New NASA Executive on Loan to Serve at HTC
Our new NASA Executive on Loan, Walt Ugalde, recently began the one year program that connects NASA and the Houston Technology Center. After speaking with Walt, it was apparent his passion for working with emerging technology companies and NASA.
After graduating from Texas A&M University, Ugalde spent his twenties starting his own businesses and learning the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. He has vast experience working in both the private and government sectors and has successfully created public and private collaboration programs in both sectors. With experience crossing over multiple industries, he will be a great asset for the Houston Technology Center’s client companies.
Through the NASA Executive on Loan program, he will be the liaison between NASA and the Houston Technology Center. With 20 years in government vernacular, he will be key to connecting and advising many of the HTC Client companies. On a personal level, this experience will only add to his active role at NASA and the next steps to leverage the space industry smartly. “I want to be able to pull a technologist out of their NASA lab and connect them to other, smart, technologist across various industry clusters. I think good things happen when we begin to cross-pollenate varying business ideals and approaches with novel engineering solutions” Ugalde said.
Ugalde explained insights on where NASA is headed, “NASA’s business model is shifting, and we are seeing more integration with private companies specifically space flight and technology companies. Some are traditional government procured activities. While other relationships come in the form of non-traditional partnership and/or procurements that move outside of what one thinks of as traditional government channels.”
If you ever have a chance to speak with him, make sure to ask him about the electronic whale he worked with as a production assistant in the filming of the movie Free Willy. The Houston Technology Center looks forward to the added value and insights Ugalde will bring not only to our client companies, but the staff and mentors.