Department News

LPL Board of Advisors

The LPL Board of Advisors, the external group chartered with helping LPL and its director improve interactions with the world beyond campus and NASA, has been reformulated after a several year absence. The group will have its initial meeting in June to set goals and begin work. The Board members range from LPL alumni to Tucson community leaders who have not been part of the LPL family before. You’ll be hearing more from the Board as time progresses. Board members are:

David Acklam is a retired engineer who has been very active in astronomical outreach in the Tucson area. As well as being the chair of LPL’s Kuiper Circle Community Outreach committee, he is also an OSIRIS-REx Ambassador, a volunteer telescope operator at Flandrau Science Center, a Friend and docent at the Planetary Science Institute, and a volunteer Project ASTRO astronomer partner. Acklam is also a member of the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association and the Planetary Society. He received his BSEE and MS from the University of Arizona and was a career Air Force officer, before moving to Texas Instruments and then Raytheon Missile Systems.

Dan Cavanagh is a 1974 Communications graduate of the University of Arizona. His varied background includes being President of the American Chamber of Commerce Government Relations Council and being a leading contributor to radio networks and wire services though out North America. He has spent 40 years in Southern Arizona developing/serving on successful efforts impacting public policy, taxation, the arts and education. Cavanagh's most recent position was Southern Arizona Manager of Government Affairs for the world's largest publicly traded copper company, Freeport McMoRan.

Chris Lewicki is the President and Chief Engineer of Planetary Resources, the asteroid mining company. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Aerospace Engineering from UA, and worked at LPL with Professor Bill Boynton’s group. He was then intimately involved with the lifecycle of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rovers and the Phoenix Mars Lander. Lewicki performed system engineering development and participated in assembly, test and launch operations for both Mars missions. He was Flight Director for the rovers Spirit and Opportunity, and the Surface Mission Manager for Phoenix. The recipient of two NASA Exceptional Achievement Medals, Lewicki has an asteroid named in his honor, 13609 Lewicki.

Laura McGill is Engineering Deputy of Raytheon Missile Systems, the largest private employer in southern Arizona. A principal engineering fellow, McGill was formerly deputy director for Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles and Special Programs. She holds a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical and astronautical  engineering from the University of Washington and a master’s degree in aerospace systems through a General Dynamics engineering development program. She is a lifetime fellow of the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and a member of its board of directors.

Jani Radebaugh, who obtained her PhD in planetary science from LPL in 2005, is an associate professor of geological sciences at Brigham Young University. She specializes in landform geomorphology in the solar system. As an associate member of the Cassini RADAR Team, she studies dunes, mountains, cryovolcanoes, rivers and lakes on Saturn's moon Titan, and she studies volcanoes and mountains on Jupiter's moon Io from Galileo, Cassini, and Voyager observations. Radebaugh has done field work in the Egyptian Sahara, the Ethiopian Afar Rift Valley, Hawaii, the desert southwestern US, and Antarctica.

Timothy Reckart is a Tucson attorney whose commercial and corporate practice focuses on intellectual property transactions and the representation of emerging-growth, technology-based companies. Reckart’s broad experience includes 22 years as General Counsel for technology-based enterprises, 19 of them with Research Corporation Technologies in Tucson. He holds a law degree and an MBA from Stanford University, a master’s degree in nuclear engineering from the University of California at Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Kjell Stakkestad is the President of Northstar, a wholly-owned subsidiary ofKinetX Aerospace in Tempe, Arizona. He received both his bachelor and master degrees in mathematics from the University of California at Davis, and then accepted a position as a staff orbit analyst at Lockheed Missiles and Space Company (LMSC).  In 1993, Stakkestad left LMSC to help found KinetX Aerospace and serve as its first President and Chief Financial Officer.  As the orbit dynamics lead for the development of the IRIDIUM satellite ground control system, he developed the initial orbital dynamics requirements for the ground system.  He also led a variety of KinetX software, hardware, and system engineering projects for the IRIDIUM project. KinetX is a partner with LPL in the OSIRIS-REx mission.