Mr. Avellan is AST’s Chairman, founder and Chief Executive Officer since its inception in 2017. Prior to founding AST, Mr. Avellan served as the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Emerging Markets Communications (EMC), a satellite-based communications services provider to maritime and other mobility markets, from 2000 until its sale for $550 million in July 2016. Mr. Avellan has over 25 years of success in the space industry and is an inventor on 24 U.S. patents. He was the recipient of the Satellite Transaction of the Year award by Euroconsult in 2015 and was named Satellite Teleport Executive of the Year in 2017. A proud United States citizen, Mr. Avellan resides in Florida with his family.
Sean Wallace brings decades of diverse financial experience across emerging markets, capital markets and international telecommunications operations to AST SpaceMobile’s executive team. Prior to joining AST, he served as Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer for Cogent Communications, a position he has held since May 2020. Wallace has over 30 years of experience in finance, telecom banking and other public company management positions. Wallace was an investor and operator of industrial real estate projects from 2015 to 2020. From 2008 to 2015, he was a senior manager at Standard Chartered Bank, where he led their Corporate Finance and Wholesale Origination efforts on a global basis. In addition, from 1998 to 2007, he worked at J.P. Morgan, where his roles included being Co-Head of their Investment Banking operations in the Asia Pacific region as well as leading their North American Telecom Banking efforts.
Dr. Huiwen Yao brings 30+ years’ successful experience in engineering team building and management, system architecture, research and technology development and program execution in communications satellites.
Previously, he was the Senior Director of Commercial Payload/RF Engineering in the Space Systems Group of Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems (previously Orbital ATK). He was a major contributor to the success of the commercial satellite business of Orbital/Orbital ATK with more than 40 GEO communications satellites delivered.
Dr. Yao is the author of more than 55 technical papers and a book chapter in the fields of communications systems, antennas, microwave/RF components and EM simulations/CAD. He has been granted two U.S. patents. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from Beijing Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in electronic physics from the University of Maryland.
Mr. Heller has over twenty years of public company experience. Prior to joining AST, he served as General Counsel of Castle Brands Inc., a publicly-traded spirits company, until its sale to Pernod Ricard, and as Senior Vice President – Business and Legal Affairs of Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services, a publicly-traded financial services company, until its sale to a portfolio company of Reverence Capital Partners. He joined Ladenburg from AOL Latin America. Previously, Mr. Heller was a Partner in the Corporate and Intellectual Property Departments at the Steel Hector & Davis law firm (now Squire Patton Boggs) in Miami, Florida. Earlier in his career, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable James Lawrence King of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Mr. Heller received his J.D., cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center, where he was Articles Editor of the Georgetown Law Journal, and his bachelor of science degree from Northwestern University. He is admitted to practice law in New York and Florida. Mr. Heller has been active in a number of civic and charitable pursuits.
Mr. Wisniewski oversees corporate development, treasury, investor relations and public relations. Previously, Mr. Wisniewski was Managing Director of Technology, Media & Telecommunications Investment Banking at Barclays, advising clients on raising capital and M&A for over a decade. While at Barclays, he advised AST SpaceMobile on the $110 million private investment in 2019 and the recently closed business combination transaction, which raised $462 million in gross proceeds. Earlier in his career he was a management consultant focused on supplier development and a mechanical design engineer. Mr. Wisniewski received a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Dartmouth College and a Masters in Business Administration from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Ken has over 32 years’ experience in defense aviation and radar technologies with key leadership roles in operations, engineering and program management.
Previously, he held key positions for Aerojet Rocketdyne, L-3 Communications and Northrop Grumman in program, operations and engineering management for programs such as the B-2 Spirit, 737 AEW&C (Wedgetail), EA-18G Growler and a variety of helicopter and surveillance platforms.
Ken earned a B.S. in manufacturing engineering from Brigham Young University in Utah.
Shanti Gupta serves as AST SpaceMobile’s Chief Accounting Officer responsible for the company’s financial operations, corporate accounting, external reporting, and financial planning and analytics. He brings more than 20 years of global finance and accounting experience to his role on AST SpaceMobile’s leadership team. Over his career, he has advised several Fortune 500 and private companies in multiple industries on M&A transactions ranging from $100 million to $80 billion, IPO, financial reporting, technical accounting, finance transformation, integrations, and policy and governance. Before joining AST, Shanti worked with Ernst & Young in New York from 2014, where he was a Partner and Managing Director in the Financial Accounting Advisory Services. Previously, he has worked with Deloitte & Touche in New York and KPMG in India.
Shanti earned his Bachelor of Commerce (Honors) from Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University, India, and is a licensed Certified Public Accountant. He is also a Chartered Accountant from The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
Roy brings over twenty years of senior-level experience in the communication and semiconductor industries. He has vast experience in silicon development and communication chipset with a strong background in the automotive market, broadband communication, VoIP, and wireless backhaul. Prior to AST, Roy managed Intel’s automotive radar system and architecture within the Automotive business unit. Before that, as VP of Research and Development at SatixFy, he led multidisciplinary groups during the company’s first Satcom product rollout and managed Ceragon Networks Digital, including Mix Signal development.
Roy started his professional career at Texas Instruments, where he led various projects at the DSPS group.
Roy holds a B.Sc. in Communication Engineering from Ben Gurion University and a degree from the Recanati Graduate School of Business Administration at Tel Aviv University.
Dr. Mark McLaren has over 30 years of highly successful spacecraft industry experience and over a decade in satellite program leadership. He brings a strong technical background in control systems design and analysis, and software and spacecraft systems engineering.
Previously, he was an Executive Director, Program Manager at Maxar (previously Space Systems Loral, SSL), where he led four large geostationary communications satellite programs from inception through launch.
He is the author of 17 papers, presentations, and reports published in various refereed journals, conference proceedings and NASA Technical Reports in the fields of control systems design, control-structure optimization and numerical methods in engineering design and analysis. He has been granted two U.S. patents.
Dr. McLaren received a BSc (Hons) in physics from Massey University in New Zealand, plus M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of Cincinnati.
Sriram brings a 30-year successful track record of IP creation and product design for the global telecommunications markets. He has authored 42 peer-reviewed journal and conference publications in an array of digital-signal-processing applications, including: mobility, satellite communications, modem, VLSI and instrumentation signal processing.
A named inventor on 21 U.S. and European patents, Sriram was a fellow of the Center of Advanced Engineering Study at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He earned his B.Tech and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Dr. Raymond J. Sedwick is a Keystone Associate Professor and the Director of the Space Power and Propulsion Laboratory in the Aerospace Engineering Department at the University of Maryland. His research interests broadly include in-space power generation and propulsion, formation flight technologies and novel space architectures.
He is an associate fellow of the AIAA, a NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts fellow, an associate editor of the AIAA Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, and currently serves as chair of the AIAA Nuclear and Future Flight Technical Committee. Dr. Sedwick received a B.S. in aerospace engineering from Penn State University and an M.S. and Ph.D. from the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Chris brings over 26 years of senior-level experience in the satellite and telecommunications industry. Most recently, he was executive vice president and GM of commercial solutions for Globecomm where he served as business unit leader for satellite services across all commercial vertical market segments.
Prior, Ivory served as vice president of land solutions for Global Eagle and senior vice president of government, enterprise and channel partners for EMC. He also held leadership positions with several other telecom companies in the U.S., Mexico and Argentina. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York at Courtland and also studied at Universidad de Oviedo in Spain.
Mr. Kuester holds MS and BS degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park. He has over 30 years of aerospace and defense experience primarily with Northrop Grumman Corporation in Redondo Beach, CA fielding a variety of earth observation, ISR, and communications space systems for US government customers. He has held roles of increasing responsibility including Spacecraft Systems Engineer, Mission Systems Engineering Department Manager, and DSP Program Manager before culminating in his executive role as Director of Special Programs. He now serves as the Chief Engineer and VP of Systems Engineering at AST SpaceMobile.