Leadership Team

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GEORGE WHITESIDES

CEO of The Spaceship Company & Virgin Galactic

George is responsible for guiding all aspects of building the world’s first commercial spaceline including our spaceflight program as well as our small satellite launch capability. This includes oversight of our sister company, The Spaceship Company (TSC), to manufacture a fleet of WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo space vehicles.

Prior to TSC and Virgin Galactic, George served as Chief of Staff for NASA, where he provided policy and staff support to the agency’s Administrator. Upon departure from NASA, he received the Distinguished Service Medal, the highest award the agency confers.

Prior to his role at NASA, George served as Executive Director of the National Space Society (NSS), a space policy and advocacy group that was founded by Apollo program leader Wernher von Braun and the journalist Hugh Downs.

Currently, George serves on the board of Virgin Unite USA, the non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group. He is also a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Space Security; an advisory board member of the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Foundation; a fellow of the UK’s Royal Aeronautical Society; and an associate fellow of AIAA. He previously chaired the Reusable Launch Vehicle Working Group for the FAA’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee. He served for four years on the Board of Trustees of Princeton University.

George has testified on American space policy before the United States Senate, the United States House of Representatives, and the President’s Commission on Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy. Space News selected him as one of 12 “People to Watch” in the space industry.

An honors graduate of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, George earned his undergraduate degree in public and international affairs. He later earned a master’s degree in geographic information systems and remote sensing from the University of Cambridge in England, and was a Fulbright Scholar to Tunisia. George is a licensed private pilot and certified parabolic flight coach.

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DOUG SHANE

Chairman of The Spaceship Company

As Chairman of TSC’s Advisory Board, Doug is responsible for delivering ongoing strategic guidance to The Spaceship Company’s management team regarding the company’s future business. This guidance includes planning, strategy, business development, market intelligence and product and service development to ensure that TSC continues to develop as a world-class lean aerospace vehicle and composites manufacturer. Doug originally joined TSC in 2013 as Executive Vice President and General Manager, before becoming TSC’s President in 2014.

Prior to joining TSC, Doug had a 31-year career at Scaled Composites where he conducted the first flights of eight different aircraft and led Scaled’s acquisition of an FAA Commercial Launch License for SpaceShipOne, the first-ever crewed commercial licensed launch. In addition to serving as Director of Flight Operations, Doug served for many years as Vice President of Business Development, increasing Scaled’s revenue more than tenfold. Doug became President of Scaled following the retirement of company founder and aerospace legend Burt Rutan.

Doug holds a Bachelor of Science in aerospace engineering from The University of Kansas and numerous awards, including the Iven C. Kincheloe and James H. Doolittle awards from the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, as well as the Robert J. Collier Trophy. Doug has also served as President of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP).

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ENRICO PALERMO

President

Enrico joined Virgin Galactic in 2006 and as TSC’s first employee led TSC’s establishment from a business plan concept to a thriving spaceship manufacturing operation today with over 450 employees spread over a large campus in Mojave, California – the first dedicated engineering, manufacturing and flight test enterprise in Virgin Group.

Enrico has a Bachelor of Engineering in mechanical engineering and Bachelor of Science in physics and applied mathematics from the University of Western Australia. Upon receipt of a scholarship from the European Space Agency, Enrico studied at the International Space University in Strasbourg, France completing the university’s intensive Space Studies Program. Enrico brings operations leadership, engineering, technology transfer, intellectual property, financial analysis and business planning experience from a variety of industries internationally. A very motivated individual, Enrico moved his family from Perth, Australia to London, England, and then to Mojave, in pursuit of his lifelong ambition and dream of making human spaceflight more accessible to all.

JON CAMPAGNA

Chief Financial Officer

Jon joined Virgin Galactic in October 2015, and is responsible for finance matters for both Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company. Prior to joining Virgin Galactic, Jon was the Controller at ICON Aircraft, a light sport aircraft manufacturer. During his tenure at ICON, Jon helped transition the organization from a research and development centric organization to a full production environment.

Prior to joining ICON, Jon held various financial leadership positions at Ericsson, the Swedish telecommunications provider, both in the US and in Europe. Prior to joining Ericsson, Jon was the Group Controller at Tandberg Television, where he was a key member of the M&A team, which led to the successful acquisition by Ericsson. Previous to Tandberg Television, Jon was the Controller at GoldPocket Interactive, a media software provider that was acquired by Tandberg Television. Jon started his career in the audit advisory services practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Orange County, California.

Jon holds a CPA License (Inactive) in the State of California and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

TOM PUGH

Vice President, Programs 

Tom is responsible for leading the engineering and flight test teams at TSC, including the development and qualification of SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo as they proceed through flight test and into customer service.

Prior to joining TSC in 2017, Tom was at Lockheed Martin Advance Development Programs for 32 years.  During his time at Lockheed Martin, he worked a variety of flight test, engineering, and program management positions.

Tom has a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

STEVE ERICSON

Director of Advanced Design 

Steve is responsible for leading and incubating new development programs at TSC.

Steve has over 40 years’ experience in the fields of engineering, integrated product design, equipment development, and management including high altitude aircraft, lighter than air vehicles, spacecraft, missile systems and watercraft. Prior to TSC, Steve was a Senior Manager at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works where he developed the Advanced Prototyping Center and Advanced Manufacturing Systems and Prototyping Organizations within the company. He worked on various aircraft during his 23 years at Skunkworks, including SR-71 updates, U2 mods, F-117 updates, P-3, YF-22, F-22, JSF (X-35), ARTB, F-35, Dark Star, JASSM, Polecat, ACCA (X-55), P791 Hybrid airship and numerous classified efforts.

Steve attended the University of Kansas in Aerospace Engineering, has been awarded the Gold and Silver Skunk awards and Kelly Johnson Inventor of the year award from Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, the Lockheed Martin Corporate NOVA Awards for both Technical Excellence and Teamwork, and holds 6 U.S. Patents.