Fellowship Program
February 16, 2021

Shift’s Defense Ventures Program Announces First VC Cohort of 2021

Shift’s Defense Ventures Program, in partnership with the USAF’s innovation organization AFWERX,  is proud to announce the latest AFVentures Fellows and host companies of our Defense Ventures Program. This winter, 25 AFVentures Fellows will participate in our eight-week industry immersion experience that embeds active duty servicemembers and DoD Civilians at leading venture capital and technology companies across the United States. This program will offer the Fellows the opportunity to accelerate their career potential through engagement with the private sector, develop meaningful, enduring relationships with other participants as well as members of their host companies, gain a deeper understanding  of organizational methods, business models, technologies, and innovative ways to solve difficult problems and bring their innovation and experiential knowledge back to the DoD. 

Shift is thrilled to kick off our first cohort in 2021 with this group of talented members of the Department of Defense. Learn more about them and their host companies below, and go to shift.org/dvp to find out more about the Defense Ventures Program, participate, or apply!

Meet the DVP Fellows of Cohort 5

Capt Aaron Quick, Moonshots Capital, Contracting Officer, Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command. 

Capt Adrian V. Herrera, Major League Hacking, F-15E Instructor Aviator (Weapon Systems Officer) & Team Supervisor for the 494th Fighter Squadron, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England 

MAJ Alex Oliver, Lightspeed, Army Intelligence Officer, Defense Innovation Unit

COL Cedric D. Gaskin, Reef Technology, Army Logistician & Capabilities Development Strategist, Joint Staff J7, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

Lt Col Chris Bulla, ThreatQuotient, Lieutenant Colonel, US Air Force

Capt Chris Lowman, Palo Alto Networks, Information Technology Operations Officer, US Marine Corps Europe

Capt Chris Dylewski, Mindstrong, Air Force Pilot with the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base & Leader of ThunderBolt Spark Cell

Capt Cody “Flash” Deacon, Joby Aviation,  Air Force F-22 Instructor Pilot & Assistant Director of Operations, 94th Fighter Squadron 

Capt Connor McCubrey, Harpoon Ventures, Marine Corps Combat Engineer Officer

David Lang, Synack, HQ Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR) Design & Strategy Lead, Pentagon in Washington, DC

Capt Drew “Murph” Busbee, Everactive, Chief of Business Innovation, Atlas X, Space and Missile Systems Center 

Maj Dwight Rabe, Catapult Ventures, Chief of Aviation Safety Division, United States Air Forces Europe (USAFE) – Air Forces Africa (AFAFRICA)

MSgt James “J.R.” Mullis II, The Engine, Air Force Contracting Officer, 763d Enterprise Sourcing Squadron, Scott AFB, IL

Lt Colonel Joe Stallings, Refinery Ventures, Deputy Division Chief & Political-Military Affairs Strategist, Pentagon, Washington DC

Kathy Reid, Labelbox, Chief Innovation Officer, 96 Test Wing at Eglin Air Force Base 

Maj Kevin Rose, Moonshots Capital, Chief of Wing Innovation, McConnell Air Force Base 

Lt LeighAnn D’Andrea, Golden, Co-leader, Commando Spark Cell 

Matthew Reyburn, Palo Alto Networks, Lead Engineer, Cloud Hosted Enterprise Services (CHES)

Lt Col Nathan K. Chang, NEA, Disruptive Technology Deputy Team Lead, Air Force Futures, Pentagon, Washington D.C.

Capt Oliver Parsons, Harpoon Ventures, Founder & Leader of Air Force Gaming (AFG)

Dr. Peter Khooshabeh, Refinery Ventures, Regional Lead for ARL West, United States Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Corporate Research Laboratory

Polat Aydin, Labelbox, Chief of HW & SW License Management & Enterprise License Agreements Branch of Office of Deputy CIO

Lt Col Steve Marshall, Joby Aviation, Director of Innovation, United States Air Force Academy’s Cadet Wing, USAF

CAPT Tim Newton, Decisive Point, First Commanding Officer, Polar Security Cutter Project Resident Office, United States Coast Guard

Capt Zachary McColgan, Mercantile, Phoenix Spark Innovation Cell Deputy Chief & C-5M Instructor Pilot, 22nd Airlift Squadron, Travis Air Force Base

2021 DVP Cohort 5

Aaron Quick

Moonshots Capital

Captain Aaron Quick is a Contracting Officer in the United States Air Force and is currently working at Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command. Contracting Officers and Agreements Officers are the individuals that are legally allowed to enter the Government into a contract with an entity. Contracting Officers award and administer contracts that are guided by the Federal Acquisition Regulation while Agreements Officers are allowed to enter into contracts that are not guided by the Federal Acquisition Regulation. 

In his current role, Captain Quick is responsible for organizing, training and equipping Air Force Materiel Command’s 4,200 contracting professionals to execute over 57 billion dollars per fiscal year across twenty locations. Prior to his current position, Captain Quick was a Contracting Officer assigned to the Global Hawk Program Office where he planned, solicited, negotiated, awarded and administered contracts for the 12 billion dollar Global Hawk program. Captain Quick received his commission in 2014 as a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy with a B.S. in Political Science. In 2020 Captain Quick received his M.S. from Northeastern University in International Relations.

Captain Quick has also served as a Contracting Officer and Agreements Officer at United States Special Operations Command and as a Contracting Officer at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana. Captain Quick has also deployed in support of Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and DELIBERATE RESOLVE.

Adrian V. Herrera

Major League Hacking

Captain Adrian V. Herrera is an active duty F-15E Instructor Aviator (Weapon Systems Officer, or WSO - basically Goose on Top Gun) and Team Supervisor for the 494th Fighter Squadron stationed out of Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England. 

As a Team Supervisor, Capt Herrera develops and mentors a team of 14 fighter pilots and WSOs for their career and in preparation to fly in combat. As an F-15E Strike Eagle Instructor WSO, Captain Herrera instructs & executes a full array of higher level directed (POTUS & NATO) missions against high value targets across the world. 

Adrian received his engineering degree and EIT certificate from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 2008, and immediately joined the United States Air Force in 2010. From 2017-2019, Capt Herrera was accepted and entered in the Department of Defense Career Intermission Program, a program designed to increase retention in personnel across the Armed Forces. During this time, he received his Master of Public Administration at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California. His research emphasis was on Public Private Partnerships (PPP), Homeland Security and Public Policy, and International Public Diplomacy. He also spent his free time teaching financial literacy to first generation, low income college students - in order to bridge the generational wealth gap. In 2018, he accomplished his personal life goal of presenting a TEDx talk, where he discusses his experience living under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, link below. He returned to active duty and to the 494th Fighter Squadron in 2019. He is serving until June 2024. 

Captain Herrera accrued over 1000 flight hours, and boasts a distinguished combat record including more than 400 combat hours and more than 55 combat sorties in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE. He will be deploying in April 2021 to support a wide variety of operations in the Middle East.

Alex Oliver


Major Alex Oliver is an Army Intelligence Officer currently assigned to the Defense Innovation Unit, part of the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research & Engineering, in Mountain View, CA, where he works as a project manager, focused on autonomous maritime systems. Early in his career he worked in Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction policy and programs at the Pentagon. From 2010 to 2013, Alex served as an Infantry officer at the tactical level, leading maneuver forces directly, and from a supporting staff position. In 2013, Alex transitioned to the Military Intelligence career field, serving in a variety of analytical and leadership positions, including as the Director of Intelligence for a Joint Task Force. Alex has deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, and throughout West Africa. He holds graduate degrees from American University, and the National Intelligence University, and an undergraduate degree from the Virginia Military Institute.

Cedric D. Gaskin

Reef Technology

Colonel Cedric D. Gaskin is a career Army Logistician with extensive experience at all levels of logistics operations. He currently serves as a Capabilities Development Strategist on the Joint Staff J7 and is assigned to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). There he brings operational experience to the Adaptive Capabilities Office identifying concepts, technologies, and investment opportunities that impact the future of the joint force. Cedric successfully led Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion in Fort Drum, New York where he was responsible for manning, equipping, training readiness, deployability, and execution of full spectrum operations in Afghanistan. He has been selected and will assume command of one of the Army’s logistics brigades in the summer of 2022. While attending the Dwight D. Eisenhower School at the National Defense University, Cedric studied and analyzed the Aerospace Industry and key components of the supply chain as it pertains to the Defense Industrial Base and Department of Defense. In the summer of 2021, he will join the Army’s Office of Business Transformation.

Chris Bulla


Chris Bulla is a US Air Force lieutenant colonel with experience flying the world’s finest fighter jet, the F-15E Strike Eagle. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, he completed flight school in Florida and North Carolina and was lucky enough to be stationed in England for his first assignment. Chris followed that tour with several years in North Carolina where he continued to fly the F-15E while earning his master’s degree in International Affairs from the University of Oklahoma. An opportunity to help craft the US Air Force’s premiere air combat training exercise, RED FLAG, at Nellis AFB, Nevada, led to an assignment on the wing staff that highlighted the growing need for innovative thinking in military processes. He took those lessons learned to Eglin AFB, Florida, where he is currently stationed as the Director of Operations for the 68th Electronic Warfare Squadron.

Chris Lowman

Palo Alto Networks

Originally from Matthews, NC, Chris  Lowman graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2014 with a B.S. in International Relations. Since then, he has been serving as an Information Technology Officer in the Marine Corps, and is currently stationed abroad in Germany as the Marine Corps' I.T. Operations Officer for Europe. In his time in the Marines, Chris has supported tech-based operations across the United States, Europe, and Africa, and has been at the forefront of architecting technology networks and solutions between the United States and our NATO allies and partners for the past two and a half years. 

Chris’ professional passions include solving complex technology-based challenges with creative and innovative thinkers from around the world; if the problem hasn't been seen before, I want to be a part of the team to solve it! Outside of work, you can find him spending time with his wife and one and a half year old son, traveling the world, and reading books that challenge his own style of thinking.

Chris Dylewski


Air Force Captain Chris Dylewski is a pilot with the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix, AZ, where he works in the Commander’s Action Group, directly advising the Wing Commander of the largest fighter base in the world, and also leads the wing innovation unit: the ThunderBolt Spark Cell. He is a 2016 U.S. Air Force Academy Distinguished Graduate and letter-earner on the NCAA hockey team who received his Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School in 2018. His Master’s thesis focused on policy steps the DoD should take to prepare for the upcoming AI revolution. He has worked for the NORAD/USNORTHCOM Commander's Action Group, directly advising the 4-star Combatant Commander, and the policy division at U.S. Air Forces Europe. He has also worked on talent management and emerging battery technology supply chain risk analysis for the Defense Innovation Unit, consulted for the Department of Veteran’s Affairs on its digital experience, and consulted for British telecom BT on blockchain technology use cases. In his free time, Chris runs a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that brings mentorship resources to students from underprivileged areas through the vehicle of student-led community service projects.

Cody Deacon

Joby Aviation

Cody “Flash” Deacon is an Air Force F-22 instructor pilot at Langley Air Force Base, VA. He is currently serving in the 94th Fighter Squadron as Assistant Director of Operations, managing instruction of 53 pilots on $3.4 billion in assets. Cody is a combat pilot with over 700 hours in the F-22, including missions in support of Operation Spartan Shield and the Combined Defense of the Arabian Gulf. Cody's passion for flying and for bettering his fellow pilots is his driving motivation for becoming a Defense Ventures Fellow.

Cody is striving to minimize operational risk by increasing efficiency in product development timelines for emerging technologies and incorporating civilian business practices for retaining the most skilled professionals. Cody is a distinguished graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and has a MS in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Washington. He loves spending time with his wife and new daughter, traveling, and adventure sports.

Connor McCubrey

Harpoon Ventures

Captain Connor McCubrey is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and holds a Master’s of Arts in Security Studies from Georgetown University. As a Marine Corps Combat Engineer Officer, Connor has led demolition and construction teams ranging from thirty-five to two hundred individuals in Norway, Romania, Bulgaria, North Carolina, and California. Always seeking unique growth opportunities, Connor was selected to be a DoD Legislative Fellow in 2018 and found himself on Capitol Hill advising a United States Senator in accordance with the Senator’s duties on the Armed Services Committee. 

Currently, Connor serves as the Legislative Liaison for the Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration and is primarily responsible for communicating Marine Corps requirements to Congress and securing funding for the development of future warfighting capabilities – to include funding funneled to investments in emerging technologies. Per his growth mindset, Connor is also pursuing a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and participating in Shift.org’s Defense Ventures Program. He resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife Kelly and is particularly interested in how industry, DoD, and Congress can best collaborate to harness the full potential of the defense innovation ecosystem.

David Lang 


David Lang served over 20 years in the United States Air Force retiring as a Special Agent-in-Charge with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. He currently serves as the HQ Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR) Design and Strategy Lead at the Pentagon in Washington, DC. 

Prior to his current position, Mr. Lang served as the Washington DC Technical Lead for the NAVWAR Project Integration Office Information Warfare. Additional previous positions include Technical Director for Sensitive Compartmented and Controlled Access Program Networks, Technical Director and Chief Information Security Officer for Navy Business Systems, Executive Cybersecurity Advisor and Architect for the Navy’s Insider Threat Program, Cybersecurity Technical Coordinator for the Navy support team of the Department of Defense’s Joint Information Environment, and Director and Chief Security Officer of the Distributed Continuity Integrated Network – Top Secret Program Management Office.  Prior to joining the Navy team, Mr. Lang was the Director of Federal Security at Dell.  

Mr. Lang holds a Master of Science degree in Management Information Systems from Bowie State University, and a Post Master’s Professional degree in Education from Nova Southeastern University.

Drew Busbee


Drew “Murph” Busbee is the Chief of Business Innovation, Atlas X at the Space and Missile Systems Center located in Los Angeles, California. Murph’s role is to drive innovation and encourage a culture of innovation and intrapreneurship within SMC. 

Murph’s acquisition experience has been focused on innovation and connecting with emerging startups to deliver dual-use technology to the operator. He has experience in SBIR (Small Business Innovative Research), commercial accelerator programs, and has been a key member on Space Force Pitch Day and International Space Pitch Day teams. 

Beyond his acquisitions background Murph spent his early career as a Missile Operations Officer at F.E Warren Air Force Base, culminating in a role as an Assistant Flight Commander overseeing squadron scheduling of 60 operators. Outside of work Murph has been heavily involved in athletics and can usually be found in the gym or on the rugby field. Murph currently serves as the captain for the Air Force Ruby Team and is a guest coach for Audrey Kell high School.

Dwight Rabe

Catapult Ventures

Dwight Rabe is a commissioned officer and pilot in the United States Air Force. Dwight is currently assigned to United States Air Forces Europe (USAFE) – Air Forces Africa (AFAFRICA) as the Chief of Aviation Safety Division. In this role he leads a six-member team to advise aviation safety and risk management for nine Air Force Wings operating across Europe and Africa. In 2020, Dwight completed two safety investigation boards, negotiated an interagency agreement hiring the Command’s first biologist to manage wildlife hazards at forward sites, and instructed European military students utilizing the Air Force’s first ever virtual reality aviation crash lab, which he helped to develop. Dwight is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from USAFA, and a Master of Arts in Diplomacy from Norwich University. A pilot with over 2800 hours, he completed the USAF undergraduate pilot training course and has flown multiple aircraft including the C-130 E/H. Before moving to Europe, Dwight spent a year deployed to the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan. Major Dwight Rabe and his wife Anna reside in Germany. He is an avid trail runner and enjoys exploring the countryside.

James Mullis II

The Engine

MSgt James “J.R.” Mullis II serves as an Air Force Contracting Officer assigned to the 763d Enterprise Sourcing Squadron, Scott AFB, IL. He is currently assigned to a 2-person operating location on Pope Army Airfield, Ft Bragg, NC. 

For the past year he has also been serving as a Contracting Officer for the DoD’s software factory Platform One. In that position he has specialized in leveraging the SBIR program to issue many direct to phase-3 contracts. He was integral to Platform One winning the DoD’s David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Team and the DoD’s Software Innovation Team of the Year. Over the same period of time, he was recognized as a member of the Department of Air Force Acquisition COVID-19 Taskforce (DAF ACT) team, winning the 2020 Flexibility in Contracting Award.

Joe Stallings

Refinery Ventures

Lieutenant Colonel Joe Stallings is Deputy Division Chief and Political-Military Affairs Strategist, Pentagon, Washington DC, where he executes Air Staff international engagements and inter-service Warfighter Talks. 

Joe is an Evaluator Pilot with 3,400+ hours flying C-130 tactical airlift and T-6A trainer aircraft, several combat deployments, and experience leading air mobility in East Africa. At Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, he helped launch grassroots efforts to transform pilot training enterprise, spark industry collaboration, and integrate immersive technologies (virtual reality & 360-degree video) to increase availability of modern simulation. He championed in-house software development education/pipelines to deliver next-generation solutions for aviation training and other mission areas. 

Lt Col Stallings accomplished proposal evaluations for AFWERX’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), COVID-19 response and open innovation topics. Passionate about improving defense innovation, leveraging startups and small businesses, and enabling collaboration to tackle common challenges, he completed a Specialization in Design Thinking & Innovation certificate from UVA-Darden, pursued Scrum and process improvement certifications, and finished courses on agile practices, supply chain management, software development and Robotic Process Automation. Lt Col Stallings strives to inspire, connect, and empower other defense innovators with tools necessary to accelerate delivery timelines with better products and improved warfighter capabilities.

Kathy Reid


Kathy Reid is the Chief Innovation Officer for the 96 Test Wing at Eglin Air Force Base. She has developed an innovation program that enables 9,800 military, civilian and contractor personnel to increase lethality and readiness for the 96 Test Wing’s test and evaluation, base operations and services support missions. She holds 24 years experience in systems/software engineering support in industry and 10+ years experience as a computer scientist/engineer civil servant.

She spent 24 years as a DoD contractor providing systems and software engineering support as a small business employee. She maintained certifications in Program Management Professional (PMP), Capability Maturity Model Integration SCAMPI Lead Appraiser and CMMI Introduction to Development Instructor. In 2009, she accepted a civil service position as a computer scientist and moved into an engineering position in 2019. She pioneered a grassroots, transformational approach by combining the discipline of continuous process improvement with the creativity of innovation. She mentors over 35 Spark cells across the continents and serves as the benchmark for igniting Air Force innovations. Her program has 30 open innovations with 43 innovations pending participation in the Million $$ Day event. Ms Reid is married with 3 sons.

Kevin Rose

Moonshots Capital

Kevin Rose is the Chief of Wing Innovation at McConnell Air Force Base. He is responsible for training over 5,000 Total Force Airmen in innovative processes and rapid prototyping. Originally from Minnetonka, Minnesota, Kevin graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Middle Eastern Politics and Arabic. After college he attended pilot training at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma. Upon graduating from flight school, Kevin went on to fly the RC-135 Rivet Joint at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.

Wanting to avoid hills of any kind and stay within one hour of Interstate 35 for his entire career, he then moved to Wichita, Kansas to fly the Air Force’s newest tanker, the KC-46! Out of the “office” you can find him exploring the country with his wife and dogs living the #VanLife. Kevin is driven both personally and professionally by sustainability and restoring the Earth’s natural habitats.

LeighAnn D’Andrea


Lt. LeighAnn D’Andrea is a Massachusetts native who earned her commission from the University of Massachusetts Amherst Air Force ROTC detachment, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. 

Following commissioning, she delayed her entry to Active Duty to pursue a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering while researching topics related to drinking water quality and citizens science. Her best experience during graduate school was working as a teaching assistant, because she got to share her passion for water quality with students. Following graduation, she was assigned to the 27th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico. She worked in project programming where her and her team developed the construction priority list in support of the $1.3B installation development plan. 

LeighAnn co-leads the Commando Spark Cell as an additional duty where she discovers the importance of supporting people who are trying to implement innovation in their work centers.

Matthew Reyburn

Palo Alto Networks

Matthew Reyburn is currently serving as the Lead Engineer for the Cloud Hosted Enterprise Services (CHES) program which provides the nearly 750,000 Air Force military, civilian, and contractor personnel with Microsoft cloud-based products. He is responsible for modernizing the connections, services, and security of the Air Force’s Office 365 and Azure tenants. 

Over his career Matthew Reyburn has worked on the F-16, F-22, F-35, and GBSD programs as a Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) Special Programs Systems Engineer. He helped, in part, to bring agile software development and digital engineering practices onto those programs. 

He earned his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) then went on to graduate from the Naval War College earning a Masters in Defense and Strategic Studies. While at NWC he was part of the Gravely Group, an advanced research program established to advance the study of emerging technology and military innovation, and the Cyber & Innovation Policy Institute (CIPI), established as the hub for cyber operation and strategy research. He also published an article in the US Naval Institute’s Proceedings Magazine titled Programmable Living Matter. Matthew Reyburn is a self-described generalist and is driven to learn in everything he does.

Nathan K. Chang


Lieutenant Colonel Nathan K. Chang currently serves as the Disruptive Technology Deputy Team Lead in Air Force Futures, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Pentagon, Washington D.C. He leads a team of technologists and strategists that discovers technology for the Air Force’s future force design and Science & Technology (S&T) priorities. Lt. Col. Chang connects industry, innovation hubs, research labs, academia, and warfighters to incubate technology-based opportunities. 

Lieutenant Colonel Chang received his commission through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program at University of Washington in Seattle, WA. He has served in roles spanning across space acquisitions and operations. As a developmental engineer, he led the transition of the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) Command and Control systems. Lt Col Chang was the program manager for several high-profile satellite launches at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to include: Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) and Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP). He’s also served as the Lead Mission Director at one of the National Reconnaissance Office’s premier satellite operation centers. Prior to his current position, Lt Col Chang was a student at the Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, AL.

Oliver Parsons

Harpoon Ventures

Oliver Parsons is an authentic operator, entrepreneur and visionary with a knack for building high-performance teams to achieve breakout success. He is the founder and leader of Air Force Gaming (AFG), the premier gaming/esports organization that fosters resiliency and provides the Department of the Air Force agile and expansive programming across esports and entertainment, global community development, branding and marketing, and technology. 

Oliver began his Air Force Career as a Nuclear Operations Officer. Over the course of eight years and three Air Force bases, he performed 2K+ hours of evaluations, 2.5K+ hours of instruction, and various leadership positions. Now, at Joint Base San Antonio, Oliver is the Deputy Chief of Fitness, Esports/Sports, Readiness, and the leader of AFG. 

As a dynamic intrepreneur and proven leader, Oliver founded the grassroots organization, AFG, in 2019. By being driven and focused, he and his small team of Airmen propelled AFG from being a collective group of Airmen/Guardians into the official, multimillion dollar funded, gaming hub, for both the Air Force and Space Force. As a first of its kind organization, AFG has become a beacon of light for service members and civilians alike.

Peter Khooshabeh

Refinery Ventures

Peter Khooshabeh is the regional lead for ARL West, which is the California hub for the United States Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s corporate research laboratory. As the first Open Campus hub for the Army in the West Coast region started in 2016, ARL West focuses on human and information interaction research that provides fundamental knowledge and operationalizes science towards new warfighter capabilities, such as augmented and virtual reality interfaces and novel visualizations. 

Dr. Khooshabeh oversees the daily operation of a combination of 40 government civilians and contractors, including students, postdoctoral fellows, and visiting researchers. Prior to leading ARL West, he was a team leader and research psychologist in the ARL Human Research and Engineering Directorate, embedded as a field office within the Army’s Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) at the University of Southern California since 2010.

Polat Aydin


Polat Aydin serves as the Chief of HW & SW License Management & Enterprise License Agreements Branch of Office of Deputy CIO, Air Force. He oversees management and accountability of $2B IT assets and is responsible for Air Force’s Asset Management policy. As the Air Force SME, he oversees negotiations and execution of Air Force’s $1.3B Enterprise Agreement contracts with largest SW and HW vendors. Additionally he is Air Force’s IT  Financial Audit Assessable Unit lead, implementing polices and processes for full IT cost accountability SW and HW investments as well as providing direct support to Air Force’s IT portfolio including the IT investment strategy.   

Mr. Aydin began his civil service career in 2005 as an Air Force intern. Over the years, he broadened his career by working for the Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Programs and Headquarters Chief Information Office focusing on policy and process improvements through IT optimization. Prior to his current position, he performed duties in the Army’s CIO Office as IT Financial Audit lead, implementing DOD’s first ever financial processes and policies for IT cost accountability.   EDUCATION 2002 Bachelor of Arts, International Studies with Minor in Business Administration, University of South Florida 2004 Master of Public Administration (MPA), University of South Florida.

Steve Marshall

Joby Aviation

Lt Col Steve Marshall currently serves as the Director of Innovation for the United States Air Force Academy’s Cadet Wing. He most recently served as Director of the USAFA Commander's Action Group, where he advised senior leaders on policy, drove the integration of Space Force, and helped lead COVID response. 

A graduate of USAFA, Lt Col Marshall earned MAs in History and International Relations from American Military University and his Masters in Decision Making and Planning from the Naval Postgraduate School. 

As an evaluator pilot with over 3900 hours in the C-130, KC-135, T-34, C-12, and T-53 aircraft, he deployed four times in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and Inherent Resolve, most recently serving as the Deputy Commander for a deployed Operations Group. Prior to joining the faculty at USAFA, Lt Col Marshall served as a defense attaché to the Kingdom of Thailand, where he loved working with our oldest ally in Asia. A native of Ohio, Lt Col Marshall now enjoys spending time with his wife, Kathleen, and five children. He also volunteers his time as an innovation coach for Project Mercury, an Air Force program teaching innovation methodology to all ranks while solving real world problems.

Tim Newton

Decisive Point

Captain Tim Newton is the first Commanding Officer of the Polar Security Cutter Project Resident Office. As the lead production representative at the shipbuilder’s facility, he supervises the design and construction of the most complex vessel the Coast Guard has ever built. 

Captain Newton has nine years of engineering and operational experience at sea, most recently as Commanding Officer of Coast Guard Cutter RELIANCE. Between afloat assignments, he served at Coast Guard Headquarters, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), the U.S. European Command, and the White House. 

Captain Newton has a BS in Mechanical Engineering, an MS in Naval Architecture and a Master of Business Administration. He is a licensed Master Mariner, a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and a DHS Level III Program Manager. He is a designated Coast Guard Cutterman, an Honorary Chief and has been awarded over two dozen personal, unit, campaign and service awards including the Defense Superior Service Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster and the Vice Presidential Service Badge. Captain Newton and his wife, Maryse, reside in York, Maine with their sons Bradford and Charlie, yellow lab Holden and Bean the cat. Their daughter, Sophia, is a sophomore at the University of Michigan.

Zachary McColgan


Captain Zachary McColgan is the Phoenix Spark Innovation Cell Deputy Chief and a C-5M Instructor pilot in the 22nd Airlift Squadron at Travis Air Force Base. In his current position, he works with a team of mission focused problem solvers who connect people and solutions to the war-fighter across the Industry. He attended the University of Virginia and majored in Civil & Environmental Engineering and is actively working on receiving his Masters of Business Administration in Finance from Columbia Southern University.

Shift Team

Shift’s Defense Ventures Program is a six-week long upskilling fellowship that identifies emerging innovators from the U.S. military and facilitates immersive tech industry experiences at venture capital firms, incubators and startups across the United States.

Companies who host a fellow gain profound insight into the mission of the Department of Defense and how their business could generate revenue opportunities within the federal marketplace, all while forging enduring relationships with the military service members they host. In 2020, Shift placed 72 fellows at 42 companies and plans to expand to 200 fellows in 2021.

Mike Slagh

Founder & CEO

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

VP Growth

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.

Prior to Shift, Christopher 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 School of Public and International Affairs, and the United States National Intelligence University.

Alex Cabrera 

Program Manager

Alex joins Shift.org as the Program Manager of the Defense Ventures Program. Working alongside some of the sharpest and dedicated minds in the tech scene, Alex joins a team in charge of building out the premiere career development platform for DoD service members as they journey into the innovative world of tech and venture capital.

Prior to joining Shift.org, Alex was a Management Consultant at Accenture specialized in guiding tech firms through organizational development and digital transformation through the use of effective change management, growth hacking strategies, and leadership development. Prior to joining Accenture, Alex served in the US Marine Corps for 5 years as Finance Officer and was Honorably Discharged as a Captain.

Alex holds an MBA from the University of San Francisco, is a current graduate student at Golden Gate University in their Master of Arts Industrial Organizational Psychology Program, and is in the application selection process of becoming a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Southern California. 

Alex has dabbled in entrepreneurship, real estate ventures, financial retirement advising, international cash management, music composition, and competitive soccer playing/coaching.

Maria Tranquilli

Community Director

Maria is an innovator, social entrepreneur and community expert with over 15 years experience driving global programming and community development to uplift underserved people from the trenches of multi-million dollar companies. 

As Community Director at Shift, Maria is responsible for leading community impact for Defense Ventures, and designing and piloting new community programs and products  within Defense Ventures to further Shift’s impact mission providing best-in-class industry immersion upskilling for US MIlitary employees and veterans. 

Prior to working at Shift, Maria directed global programs at Nasdaq, and was on the founding startup teams of both The Future Project and AltSchool. She works at the nexus of community, human possibility design and social impact.

Chloe Chhuop

Program Coordinator

Chloe Chhuop is a Defense Ventures Program Coordinator at Shift. Before joining Shift, Chloe spent nine years of service in our United States Navy. As a Navy recruiter, she applied sales and business development skills to develop a robust pipeline of leads to exceeding monthly goals. During her time in the service, she executed the completion of her Human Resource Management degree. Her exceptional operational skills helped drive multiple diverse teams to complete maintenance, repair, and inspection projects of over millions of dollars in equipment.

She transitioned into Shift.org where her patriotism continues to live on - impacting everyone from our Department of Defense by educating and supporting Shift's program and career opportunities to our men and women in uniform no matter when one transition from the service to how they can continue upskilling their careers and introducing top-performing DoD personnel to innovation through our Defense Ventures Program. Chloe enjoys quality time with her two chow chows, Kalel and Lana, and if you ever find yourself being locked out of your home/safes she is an experienced locksmith.

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