Profiles

Dan Bowen

Project Lead / Overall Systems Design

Photo of Dan BowenIn my free time I am a citizen scientist, amateur balloonist, inventor, and maker. I love doing this sort of thing, there’s so many unusual challenges.  We’re exploring the boundaries of the planet, materials, science and technology;  we’re expanding human knowledge, and most importantly – getting people excited about science. I’m a veteran of long distance amateur balloon flights, having set the amateur balloon distance record in 2008, leading the Spirit of Knoxville project.  I now offer balloon systems consulting to companies, scientists and amateurs.

Brad Luyster

Flight Computer Designer/Programmer


While not working feverishly on hardware and firmware for White Star Balloon, Brad is a Master of Engineering student and Research Assistant at the University of Louisville, in the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.  His experience ranges from robotics to controls systems to embedded firmware design, and his design for the White Star Balloon Project’s flight computer forms the cornerstone of all electronics design on this project.  His current research focuses on designing a security hardened RTU based on a microkernel architecture, and his other research interests include aerospace applications, rad Hardened software design, and computer communications.

Bill Piepmeyer

Founder and CEO, Solstice Inc.

I am the founder of Solstice Inc. which develops Manufacturing Execution Systems for the Pulp, Paper, Plastics, and Metals industries. I have been developing software since a very early age standing at the counter of local Radio Shack pecking away at the keyboard of their TRS-80 computer on display.  I enjoy working with hardware as well, it provides a great break from software.  I will attempt to fix / hack / customize just about anything. I believe if you don’t have the right part, just try to make it.

Tad Heckaman

I’ve been working at a local IT firm since 2003, specializing in networking and server virtualization for small to medium sized businesses. When not at work, my hobbies include ham radio, working with electronics and computers (and sometimes interfacing them with ham radio!), VoIP/networking, and more recently, helping with the White Star Balloon project.

Grace Simrall

Founder and CEO, iGlass Analytics

Grace’s experience with business intelligence (BI) began at the University of Chicago when she implemented an enterprise asset management system that would become the foundation for tracking operational efficiency across the university. Since then, she’s applied her BI expertise at iGlass Analytics to help companies in a wide variety of verticals (finance, retail, healthcare) achieve their BI goals. Her research experience in data analysis includes forecasting and modeling large climateology datasets and she applies these techniques along with her experience in flexible schema designs to the capture of telemetry data in the White Star Balloon Project. Grace received her SB in Geophysical Science from the University of Chicago and her MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Louisville, Speed School of Engineering.