What You Didn't Know About Eric Stallmer
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Title: President, Commercial Spaceflight Federation
Association: 52 members, including commercial space companies and research universities and their commercialization programs.
Recruit members: A lot of them came to us early on. And we also go out to companies we think we could help. It’s not a hard sell. Every day you hear of a new company, and there are a lot of members we don’t have yet that should be members.
Board and meetings: The board is 18 people that meet every March and September. We also have a six-member executive committee that makes the month-to-month decisions and is elected every two years. We never have a shortage of people who want to serve on either the board or the executive committee.
Largest revenue generator: 90% comes from membership dues. The rest comes from conferences and contributions from people with an interest in commercial space.
Biggest challenges: Understanding where the government wants to go with space and how it could impact our commercial companies. We want the government to let us proceed and walk the journey with us as opposed to isolating our industry. We have a great working relationship with government; they look to us for input and contributions on how best to move the industry forward. But another challenge is getting 52 companies to agree on how to move the industry forward.
Current projects: We’re excited about the federal government using more commercial applications. Two big programs with a huge impact on industry are the commercial cargo program and the commercial crew program. Commercial companies are now resupplying the International Space Station. NASA is also now using commercial companies to bring astronauts to the ISS rather than using Russian launch vehicles.
Public policy focus: We pay close attention to the NASA budget, which helps fund the agency’s work with the commercial sector. We’re also focused on safety and flight regulations.
Best lesson: Not everyone is going to agree on everything; go with the majority and try to find the right answer for the right reason. And then compromise with others to move a position forward.
Association career: After the Army, came to DC and got a job at the Space Transportation Association. Found it fascinating but took a break for 12 years to work for AGI, working on software for defense and intel agencies. When the opportunity to work with the companies building vehicles taking people and payloads to space came, it grabbed me.
Grew up: Schenectady, NY
Current home: Arlington
Why DC: Wanted to get away from NY’s cold and had Army friends who came here and had jobs.
Schools: Mount Saint Mary College and GMU (master’s in public administration)
First job: Clerk and toy demonstrator at KB Toys.
Person you’d like to meet: Harry Truman
Daily habit: Send personal handwritten notes to people I meet and engage with.
Dream job: Major League Baseball commissioner.
Favorite books: Unbroken and Seabiscuit
Favorite movie: Shawshank Redemption
Favorite vacation spot: St. Bart’s
Bucket list item: Drive cross country in an RV with my family. (Not on wife’s bucket list.)
Family: Married 13 years; two sons (10 and 8), daughter (5); and a West Highland Terrier my wife got when I was in Iraq. (Still serving in the Army Reserves at the Pentagon.)
Hobbies: Golf, DIY projects (just re-did a bathroom.)
Startling fact: Was only fired from one job—worked on Dutch Apple Cruise Line on the Hudson and tied off the boat too tight. Tide came up and the next morning the boat was on its side because there was no slack in the rope.