Our 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

Doug oversees the design, manufacturing, and test operations of Virgin Galactic’s fleet of SpaceShipTwo spaceships and WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft for The Spaceship Company (TSC).

Prior to his position with 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.

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DALE TUTT

Vice President, Programs 

Dale is responsible for leading the Program Office at TSC, which is responsible for the program management of all programs.  In this role, he leads the Program Management teams to successfully stand up, manage and execute programs through the entire product development lifecycle.  Previously at TSC, Dale was the Vice President of Engineering, leading the development and qualification of SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo through flight test and into customer service, and leading the design and development of new programs such as the next two spaceships in development after VSS Unity.

Prior to joining TSC, Dale was at Textron Aviation and Cessna for 18 years in a number of engineering and program leadership roles, concluding as the Director of the Scorpion Jet program, where he led a dynamic team to design, build and fly the Scorpion prototype from design concept to first flight in less than 23 months.  In this groundbreaking and innovative role, he led all program management, engineering, and experimental functions.  Dale held numerous roles at Cessna in project management, systems design and integration, systems architecture, advanced design, and autopilot integration, where he led the development of Cessna’s first engineering fixed base flight simulators.

Dale previously worked at Bombardier Learjet on the Lear 45 program filling several roles in airframe, flight controls, and system design.  He started his career as a structural designer on the Atlas/Centaur rocket at General Dynamics Space System Division.

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.

TOM PUGH

Vice President, Engineering 

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.

DARRIN LOFGREN

Vice President, Operations

Darrin directs the Business Operations Unit responsible for tying together the critical functions of Manufacturing Services, Environment, Health and Safety, Quality Assurance, Facilities and Physical Security for TSC.

Through his prior work at Northrop Grumman, General Electric Aircraft Engines, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and his own company Aerospace Tooling & Metrology Darrin has composed 30 years’ of experience in aerospace production, manufacturing, and R&D. Darrin has worked on multiple programs such as B-2, J-stars, A-320, Boing 717, 10 tanker, F-22, F-35, as well as classified and private projects where he acquired and applied skills in tooling, manufacturing engineering, tool design, metrology, and production.

Darrin has earned certificates in Systems Engineering and Manufacturing Engineering from Cal Tech and UCLA respectively. He comes from a family rooted in aerospace as his grandmother worked for Beechcraft and his father worked as an ME for various companies across the country.

MELISSA HANSON

Vice President, Business Services and Infrastructure 

Melissa leads the Information Technology, Supply Chain, Finance and Materials and Logistics teams that are key to providing business services and infrastructure for TSC.

Prior to TSC, Melissa was at Meggitt Safety Systems for over five years leading the development of the supply chain supporting new product introduction programs to the large OEM’s and large government aerospace customers. Melissa transitioned into Meggitt’s Control Systems Strategic Business Unit driving strategy to optimize the global supply chain across Meggitt sites.

Prior to joining aerospace manufacturing, Melissa worked for Amgen as a Global Strategic Sourcing Manager in their Corporate SS&P department overseeing their global travel program, Business Jet, and software solution implementations.  Over the last 20 years, Melissa has developed a strong background in Supply Chain, Information Systems, Financial Strategy and Organizational Behavior.

Melissa has a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Systems and a Masters in Management and Organizational Behavior from California Lutheran University.  She is also certified in Supply Chain Management and is a Certified Information Privacy Professional.