Originally founded by students at Carnegie Mellon's Tepper School of Business, STARS now holds an interdisciplinary focus aimed at helping students in business, engineering, robotics, computer science, and other fields to find opportunities and cultivate relationships in the growing commercial space industry. 

 

We believe the industry will see rapid expansion in the years to come. While the commercial space industry is primarily comprised of a vast array of satellite technologies that have transformed modern life, from GPS and telecommunications to weather prediction and surveillance, the next phase of the space economy has already begun.  This era will be brightly marked by commercial successes in launch,  low-earth orbit, private landings on the lunar surface, and manned missions to the international space station and beyond.

The age of the nation-state monopoly on human spaceflight is quickly coming to a close. The growth of the space economy will not be achieved by governments alone, but through public-private partnerships that provide enhanced service to state and commercial customers.  Our future in space requires a new generation of innovative business and technical leaders with the skills to make space operations more profitable, more effective, and more accessible, all while maintaining the utmost standards of safety. STARS exists to find those leaders and connect them with companies and resources that will help them excel.

BOARD MEMBERS

Ben Fleming

President

Ben has a BS in Operations Research from Cornell University. He has over a decade of experience in the Army planning and managing operations from the tactical to the strategic level. While in the Army he learned to establish ground stations to communicate through geostationary satellites to provide voice and data communications in remote locations across the globe. Ben is part of the Entrepreneurship track and is also concentrating in Operations, Strategy, Business Technologies, Finance, and Marketing. Ben wants to be on the leading edge of the commercialization of space and help to take humanity to the next level.

Hidetaka Imanishi

Co-Executive Vice President and Director of International Initiatives

Hidetaka is from Japan and majored in Economics at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo. After graduation, he worked for a Japanese manufacturer. He managed the supply chain of HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) products for 4 years and developed business strategies for HVAC products for 2 years. At Tepper, he is focusing his study in the areas of Business Technologies, Finance, Marketing, and Strategy. His sponsoring company is also strongly committed to international space development and satellite construction. He is interested in the progress of space technology for various business opportunities, such as self-driving cars.

Kris Grambow

Co-Executive Vice President and Head of Innovation Challenges

Kris grew up in Portland, OR. He studied international business at George Washington University, graduating with a BBA in 2014. Before coming to Tepper, Kris worked in Washington, DC as a management consultant with a focus on supply chain and operations consulting. While living in Washington, DC, Kris was fortunate enough to be able to attend a session where Neil Armstrong testified before congress on the importance of US leadership in space. Kris is concentrating in Operations Management and Business Technologies. Kris has a passion for the use of emerging technologies to improve supply chain operations. In his free time Kris loves cooking, exploring new restaurants, and hiking.

Kristina Nikiforova

VP Of Corporate Interactions

Kristina has a B.A. in International Relations from SUNY Geneseo and an M.A. in Public Administration from the University of Pittsburgh. She has a decade of experience spanning nonprofits, startups, project management and consulting. For the past five years, she managed regulatory strategy and permitting for over 200 miles of energy infrastructure projects. Kristina is part of the Energy Business Track and is pursuing concentrations in strategy and finance. She is part of the due diligence team at a regional angel fund and is always on the lookout for the next big idea. Her interests lie in new technologies in space and energy that push us forward.

James Howard

VP of Education and Remote Engagement

James graduated from Texas A&M in 2010 with a BS in Engineering Technology, after which he worked as an engineer and manager manufacturing industrial equipment in Houston, TX. His work was primarily focused on projects for customers in chemical processing, nuclear, and oil/gas, and afforded opportunities to work on test and launch equipment for ULA, SpaceX, and NASA. He currently works as a product development consultant in Houston while attending Tepper’s part-time online hybrid program. His focus is on entrepreneurship, strategy, and operations. James believes that the coming industrialization of space will lead the next technological revolution.

John Warner

Social Chair and VP of Local Engagement

John graduated from Penn State in 2017 with a BS in Marketing and minor in International Business. Upon graduation, John worked in a small digital marketing agency before taking a Marketing Analyst Role at Thermo Fisher Scientific. His focus was digital marketing and analytics. While studying for his MBA, John became a technology product manager at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Pittsburgh. His work is primarily focused on optimizing labor allocation using technology solutions.

© 2020 STARS at Carnegie Mellon University

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