Zaheer Ali is a respected expert on space technology and policy, an agilist, leader, and technologist. He is now a Managing Partner at New Space Finance, Professor of Practice at Thunderbird School of Global Management, which is part of ASU, and Director of High-Performance Computate at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. He is also an advisor to multiple space start-ups including ThinkOrbital which is building a 4th generation space station, Pulsar Fusion, Neutron Star Systems, and Space Railway, amongst others.
He is invited to speak around the world on space, artificial intelligence, the future of work, and how to help enterprises become agile. As both a professor and entrepreneur he advises several companies in the New Space Sector. He previously served as a Senior Manager at USRA, leading aviation data sciences, artificial intelligence, quantum sciences, and nanotechnology for the NASA Ames NAMS contract. He was formerly a senior member of the project management office for NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) with responsibility for all software products and the safety and quality of all USRA work on SOFIA. Previously he built science instrumentation and the laboratory facilities for SOFIA and stood up their science ground operations.
In addition, he managed science ground support on multiple deployments around the world. Zaheer is also a founding executive for Material Mind, an applied AI science company, and AIXIA Global, an Industry 4.0 technology integration and digital/agile transformation company. He is trained as a research physicist which has resulted in patents, an R&D100 award, and over 40 authored or co-authored publications. He has also worked as an engineer and manager of teams and programs for the US Department of Energy’s Nevada Test Site where he co-founded the National Center for Nuclear Security, worked as a Principal Investigator and Shot Director at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics of the University of Rochester and consulted as a micro/nano device (MEMS) engineer.
Zaheer is also a Thunderbird Alum, being part of the 28th Executive Cohort (E-28) and before that is a Golden Bear, having studied experimental physics, nuclear engineering, and classics at the University of California, Berkeley. He also holds multiple professional certificates in nanotechnology, agile business practice, project management, and leadership functions.