Teaching Team

Teaching Team Profile

​Steve Blank

A RETIRED EIGHT-TIME SERIAL ENTREPRENEUR, Steve’s insight that startups are not smaller versions of large companies has reshaped the way startups are built and how entrepreneurship is taught. His observation that large companies execute business models, but startups search for them, led him to realize that startups need their own tools, different than those used to manage existing companies.

Steve’s first tool for startups, the Customer Development methodology, spawned the Lean Startup movement. The fundamentals of Customer Development are detailed in Blank’s books, The Four Steps to the Epiphany and the The Startup Owner’s Manual. Blank teaches Customer Development and entrepreneurship at Stanford University, U.C. Berkeley Haas Business School and Columbia University, and his Customer Development process is taught at Universities throughout the world.In 2009 Steve earned the Stanford University Undergraduate Teaching Award in Management Science and Engineering. In 2010, he earned the Earl F. Cheit Outstanding Teaching Award at U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business.

In 2011, he developed the Lean LaunchPad, a hands-on class that integrates Business Model design and Customer Development into practice through fast-paced, real-world customer interaction and business model iteration. In 2011, the National Science Foundation adopted Blank’s class for its Innovation Corps (I-Corps), training teams of the nation’s top scientists and engineers to take their ideas out of the university lab and into the commercial marketplace. In 2014 the I-Corps program was expanded to include the NIH, DOE, and DOD. Over 750 teams have gone through the I-Corps program.

Steve’s eight startups in 21 years as an entrepreneur include two semiconductor companies, Zilog and MIPS Computers; Convergent Technologies; a consulting stint for Pixar; a supercomputer firm, Ardent; a peripheral supplier, SuperMac; a military intelligence systems supplier, ESL; and Rocket Science Games. Steve co-founded startup number eight, E.piphany, in his living room. Steve has followed his curiosity about why entrepreneurship blossomed in Silicon Valley while stillborn elsewhere with the talk “The Secret History of Silicon Valley.” 

​Steve Weinstein

With a background that spans technology, product development, and entertainment, Steve Weinstein has been focused on where media meets technology. Currently Steve is the founder and CEO of MovieLabs. Steve is also the co-founder of KineTrope a small design shop for small consumer and professional electronics. Additionally, Steve is currently teaching entrepreneurship at U.C. Berkeley and at Stanford.

Previously, Steve served as CTO of Deluxe Entertainment, a 6,000 person post production house, and CTO at Rovi Corporation where he guided the transition from physical technologies to e-commerce, connected home, secure and subscription services. Additionally, Steve held the role of Chief Technology Officer at Vicinity, a mapping company acquired by Microsoft in 2002. Steve was also a founding executive and Chief Strategist and Technologist at Liberate Technologies, an interactive television software company. Further back in his career, Steve held executive-level positions at Microprose/Spectrum HoloByte (game company), Electronics for Imaging (print processing), and Media Cybernetics (image processing). Steve also was chief architect at Ship Analytics for real time ship, sub and helicopter trainers. Steve started his career at Naval Research Laboratory in the area of advanced signal processing, computer language design, and real time os development.

Joe Felter

Joe Felter is a William J. Perry Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation and research fellow at the Hoover Institution.  From 2017 to 2019, Felter served as US deputy assistant secretary of defense for South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Oceania. There he was the principal advisor for all policy matters pertaining to development and implementation of defense strategies and plans in the region and responsible for managing bilateral security relationships and guiding Department of Defense (DoD) engagement with multilateral institutions.  

At Stanford, Felter is codirector of the Empirical Studies of Conflict Project and coauthor of Hacking for Defense, a defense innovation­–focused academic curriculum sponsored by the DoD and taught at more than 20 universities across the country. His previous academic positions include director of West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center, assistant professor in the US Military Academy’s Department of Social Sciences, and adjunct associate professor at Columbia University’s School for International and Public Affairs. His research focuses on addressing politically motivated violence and has appeared in the American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, Journal of Development Economics, Journal of Conflict Resolution, and a range of other academic and policy-focused publications.  He is coauthor of Small Wars, Big Data: The Information Revolution and Modern Conflict (Princeton University Press, 2018). 

A former US Army Special Forces and Foreign Area officer, Joe served in a variety of special operations and diplomatic assignments across East and Southeast Asia. His combat deployments include Panama with the 75th Ranger Regiment, Iraq with a Joint Special Operations Task Force, and Afghanistan, where he commanded the COMISAF Counterinsurgency Advisory and Assistance Team, reporting directly to Generals Stanley McChrystal and David Petraeus.

He received a BS from the US Military Academy at West Point, a masters in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, a graduate certificate in management from the University of West Australia, and a PhD in political science from Stanford University.

Tom Bedecarré

Tom Bedecarré was Co-Founder and CEO of AKQA, the leading and most-awarded digital advertising agency. Tom built AKQA into a global company which now has more than 2,000 staff in 20 offices in the US, Latin America, Europe and Asia. Tom was also President of WPP Ventures, exploring Silicon Valley investment opportunities for WPP, the world’s largest communications services group.

An innovator and pioneer in media, entertainment and communications, Tom was named “Silicon Valley’s Favorite Adman” by Fortune magazine and he was recognized in 2013 as an EY Entrepreneur of The Year.  

Tom earned his BA from Stanford and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management. He has been an active mentor to Stanford students and startups, and in 2018 Tom received Stanford’s Outstanding Alumni Mentor Award. Currently, Tom is a Lecturer in Management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Pete Newell

COLONEL U.S. ARMY (ret) is a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the National Defense University Institute for National Strategic Studies, Center for Technology and National Security Policy and a senior advisor within the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO). 

During his 32 years in uniform he served as both an enlisted national guardsman and as an active duty officer. He served in, led, and commanded Infantry units at the platoon through brigade level, while performing peace support, combat, and special operations in Panama, Kosovo, Egypt, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.

During his last assignment in the military he led the U.S. Army Rapid Equipping Force (REF) in the investment of over $1.4B in developing rapid solutions to answer Soldiers’ most pressing needs. Among the initiatives he developed were the Army’s $66M effort to develop and deploy renewable energy systems on the battlefield and the Army’s $45M effort to design an integrated system to gather the data required to determine the potential causes of Traumatic Brain Injury. He was also responsible for the Army’s first deployment of mobile advanced/additive manufacturing labs in a bid to more closely connect scientists and engineers to problems on the battlefield. His efforts to accelerate problem recognition and solution delivery to military units is the subject of the 2013 Stanford Graduate School of Business Case Study “The Rapid Equipping Force Customer Focused Innovation in the U.S. Army” and appears in the 2014 book Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less by Bob Sutton and Huggy Rao. 

Newell holds a BS from Kansas State University, an MS in Operations from the US Army Command & General Staff College, an MS in Strategy from the National Defense University and Advanced Certificates from the MIT Sloan School and Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Jeff Decker

Jeff Decker is the Program Director for Hacking for Defense and is industry master for Hacking for Defense. Jeff served in the U.S. Army as a 2nd Ranger Battalion light infantry squad leader in Iraq and Afghanistan.

​Following his service, he earned his doctorate in International Relations from Bond University in Australia, where he wrote his dissertation “Enhancing the Effectiveness of Private Military Contractors.” Jeff conducted research analysis in national security and international affairs at the RAND Corporation. Jeff’s current research focuses on defense innovation, dual-use technologies, and fostering defense-industry partnerships.

Course Advisors

Arun Majumdar

Dr. Arun Majumdar is the Jay Precourt Professor at Stanford University, a faculty member of the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering (by courtesy) and co-director of the Precourt Institute for Energy, which integrates and coordinates research and education activities across all seven Schools and the Hoover Institution at Stanford. 

Dr. Majumdar’s research in the past has involved the science and engineering of nanoscale materials and devices, especially in the areas of energy conversion, transport and storage as well as biomolecular analysis. His current research focuses on using electrochemical reactions for thermal energy conversion, thermochemical redox reactions, understanding the limits of heat transport in nanostructured materials and a new effort to re-engineer the electricity grid.

In October 2009, Dr. Majumdar was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate to become the Founding Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), where he served till June 2012 and helped ARPA-E become a model of excellence for the government with bipartisan support from Congress and other stakeholders. Between March 2011 and June 2012, he also served as the Acting Under Secretary of Energy, enabling the portfolio that reported to him: Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Office of Electricity Delivery and Reliability, Office of Nuclear Energy and the Office of Fossil Energy, as well as multiple cross-cutting efforts such as Sunshot, Grid Tech Team and others that he had initiated. Furthermore, he was a Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Energy, Dr. Steven Chu, on a variety of matters related to management, personnel, budget, and policy. In 2010, he served on Secretary Chu’s Science Team to help stop the leak of the Deep Water Horizon (BP) oil spill.

After leaving Washington, DC and before joining Stanford, Dr. Majumdar was the Vice President for Energy at Google, where he created several energy technology initiatives, especially at the intersection of data, computing and electricity grid. 

Prior to joining the Department of Energy, Dr. Majumdar was the Almy & Agnes Maynard Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering at University of California–Berkeley and the Associate Laboratory Director for energy and environment at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 

Dr. Majumdar is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He served as the Vice Chairman of the Advisory Board of US Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz, and was also a Science Envoy for the US Department of State with focus on energy and technology innovation in the Baltics and Poland. He is a member of the Advisory Council of the Electric Power Research Institute and a member of the International Advisory Panel for Energy of the Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Dr. Majumdar received his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in 1985 and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1989.

Sally Benson

Sally M. Benson, who joined Stanford University in 2007, is the co-director of Stanford’s Precourt Institute for Energy and the director of the Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP). A Professor in the Department of Energy Resources Engineering in the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences, she studies technologies and pathways to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

Prior to joining GCEP, Benson was a staff scientist in the Earth Sciences Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). In 2004, she completed a four-year term as Deputy Director of Operations at the lab. Benson also served as Division Director for Earth Sciences and Associate Laboratory Director for Energy Sciences at LBNL.

A ground water hydrologist and reservoir engineer, Benson has conducted research to address a range of issues related to energy and the environment. Her research interests include geologic storage of CO2 in deep underground formations, technologies and energy systems for a low-carbon future, and geotechnical instrumentation for subsurface characterization and monitoring.

The author or co-author of over 160 scientific publications, Benson is a member of the American Geophysical Union, the Society of Petroleum Engineers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Chemical Society.

Tom Byers

At Stanford University since 1995, Professor Tom Byers focuses on education regarding high-growth entrepreneurship and technology innovation. He is the first holder of the Entrepreneurship Professorship endowed chair in the School of Engineering, and is also a Bass University Fellow in Undergraduate Education. He has been a faculty director since the inception of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP), which serves as the entrepreneurship center for the engineering school. STVP includes the Mayfield Fellows work/study program for undergraduates and the Entrepreneurship Corner (eCorner) collection of thought leader videos. He was the director and lead principal investigator of the Epicenter, which was funded by the National Science Foundation to stimulate entrepreneurship education at all US engineering and science colleges. He is the co-author of a textbook called Technology Ventures: From Idea to Enterprise that is published by McGraw-Hill. 

He is a past recipient of the prestigious Gordon Prize by the National Academy of Engineering in the USA and Stanford University’s Gores Award, which is its highest honor for excellence in teaching. He is a member of the board of trustees at Menlo College. He has been a member of advisory boards at Harvard Business School, UC Berkeley, World Economic Forum, and Conservation International. Tom was executive vice president and general manager of Symantec Corporation during its formation, and started his career at Accenture. Tom holds a BS in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research and an MBA from UC Berkeley. He also earned a PhD in Business Administration (Management Science) at UC Berkeley.

John Mitchell

John Mitchell became the inaugural Vice Provost for Online Learning in 2012, as well as the first Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning in 2015.

His team has worked with more than 500 Stanford faculty members and instructors on 1,000 online projects for campus or public audiences, transitioned faculty and students to a new university-wide course evaluation system and a new learning management system, and initiated the Year of Learning to envision the future of teaching and learning at Stanford and beyond. As co-director of the Lytics Lab, he is working to improve educational outcomes through data-driven research and iterative design.

Mitchell is the Mary and Gordon Crary Family Professor in the School of Engineering, professor of computer science, and (by courtesy) professor of electrical engineering and of education. His past research has focused on computer security, developing analysis methods and improving network protocol security, authorization and access control, web security, and privacy. He is a member of the steering committee for Stanford University’s Cyber Initiative.

Mitchell’s first research project in online learning started in 2009, when he and six undergraduate students built Stanford CourseWare, an innovative platform that expanded to support interactive video and discussion. CourseWare served as the foundation for initial flipped classroom experiments at Stanford and helped inspire the first massive open online courses (MOOCs) from Stanford. He received his BS from Stanford and his MS and PhD from MIT.

William J. Perry

William Perry is the Michael and Barbara Berberian Professor (emeritus) at Stanford University. He is a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute and the Hoover Institution, and serves as director of the Preventive Defense Project. He is an expert in U.S. foreign policy, national security and arms control. He was the co-director of CISAC from 1988 to 1993, during which time he was also a part-time professor at Stanford. He was a part-time lecturer in the Department of Mathematics at Santa Clara University from 1971 to 1977.

Perry was the 19th secretary of defense for the United States, serving from February 1994 to January 1997. He previously served as deputy secretary of defense (1993-1994) and as under secretary of defense for research and engineering (1977-1981). Dr. Perry currently serves on the Defense Policy Board (DPB), the International Security Advisory Board (ISAB) and the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB). He is on the board of directors of Covant, Fabrinet, LGS Bell Labs Innovations and several emerging high-tech companies. His previous business experience includes serving as a laboratory director for General Telephone and Electronics (1954-1964); founder and president of ESL Inc. (1964-1977); executive vice-president of Hambrecht & Quist Inc. (1981-1985); and founder and chairman of Technology Strategies & Alliances (1985-1993). He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

From 1946 to 1947, Perry was an enlisted man in the Army Corps of Engineers, and served in the Army of Occupation in Japan. He joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps in 1948 and was a second lieutenant in the Army Reserves from 1950 to 1955. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1997 and the Knight Commander of the British Empire in 1998. Perry has received a number of other awards including the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal (1980 and 1981), and Outstanding Civilian Service Medals from the Army (1962 and 1997), the Air Force (1997), the Navy (1997), the Defense Intelligence Agency (1977 and 1997), NASA (1981) and the Coast Guard (1997). He received the American Electronic Association’s Medal of Achievement (1980), the Eisenhower Award (1996), the Marshall Award (1997), the Forrestal Medal (1994), and the Henry Stimson Medal (1994). The National Academy of Engineering selected him for the Arthur Bueche Medal in 1996. He has received awards from the enlisted personnel of the Army, Navy, and the Air Force. He has received decorations from the governments of Albania, Bahrain, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Korea, Poland, Slovenia, and Ukraine. He received a BS and MS from Stanford University and a PhD from Pennsylvania State University, all in mathematics.


Defense Mentors

Col Denny R. Davies

Colonel Denny R. Davies, representing the U.S. Air Force, is a National Security Affairs Fellow for the academic year 2020–21 at the Hoover Institution.

Colonel Davies, is a C-130 command pilot and former squadron commander, having served in United States Air Forces in Europe, Pacific Air Forces, Air Mobility Command, Headquarters Air Force, United States Indo-Pacific Command, and the Joint Staff. He deployed to Southwest Asia six times in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

Originally from Sarasota, Florida, Colonel Davies graduated from the United States Air Force Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Management. He also holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from the University of Oklahoma and a Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University in Washington, DC. Most recently, he served as the Deputy Executive Assistant to the Commander, United States Indo-Pacific Command, Admiral Philip S. Davidson.

Lt Col Kenneth J. del Mazo

Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth J. del Mazo, representing the U.S. Marine Corps, is a National Security Affairs Fellow for the academic year 2020–21 at the Hoover Institution.

Del Mazo served in a variety of command and support roles throughout his 19-year career as an artillery Marine. As a lieutenant, he deployed to the Pacific as a fire direction officer and platoon commander in the 2d Marine Division, and subsequently to the Al Anbar Province, Iraq as a battery executive officer.  As a captain, he served as an artillery instructor at Fort Sill, Oklahoma before commanding a battery conducting combat operations against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan, once again with the 2d Marine Division. As a major, he commanded Marine recruiters throughout South Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He concluded his tenure as a major serving as an operational planner with U.S. Marine Forces, South, focusing on crisis response in the Caribbean and Latin America, as well as integration with the Colombian Marine Corps. 

As a lieutenant colonel, del Mazo commanded 1st Battalion, 11th Marines, an artillery battalion in the 1st Marine Division. 

He earned an undergraduate degree in political science from the United States Naval Academy, a Master of Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma, and a Master of Operational Studies from Marine Corps University’s School of Advanced Warfighting.  

Lieutenant Colonel del Mazo’s research at Hoover will focus on rising threats to U.S. national security, and the Marine Corps’ plan to optimize itself to meet those threats. 

LTC Eldridge Singleton

Lieutenant Colonel Eldridge “Raj” Singleton, representing the U.S. Army, is a National Security Affairs Fellow for academic year 2020-21 at the Hoover Institution researching strategies to safeguard U.S. interests in the Pacific Islands.

Lieutenant Colonel Singleton studied at the United States Military Academy, San Diego State University (SDSU), and Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center. In recent years, he lectured at SDSU and the University of Michigan. 

Lieutenant Colonel Singleton is a Foreign Area Officer (FAO) who served at the U.S. Army Human Resources Command as Chief of FAO Assignments Branch; in U.S. embassies as the Senior Defense Official and Defense Attaché to Belize, Interim Senior Defense Attaché to Jamaica, Army Attaché to Bolivia, and Security Cooperation Officer in Haiti; and in multiple combat roles in Iraq as a Special Forces and Infantry Officer. 

Upon completion of his fellowship, Lieutenant Colonel Singleton will serve in DoD international relations positions focused on interagency and multinational collaboration.

Lt Col Steven Skipper

Lieutenant Colonel Steven Skipper, representing the US Air Force, is a National Security Affairs Fellow for the academic year 2020–21 at the Hoover Institution.

Lieutenant Colonel Skipper leads force development and career management activities for all non-rated Air Force officers and enlisted personnel.

Prior to this assignment, he commanded the 5th Communications Squadron at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, supporting B-52 bomber and intercontinental ballistic missions. Lieutenant Colonel Skipper’s second command tour consisted of leading the 380th Expeditionary Communications Squadron in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and Combined Task Force Horn of Africa. His staff experiences include an Air Staff tour at the Pentagon and a Pacific Air Forces assignment, where he deployed to Japan to support post-tsunami relief activities. As a career broadening opportunity, Lieutenant Colonel Skipper served as an Air Force One mission director for President George Bush and President Barack Obama.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology and holds a Master of Science degree in Operations Management from the University of Arkansas.

As a fellow at Hoover, his research will focus on cyberspace security and national defense.

CDR John “Jack” Souders

Commander John “Jack” Souders, representing the U.S. Coast Guard, is a National Security Affairs Fellow for the academic year 2020–21 at the Hoover Institution.

Commander Souders is a Coast Guard officer specializing in emergency response and law enforcement operations as an MH-65 helicopter pilot. During his 18-year career, he served in a variety of afloat and aviation command and staff positions conducting operations throughout the Western Hemisphere. He has disrupted transnational criminal organizations at sea, flown post-hurricane search and rescue missions, and protected the National Capitol Region Flight Restricted Zone as a Rotary Wing Air Intercept pilot. Commander Souders comes to the Hoover Institution from the United States Senate, where he served as Chief of the USCG Senate Liaison Office, responsible for developing and executing the Service’s legislative strategy. He earned his military commission from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, where he also earned a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology and holds a Master of Science in Aeronautical Safety from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

CDR Jeffrey Vanak

Commander Jeffrey Vanak, representing the U.S. Navy, is a National Security Affairs Fellow for the academic year 2020–21 at the Hoover Institution.

Commander Vanak is an intelligence officer who has served in multiple operational assignments that included deployments to Afghanistan, East Africa, Iraq, and embarked aboard USS Eisenhower (CVN 69). His staff assignments include Special Operations Command, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO)-Intelligence Plot at the Pentagon, and the CNO Strategic Studies Group where he developed future Navy concepts for Human-Machine Teaming. Most recently, he served at U.S. Pacific Fleet, providing intelligence and planning support focused on warfighting and Great Power Competition in the Indo-Pacific.

Commander Vanak graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2005 with a degree in Economics and earned his master’s from the U.S. Naval War College in 2017, where he was named Honor Graduate. In 2012, he was named the Office of Naval Intelligence Junior Officer of the Year.

As a fellow at Hoover, his research will focus on Great Power Competition in the Indo-Pacific with a focus on China.

LTC Jim Wiese

Lieutenant Colonel Jim Wiese, representing the U.S. Army, is a National Security Affairs Fellow for academic year 2020-21 at the Hoover Institution

Lieutenant Colonel Wiese was commissioned as an infantry officer in 2002. In his first eight years of service, he led an air assault infantry platoon during the 2003 invasion of Iraq and later an airborne infantry company deployed along the Afghanistan / Pakistan border. Between those deployments, Lieutenant Colonel Wiese served as a senior trainer for new infantry lieutenants, preparing them for service as combat platoon leaders.

Since 2010, Lieutenant Colonel Jim Wiese has served in the Special Operations community in a number of leadership positions with deployments to Afghanistan, Germany, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, and Syria. Lieutenant Colonel Wiese has extensive experience in counterterrorism operations and has traveled throughout the Middle East.

Lieutenant Colonel Jim Wiese earned a BA in Biological Sciences from Clemson University and a MA in Strategic Security Studies through the Joint Special Operations Master of Arts Program from the National Defense University.

Lt Col Richard “Astro” Lawson

Lieutenant Colonel Richard “Astro” Lawson is assigned to Marine Operational Test & Evaluation Squadron One (VMX-1) where he most recently served as the first Chief Operational Test Director (COTD) for Marine Aviation and the squadron Chief Test Pilot (CTP). VMX-1 conducts Aviation Combat Element Operational Test & Evaluation and develops Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures in support of MAGTF operations. The COTD is responsible for supervising the planning, execution and reporting of Operational Test, Integrated Test, and experimentation events for future weapons systems across Marine Aviation. VMX-1 is home to 400+ personnel and $1B in assets including F-35B, CH-53K, MV-22 and AH-1Z aircraft. VMX-1 was awarded the MCAA Commandant’s Aviation Trophy for outstanding unit performance.

LtCol Lawson was born in DeKalb, IL. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in 1995 after graduating with distinction from the United States Naval Academy where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Naval Architecture. He was the Honor Graduate at The Basic School and was subsequently selected for initial pilot training with the United States Air Force. He was designated as a Naval Aviator in November 1999 and was selected to fly the AH-1W Cobra.

LtCol Lawson completed qualification as an AH-1W pilot and was assigned to HMLA-169, the “Vipers”, as the S-6 officer. In 2001, LtCol Lawson was assigned to the Operations Department of HMM- 163(REIN) and deployed aboard the USS Peleliu as part of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Task Force 58. During that deployment he flew humanitarian assistance missions in East Timor as well as combat missions in Afghanistan in support of the opening days of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. He rejoined HMLA-169 the following year and graduated from the MAWTS-1 Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course in the fall of 2002. LtCol Lawson deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM as the squadron Tactics Officer and subsequently flew extensive combat missions throughout Iraq in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM as a flight leader and Forward Air Controller (Airborne).

LtCol Lawson graduated with distinction from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS) in 2005 as part of Class 127. He served as an experimental test pilot and project officer for the initial developmental test phase and transition to operational test of the AH-1Z. He was subsequently assigned to USNTPS as both a fixed wing and rotary wing flight instructor. As the Operations Officer, LtCol Lawson was responsible for nearly 100 aircrew each year and 50 aircraft composed of 12 Type/Model/Series aircraft. He was selected as an Acquisition Management Professional in 2008 and was selected for duty at Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1). LtCol Lawson reported to MAWTS-1 in January 2009 as the Aviation Development, Tactics and Evaluation (ADT&E) Department Head. The ADT&E department is the steward for all Marine Aviation Doctrine and is tasked with assisting in the development of weapons systems requirements, new concepts of operation, and emerging tactics for all areas of Marine Aviation as well as Joint and Special Forces integration. During this time he led the design and construction of the MAWTS-1 command building, helped shape over $500M in construction aboard MCAS Yuma, and stood up the Marine Corps’ first Cyber and Electronic Warfare Fusion experimentation efforts in support of Joint Operations. He remains the longest serving member of MAWTS-1.

LtCol Lawson has logged over 2,300 flight hours in more than 60 aircraft type/model/series. He was a Precourt Energy Visiting Scholar at Stanford University, holds a Master of Engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley and is a graduate of both the Amphibious Warfare School and Marine Corps Command and Staff College. His personal decorations include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, 14 Air Medals (two individual awards with combat “V” for valor and 12 strike/flight awards), the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Gold Star, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, as well as numerous campaign medals and unit commendation awards.

LTC Edward Cuevas

Edward Cuevas is a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army and a Foreign Area Officer (FAO) working in the Indo-Pacific with an emphasis on Northeast Asia. Edward has served in various Army, joint, and interagency positions developing and implementing U.S. national security policy and military strategy, providing assessments on key issues affecting support for national security strategy objectives, and supporting key leader interaction with senior military and civilian leaders.

Edward’s most recent assignments include South Asia Country Director and Republic of Korea (ROK) Country Director, Policy and Plans Directorate, J5, HQs Indo-Pacific Command (2013-2016); Branch Chief, Government Relations, Policy and Plans Directorate, J5, HQs U.S. Forces Japan (2016-2019); and Deputy Chief, Joint U.S. Military Advisory Group-Philippines (JUSMAG-P), U.S. Embassy, Manila, Philippines (2019-2020). Edward’s research focus is on the impact/implications of alliances on U.S. foreign and domestic policy. Edward has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a Master of Arts Degree in Asian Studies from the University of Hawaii-Manoa.

Lt Col (Ret) George “Donnie” Hasseltine 

Donnie Hasseltine is the CSO for Xenon Partners, a tech private equity firm that focuses on small Business to Business Software as a Service companies. He is a retired Marine Corps combat arms officer who served in a variety of assignments including command of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion. He holds a BA in History from the Virginia Military Institute, a Diploma in Strategic Intelligence from the Joint Military Intelligence College, an MA in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College, and an Executive Masters in Cybersecurity from Brown University. This is his fifth year supporting Stanford’s Hacking4Defense program as a team mentor.


Michael Hoeschele

Michael Hoeschele started at BMNT as a Mad Scientist in Residence in 2018 with a focus on cybersecurity and developing new products. He is interested in leveraging unique BMNT datasets and AI to this end and works to create science from art. Previously he worked for the Federal Government from 2006 to 2018 in a number of roles including Analyst, Engineer, and Innovator in Residence. He focused on agency-wide projects addressing next-generation network security systems, deep metrics, and securing special purposes devices. Michael earned a BS in Computer Science from Dickinson College in 2004, and as a participant in the OPM Scholarship for Service program, an MS in Information Assurance from Purdue University in 2006.

Teaching Assistants

Nick Mirda

Nick Mirda

Nick Mirda is the head teaching assistant for Hacking for Defense and an MBA student at the GSB. As a 2020 H4D student on Team Omniscient, he worked with Air Force TENCAP to use computer vision to help imagery analysts quickly identify objects of interest within collected imagery. As an undergrad at Princeton, Nick was a student fellow at the Center for International Security Studies and Army ROTC cadet before commissioning as a Military Intelligence officer. During his career in Army ISR units, Nick deployed to Afghanistan as the Task Force ODIN Deputy Brigade J2 and Tunisia as an MQ-1C detachment commander. Outside of class, Nick heads Army veteran outreach for the GSB Veteran’s Club. 

Joel Johnson Headshot

Joel Johnson

Joel Johnson is a Junior studying Symbolic Systems and conducting research in the HazyResearch lab. He was a member of Team Panacea in the Spring of 2019, which sought to assess and improve the Department of Veterans Affairs internal innovation ecosystem. In the Marine Corps from 2013 to 2018, Joel was an Arabic linguist and intelligence collector primarily working in Africa and supporting efforts abroad. He currently works to increase enlisted Veteran representation in upper-level academic institutions and promote community within the non-traditional undergraduate student body at Stanford.

Sally Egan Headshot

Sally Egan

Sally Egan is an undergraduate majoring in Mathematical and Computational Science and International Relations, with a concentration in international security. She was part of Team ElectionWatch in the 2020 H4D cohort where she worked with US Cyber Command and US Special Operations Command Pacific to develop a tool to identify, track, and respond to Chinese disinformation campaigns in southeast Asian elections. She has previously interned with the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence and the Nuclear Threat Initiative, as well completed work as a research assistant at CISAC for Dr. Colin Kahl, looking into Chinese and Russian usage of AI in their respective militaries. Outside of class, Sally plays on Stanford’s club rugby team.