Scott Tibbitts | Founder & CEO, Starsys Research | Co-Founder, Center for Space Entrepreneurship | CEO, Katasi

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Scott Tibbitts is a technology entrepreneur and nationally recognized speaker on entrepreneurship. He is currently CEO of Katasi working in partnership with Sprint in the US and Telstra in Australia to deploy the world’s first cloud-based distracted driving solution. Scott and the Katasi story was featured by Katie Couric as part of her World 3.0 series on technologies that are changing the world.

Scott is the co-founder and Vice Chair of eSpace: The Center for Space Entrepreneurship; the only congressionally funded not-for-profit organization chartered with supporting the creation and development of entrepreneurial space companies.

Scott was the founder and CEO of Starsys Research Corporation (Starsys), a Boulder, Colorado space motor company that became the world’s leading supplier of mechanisms for spacecraft. Starsys was acquired by SpaceDev, and subsequently Sierra Nevada Corporation, now under contract to NASA to build Dreamchaser, a replacement for the Space Shuttle.

Scott received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin in 1980. After graduation, he moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to be a ski bum, and then to Colorado to work as a nuclear weapons engineer. In 1987 he founded Starsys, as a result of bringing a promising actuator technology to NASA with the suggestion it could be used to replace explosives on spacecraft. NASA concurred, and with Scott as CEO, Starsys became the world’s leading supplier of mechanical systems for spacecraft, with 150 employees and $18M in revenues. Products included mars rover motors, spacecraft docking systems, solar array pointing motors, and the cooling louvers for the Pluto Express spacecraft. Starsys track record of 3500 mechanisms flown on more than 350 spacecraft with 100% success is unmatched in the aerospace industry.

In 2006, Starsys merged with SpaceDev Inc, with Scott assuming the role of Managing Director. SpaceDev was acquired by Sierra Nevada Corporation in 2008. In addition to continuing to build world-class spacecraft mechanisms and spacecraft, Sierra Nevada has been funded by NASA to develop a replacement to the space shuttle, Dreamchaser.

Scott founded Katasi in 2010 as a result of a personal experience in 2009. He had been scheduled to meet with a VP of an engineering company, but on arrival found that Dave Sueper, the VP and a father and husband like Scott, had been killed two hours earlier in the intersection Scott had just driven through, by a driver that had been texting. Scott was motivated to bring together a team of technology entrepreneurs to form Katasi to develop the world’s first truly effective technical solution to distracted driving, Groove.

Scott is actively involved in the Colorado entrepreneurial community as a connector and mentor. Throughout his career as an entrepreneur, Scott has shared his experiences by writing in national publications and speaking internationally on a variety of topics including entrepreneurship, the unique nature of the space business and the creation of extraordinary corporate cultures. Scott was the recipient of the “Esprit Entrepreneur of Distinction” award in 1998. He is the holder of two patents for medical devices, three patents for spacecraft products and six patents for distracted driving technologies.

He has been active in the Colorado science and education community as well as being the official storyteller for Niwot Elementary School.

Scott lives in Niwot, Colorado with his wife Jackie, son Ryan and daughter Alyssa. He is an avid skier, mountain biker and the keyboard player in the garage band “Too Much Fun”, renowned for playing the same 40 classic rock songs in the same order for more than a decade.

2Sara Knudsen