Chris is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Astra. Previously, Chris founded several tech start-ups and served as the Chief Technology Officer of NASA, where he introduced new technologies into America’s space program and founded OpenStack, the largest and fastest growing open source project in history. While at NASA, Chris worked at the White House to develop the cloud strategy for the United States.
Chris has been recognized in the Silicon Valley Business Journal "40 under 40," the CNBC Disruptor 50 list, and received the prestigious "Federal 100" award for his service at NASA.
Adam leads Astra’s technology and long-term product strategy. Before Astra, he founded Ventions and invented miniature rocket technologies in partnership with NASA and DARPA. Adam has a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from MIT where his research culminated in the creation of the world’s smallest liquid-cooled chemical rocket engine.
Scott Stanford has been focused on the internet/technology sector for over 25 years as an advisor, operator, and investor. Prior to founding ACME in 2018, he was a co-founder of Sherpa Capital.
Scott co-headed Goldman Sachs’s Global Internet Investment Banking business in San Francisco for 12 years where he advised clients on $80 billion of equity and debt financings and strategic transactions and was deeply involved in investments in technology-enabled companies such as Facebook, Uber, DST/Mail.ru, Demand Media, LinkedIn, Palantir, iCrossing, and Square. His client coverage responsibility included Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Groupon, Zillow, Airbnb, Uber, and many other established and emerging technology-enabled companies.
Prior to rejoining Goldman in 2004, Scott was an early employee of LookSmart, helping build the company from a start-up in 1999 to a publicly traded NASDAQ company. From 1996 to 1998, while earning his MBA, Scott coded prototype applications for two startup ideas, one focusing on community service and the other focusing on automating and prototyping core financial analyses. He spent a summer during business school as an Associate at General Atlantic Partners focused on technology venture capital. Prior to business school, Scott was a Financial Analyst with Goldman Sachs’s Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Investment Banking Group. He began his Goldman career in the Fixed Income Group from 1993 to 1995 in New York. During this time, he developed software applications as well as structured and marketed Interest Rate Swaps and Options for the firm’s municipal clients.
Scott grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. As an early adopter of technology, he taught himself to code at age 13, built and ran a dial-up BBS, taught computer courses, started a personal computer consulting business, and developed a robotics exhibit for the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. Scott also earned his Pilot’s License at the age of 17. Scott received his A.B. with Honors from Harvard College (Social Studies) and M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Michael Lehman has served as one of our directors since June, 2021. Mr. Lehman has also served the University of Wisconsin in various capacities since March 2016, currently as Interim Chief Operating Officer of the Wisconsin School of Business, and previously as Special Advisor to the Chancellor, Interim Vice Provost for Information Technology, Chief Information Officer and Interim Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration. He is also currently on the Board of MGIC Investment Corp. and has served in that role since 2001. He had previously been a consultant (2014-2016); Interim Chief Financial Officer at Ciber Inc., a global information technology company (2013-2014); Chief Financial Officer of Arista Networks, a cloud networking firm (2012-2013); and Chief Financial Officer of Palo Alto Networks, a network security firm (2010-2012). Earlier in his career, he was the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Sun Microsystems, Inc., a provider of computer systems and professional support services. Mr. Lehman is qualified to serve as one of our directors due to his financial and accounting knowledge gained through his service as chief financial officer of a large, multinational public company; his skills in addressing the range of financial issues facing a large company with complex operations; his senior executive and operational experience; as well as his technology and cybersecurity experience.
Michèle Flournoy is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of WestExec Advisors, and a Co-Founder, former Chief Executive Officer, and now Chair of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).
Michèle served as the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from February 2009 to February 2012. She was the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense in the formulation of national security and defense policy, oversight of military plans and operations, and in National Security Council deliberations. She led the development of the Department of Defense’s 2012 Strategic Guidance and represented the Department in dozens of foreign engagements, in the media and before Congress.
Prior to confirmation, Michèle co-led President Obama’s transition team at the Defense Department.
In January 2007, Michèle co-founded CNAS, a bipartisan think tank dedicated to developing strong, pragmatic and principled national security policies. She served as CNAS’ President until 2009, and returned as CEO in 2014. In 2017, she co-founded WestExec Advisors, a strategic advisory firm.
Previously, she was senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies for several years and, prior to that, a distinguished research professor at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University (NDU).
In the mid-1990s, she served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Threat Reduction and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy.
Michèle is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including: the American Red Cross Exceptional Service Award in 2016; the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service in 1998, 2011, and 2012; the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Award in 2000 and 2012; the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service in 1996; and CARE’s Global Peace, Development and Security Award in 2019. She has edited several books and authored dozens of reports and articles on a broad range of defense and national security issues. Michèle appears frequently in national and international media, including CNN’s State of the Union, ABC’s This Week, NBC’s Meet the Press, BBC News, NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered and PBS’ News Hour, and is frequently quoted in top tier newspapers.
Michèle serves on the boards of CNAS, Booz Allen Hamilton, Amida Technology Solutions, The Mission Continues, and CARE. She serves on the advisory boards of The Leadership Council for Women in National Security, Sesame Workshop, Intel, and PIMCO. She is a Senior Fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affair, a current member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Aspen Strategy Group, and a former member of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, the CIA Director’s External Advisory Board, and the Defense Policy Board.
Michèle earned a bachelor’s degree in social studies from Harvard University and a master’s degree in international relations from Balliol College, Oxford University, where she was a Newton-Tatum scholar.
Lisa Nelson is an accomplished finance and business development executive with nearly 25 years of global operating experience across the technology, software and financial services industries. Lisa’s experience spans companies of all sizes - from early-stage, high-growth startups to mature, multi-national corporations. She’s well known for her entrepreneurial and strategic leadership, ability to successfully manage risks in complex environments and her ability to lead through growth and change.
Lisa’s breadth and depth of experience has rooted her as a strategic and operationally-focused finance expert and business leader. Lisa currently serves as board director and strategic advisor to a variety of organizations around the world including venture capital funds and early-stage tech startups. Prior to this, Lisa spent almost 15 years at Microsoft where she co-founded the company’s first venture fund, M12. Under Lisa’s leadership, M12 became one of the most active corporate funds in North America. While at Microsoft, Lisa also held executive roles across investor relations, corporate accounting, finance operations and business development. Prior to Microsoft, Lisa worked in financial services in the UK and in public accounting in the US and Australia. Lisa is a Certified Public Accountant.
Lisa’s professional experience and personal passions have taken her to over 90 countries. She has lived and worked in Australia, Europe, the Middle East, North America and SE Asia. These experiences, combined with her Asian Pacific heritage, have given her a truly global perspective. She currently resides in Seattle, Washington.