External Advisory Council
Biography: Williams was a space mission specialist aboard Space Shuttle Columbia in 1998 and served in the same capacity aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour in 2007, which was the 22nd flight to the International Space Station (ISS). During the 2007 mission, Williams participated in three of the four spacewalks, the highest number of spacewalks performed in a single mission. He also spent 17 hours and 47 minutes outside ISS, a Canadian record.
Barbara Sherwood LollarUniversity of Toronto
Biography: Dr. Barbara Sherwood Lollar, Companion of the Order of Canada, FRS, FRSC, FRCGS, is a University Professor in Earth Sciences at the University of Toronto. She is a Canada Research Chair in Isotopes of the Earth and Environment, and Dr. Norman Keevil Chair. She is Past-President of the Geochemical Society and Co-Director of the CIFAR program Earth 4D – Subsurface Science and Exploration. In 2015 she was named a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and in 2019, a Fellow of the Geochemical Society and European Association of Geochemistry. Sherwood Lollar has published on stable isotope geochemistry and hydrogeology, the fate of carbon-bearing fluids and gases such as CO2, CH4 and H2 in ancient fracture waters in the Earth’s crust, deep subsurface microbiology, and the remediation of surface drinking water supplies. She has been a recipient of many academic awards including the 2012 Eni Award for Protection of the Environment, 2012 Geological Society of America Geomicrobiology and Geobiology Prize, 2014 International Helmholtz Fellowship, the 2016 NSERC John Polanyi Award, 2016 Bancroft Award for the Royal Society of Canada, 2018 Logan Medal of the Geological Association of Canada, the 2019 Herzberg Gold Medal for Canada, the 2019 C.C. Patterson Award in environmental geochemistry, and the Canada Council for the Arts 2020 Killam Prize in Natural Sciences. Sherwood Lollar has served on many advisory boards including NSERC Council, the United States National Academy of Sciences Space Studies Board, the Honors and Recognition Committee for the American Geophysical Union, and is currently Director of the Earth, Atmosphere and Ocean Sciences Division of the Royal Society of Canada. She was Chair of the 2018 United States National Academy of Sciences “Strategy for Astrobiology and the Search for Life in the Universe” and is a member of the NAS Space Studies Board (2016-2020).
Biography: Cameron Ower is currently MDA’s Director of Engineering and Chief Technology Officer for the company’s Robotics and Automation business site. These responsibilities include ensuring the integrity of engineering activities, strategic research and development and intellectual property management within the Robotics business. He has been with MDA for over 30 years, holding a number of engineering leadership roles over that time including control systems design lead for the Canadarm 2 and Dextre, Director of Systems Engineering and Director of Research and Development. He has Bachelor and Master of Applied Science degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toronto and a Doctorate in Aerospace Engineering from Carleton University. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies and serves on industry advisory boards at Western University, Queen’s University and the University of Toronto.
Biography: Charles holds a Bachelor of Mining Engineering and a Masters in Business and Administration (MBA). As the Vice-President Business Development and Commercialization for the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation, Charles endeavours to create long-term value (commercialization, revenue generation, leveraging funds, networking, collaboration) for organizations and clients by identifying business development opportunities with both the public and private client segments. His role also includes leading in proposal development initiatives, securing global partnerships and collaborators to participate in program or project initiatives. Charles also works to advance the overall organizational strategic objectives.
Biography: Greg Schmidt serves as Director of the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI), located in the NASA Research Park at Ames Research Center. The Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute links competitively-selected science teams across the nation working together to help lead the agency’s research activities related to NASA’s lunar exploration goals. SSERVI research includes studies of the Moon (including lunar samples), from the Moon (using the Moon as an observational platform) and on the Moon (studies related to a human return to the Moon). Prior to his current position, Schmidt served as Associate Director for Strategic Planning in the Ames Research Center Science Directorate, where he was responsible for a wide variety of tasks. During this time he also took part in NASA’s senior executive training program, in which he did senior external details at both the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and the Hewlett Packard Corporation. In parallel, he also was a co-founder of the NASA Ames Space Portal, an organization which promotes activities in Entrepreneurial Space, in which he led development of an effort studying a commercially leveraged lunar science campaign. Within the Space Portal he also established the first known class in space entrepreneurship, which he will co-teach starting in March 2009, and established a Center for Space Biotech at San Jose State University. As Associate Director, Schmidt also established the Space Tech Center at the NASA Research Park, and led development of NASA’s Generations initiative through the Office of Biomedical and Physical Research, which was proposed to Congress in the FY2001 budget. Schmidt was one of the core team who developed the science of astrobiology in the late 1990s. He led the team which developed the first Astrobiology Roadmap, and served (along with David Morrison) as its co-editor. He served as lead for the Astrobiology Integration Office (AIO), an agency-level office based at Ames Research Center. Within the AIO, Schmidt led development of the Astrobiology Augmentation, which resulted in the establishment of the Astrobiology Science and Technology Instrument Development program, and in partnership with HQ leadership, he helped developed the Astrobiology Science and Technology for Exploring Planets program, both of which have led to major advances in instrument and platform technology for astrobiology. Schmidt also was an early member of the team which developed the NASA Astrobiology Institute prior to its opening in 1999. In the mid-1990s Schmidt served at the NASA HQ Life Sciences Division, where he developed and managed two new technology programs focusing on enabling technologies for life sciences spaceflight experiments and advanced sensor systems for environmental monitoring. These programs led to two successful Space Shuttle demonstrations of “electronic nose” and miniature mass spectrometer experiments. At NASA HQ, he also co-developed the Advanced Human Support Technologies program, and led a collaboration with the National Cancer Institute which leveraged NASA and DOD technologies for the early detection of breast cancer.
Biography: James is the Co-Founder and CEO at SkyWatch Space Applications. He is also a Co-Founder and Chair of MaxQ, Canada’s first organization focused on developing the space startup ecosystem, and the Lead Organizer for NASA Space Apps Waterloo. In 2014 James was a part of the team that won the NASA International Space Apps Challenge, beating out over 650 other projects. He’s an alumnus of Google for Entrepreneurs, Next Founders, and Techstars; a member of the International Astronomical Union’s Working Group on Time-Domain Astronomy and the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy, and the Canadian Space Commerce Association; as well as an advisor to the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space Canada and many startups and founders across North America. Every Wednesday he publishes This Week in Space, a weekly newsletter covering the biggest stories in space & astronomy. James is on a mission to build Canada’s space industry back into a global leader.
Biography: Marianne is a geologist and planetary scientist. She is Managing Director for the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) centres for Earth & Space and Fossils & Evolution. She’s also a planetary science and exploration researcher for the University of Western Ontario. Throughout her esteemed career, which is very young yet, she has already collaborated with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), NASA and MDA—Canada’s largest space company. She was among the top 1% of applicants to the 2009 Canadian astronaut selection process. And she is co-founder of STEAMLabs, an extraordinary, all-ages, non-profit makerspace in downtown Toronto, Ontario.
Biography: Michelle Mendes is an innovation strategy leader focussed on commercial space. She is the Executive Director of the Satellite Canada Innovation Network with over 20 years of experience in business, finance and law. To advance commercial space she has led programs and has worked on behalf of the United Nations to further space advocacy. Michelle sits on the Government of Canada Space Advisory Board and Canada's Global Affairs Remote Sensing Space Systems Act Advisory Committee. She holds a Bachelor of General Studies degree from Simon Fraser University in Canada, is a Fellow Chartered Secretary in Canada and UK and holds an Executive Master of Business Administration in Space Commerce from the International Space University in Strasbourg, France.