity (BOLO) innovation cell and assesses emerging technologies for use across the Air Force as an AFWERX Technical Evaluator.

Prior to his current assignment, Jerry was the Vehicle Fleet Manager at Travis Air Force Base where he oversaw a 758-vehicle fleet valued at $148M. He focused on the paradigm shift toward electrification and autonomy and led initiatives to learn from Bay Area tech companies and incorporate new technologies into the Air Force fleet. He partnered with Tesla’s Service Center in Berkeley on an offsite for his maintenance team to learn about ways to streamline operations and oversaw the reward of a $1.5M Small Business Innovation Research grant to introduce robotics to fully automate tire replacement.

Jerry holds a B.S. in Unmanned Systems Applications from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. In his free time, he enjoys running, surfing, snowboarding and traveling around the world with his wife.

Learn To Win

Technical Sergeant Shaunet J. Williams is a Materiel Management Specialist, currently serving as Non Commissioned Officer in Charge of Customer Support.  She most recently served a special assignment as the Unit Deployment Manager (UDM), Flight Chief for Wing Logistics, while also filling the role as full-time Additional Duty First Sergeant, advising the commander on the health, wellness, discipline, career progression, professional development, and emergency movement for all unit personnel.

Sergeant Williams is the true meaning of “Quiet Professional” as she continues to advance in her career while simultaneously providing mentorship and guidance to others along the way.


Taylor Williams is an Evaluator Sensor Operator whose background spreads across the mission sets of Air Force Special Operations Command, specifically specializing in close air support with the 4th Special Operations Squadron. Taylor has honed his experience in the AC-130U/J Gunship with over 1,700 hours in support of Operation’s Inherent Resolve and Freedom’s Sentinel.

In his current role, he serves as lead of the tactics shop at the unit level providing education in combat techniques and doctrine to a 200-member squadron. He continues to look to the future, working with agencies such as Air Force Research Lab to develop a secure and efficient combat aircraft fleet totaling over $1 Billion. Taylor guides research and development in conjunction with supporting agencies in efforts to advance GPS denied navigation, surface to air threat recognition, operator ergonomics, and secure software/network design in aviation.

Taylor is a growing leader with excellent abilities to translate data at all levels of organizations. He is originally from New Orleans but resides in Florida with his girlfriend and puppy. In his free time, he loves to create music and learn photography. He is currently pursuing his D.Sc in Cybersecurity at Marymount University.