McAleer Gray Lands CEO for The Space Foundation

April 6, 2017 – Denver-based executive search firm McAleer Gray has recruited retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Thomas Zelibor as chief executive officer of The Space Foundation. Founding partners Terrance McAleer and Brad Gray led the five-month national search assignment. Past CEO Elliot Pulham resigned in October and was replaced on an acting basis by the Colorado Springs-based non-profit’s chief operating officer, Shelli Brunswick.

In his new role, Mr. Zelibor will lead a team of 53 professionals providing advocacy and education services to the space industry, educators and students, government officials and news media around the world.

Mr. Zelibor most recently served as chairman and CEO for Lightwave Logic, a Colorado-based publicly traded corporation conducting R&D and production of advanced electro-optic materials for use in optical devices for the telecommunications, data communications and data center markets.

He has a wide-ranging leadership and entrepreneurial background, having served as president and CEO of Flatiron’s Solutions, and as a VP for Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), among other commercial affiliations. Highlights of his extensive career in space-related positions include: director, eSpace Incubator at the Center for Space Entrepreneurship; director of global operations, U.S. Strategic Command; deputy for C4 integration and policy, Dept. of the Navy deputy CIO; director, Space Information Warfare, Command and Control Division; and commander, Naval Space Command. He also held the position of dean, College of Operational and Strategic Leadership at the Naval War College in Newport, RI.


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“The Space Foundation team is very pleased to have Tom join the organization as the chief executive officer,” said James O. Ellis, chairman of the board at the Space Foundation. “His impressive list of accomplishments in government, industry and operational space, along with his broad leadership and educational experience, will ensure that the Space Foundation continues to grow and evolve to serve our members and the global space industry.”

“I am honored and humbled to have been selected for this position. I really look forward to joining and working with the superb Space Foundation team,” said Mr. Zelibor. “Starting on day one, I am committed to listening, learning and collectively exploring how we can build on the great successes this world-renowned organization has achieved over many years.”

C-Suite Recruiting

Founded in 1983, the Space Foundation is the foremost advocate for all sectors of space, and is a global, non-profit leader in space awareness activities, educational programs and major industry events, including the annual Space Symposium.

McAleer Gray, the recruiting firm that led the assignment, is a national boutique search firm with offices in Denver and New York. Its clients extend across a multitude of industries, and its focus ranges from board director placements to all C-level functions, as well as their direct reports. The firm’s clients include Berkshire Hathaway; The Walt Disney Company; Ball Aerospace; CSG Systems; HIS; AT&T Wireless; Digital Globe; Davita; Harbinger; Prologis; Ford Motor Company; Janus; Comcast; Cricket Communications; Eddie Bauer; Rent A Car; Johns Mansville; Harry & David; Aviva Insurance; The Broe Companies; and Credo Petroleum, among others.

Mr. McAleer has a background in executive search of almost 20 years. His client experience extends from early stage private companies to large multinational, publicly held corporations. Mr. Gray has more than a decade of executive search experience. His clients have included high growth, early stage companies, as well as large, established organizations in telecom, technology, energy, call center and other industries.

Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media

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