Zaheer Ali

Positon Inc.

Zaheer Ali is a respected expert on space technology and policy, an agilist, leader, and technologist. He is now COO at Positon Inc. a Managing Partner at New Space Finance, and a Professor of Practice at Thunderbird School of Global Management, which is part of ASU. Previously he has served in executive positions at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, directing strategy for High Performance Compute, ThinkOrbital which is building a 4th generation space station and at Space Railway. He is invited to speak around the world on space, artificial intelligence, the future of work, and how to help enterprises become agile. As both a professor and entrepreneur he advises several companies in the New Space Sector. He also served as a Senior Manager at USRA, leading aviation data sciences, artificial intelligence, quantum sciences, and nanotechnology for the NASA Ames NAMS contract. He was formerly a senior member of the project management office for NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) with responsibility for all software products and safety and quality of all USRA work on SOFIA. Previously he built science instrumentation and the laboratory facilities for SOFIA and stood up their science ground operations. In addition, he managed science ground support on multiple deployments around the world. Zaheer is also a founding executive for Material Mind, an applied AI science company, and AIXIA Global, an Industry 4.0 technology integration and digital/agile transformation company. He is trained as a research physicist which has resulted in patents, an R&D100 award, and over 40 authored or co-authored publications. He has also worked as an engineer and manager of teams and programs for the US Department of Energy’s Nevada Test Site where he co-founded the National Center for Nuclear Security, worked as a Principal Investigator and Shot Director at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics of the University of Rochester and consulted as a micro/nano device (MEMS) engineer.

Zaheer is a 1st generation American of India ancestry and Muslim faith. He is also a practicing Stoic and has been honored to be part of a Maori Whanau and wears his 3rd generation Punamu with pride. His perspectives on space and the future are a consilience of Easter and Western ideas with an inherent integration of indigenous wisdom.

  • E-MGM: Thunderbird School of Global Management, Global Management
  • BA: University of California at Berkeley, Physics