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SSPI Northeast - Satellite Professions International

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SSPI’s local Chapters and Affiliates provide members with opportunities to advance their careers through information sharing, outreach and professional networking in an informal social setting. Local meetings — which frequently include facility tours and presentations from industry leaders — are also premier educational opportunities. And it is through local participation that satellite professionals deepen those relationships and demonstrate their commitment to the industry.

SSPI Rocky Mountain Chapter (US)

Serves: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming, centering around Colorado

Join colleagues in the Rocky Mountain region for topical discussions and two major outings – Curling and the Rocky Mountain Golf Outing.

2018 Dean Olmstead Memorial Scholarship Winners


Dean Olmstead was president of EchoStar Satellite Services and an executive who during his career played a leading role in the global satellite industry’s consolidation. Dean Olmstead died Oct. 6, 2010 after a courageous battle with cancer.


During his 26-year career in the satellite industry, Olmstead held leadership positions with EchoStar Satellite Services, SES Global, Arrowhead Global Solutions, Loral Space & Communications, DirecTV and Hughes Electronics. While at SES, he developed the strategy and led the acquisitions that transformed SES from a European fixed-satellite services operator into one of the world’s top two satellite services companies.


Earlier in his career, Olmstead worked as Deputy Director of the Satellite and Cable Policy Branch of the U.S. State Department. He then moved to NASA, where he was chief of the Advanced Communications Branch and program manager for the Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS), the first Ka-band system with on-board processing. His work at NASA led to his being inducted into the Space Technology Hall of Fame in 1997.


In honor of his brilliant career and passion for the industry, the Olmstead family and SSPI have established the SSPI Dean Olmstead Scholarship Fund. The Fund will support a student pursuing the business/financial side of the satellite industry as well as a student from the Rocky Mountain Region (two scholarships available).


The following students were selected for awards under the 2018 SSPI Dean Olmstead Memorial Scholarship:


Miles Bengtson, Ph.D., University of Colorado at Boulder


Miles is a NDSEG Fellow and Graduate Researcher pursuing a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering Sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Miles’ doctoral dissertation involves developing a technique for the touch-less sensing of the electrostatic potential of a satellite, which will serve applications for future servicing and salvaging missions, debris removal efforts, or on-orbit experiments to understand spacecraft anomalies. Miles has significant experience within the satellite industry, including working for the Air Force Research Laboratory and CU’s Autonomous Vehicle Systems Laboratory. He is also an active member of SEDS-USA and attended the International Space University’s Space Studies Program in 2017.



Monica Vermillion, M.Sc., Boise State University


Monica Vermillion is a graduate student pursuing a M.Sc. in Geophysics at Boise State University. Monica’s graduate work focuses on the use of cloud-based computing to analyze and assess satellite imagery from emerging remote sensing systems (specifically, Sentinel-2 and Landsat) to inform fire management practices by identifying land areas prone to high fire risk. Monica’s graduate studies is working to develop the computational processes which collect and interpret satellite data that impact environmental applications on Earth.



Matthew Zola, B.S., University of Colorado at Boulder


Matthew Zola is an undergraduate student at University of Colorado at Boulder pursuing a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering Sciences. Matthew works on MAXWELL, a communications-based 6U CubeSat mission for the Air Force Research Laboratory’s University Nanosatellite Program, which aims to develop high rate data transfer from a CubeSat. Matthew is the team lead of structural systems on the mission and he will work through the lifetime of the MAXWELL project.


The 2017 SSPI Dean Olmstead Memorial Scholarship winners were:



Tyler is a junior at MSU Denver with a major in Aerospace Systems Technology, Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Space Commercialization.  Tyler has already flown some of his personal work on Space X CRS-7 and CRS-11.



Bennet is a first year PhD student in Aerospace Engineering at CU Boulder.  His undergraduate degree was in Engineering Physics, also from Colorado University.  Bennet is the Project Manager for a CubeSat named MAXWELL, which is part of an Air Force competition called UNP (University Nanosat Program).



Jack is a third year undergraduate student at the University of Colorado Boulder; he is pursuing a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.  Jack is also a Command Controller at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) in Boulder.  LASP operates  several NASA spacecraft as well as a numerous other instruments on other spacecraft.

Contact Details

For more information, contact

Kathleen Karika, President

Monty Dent, Treasurer

Michelle LeMar, Director

Carolyn Belle, Director





Upcoming Events

2019 Curling Event

On March 7th, SSPI hosted a curling event, sponsored by Lockheed Martin.

2018 Golf Tournament

On August 24, 2018, SSPI hosted the 8th annual golf tournament at Plum Creek Golf Course in Castle Rock, Colorado.  The turnout was the largest event to date with great representation from people in our industry.  Thanks again to our sponsors, Lockheed Martin, Kratos and Echostar.

1st Place Foursome:  Michelle Lemar, David Walker, Cory Collins, Stan Jones.  (Shot a 58)

Longest Drive:  Jason Phillips

Closest to the Pin:  Randy Feltner

Event Sponsors