Partnership Development Lead within the Exploration Technology Office, NASA Johnson Space Center
Sam Gunderson is the Partnership Development Lead within the Exploration Technology Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. The partnership team within JSC is working to enhance stakeholder relationships to “propel the space economy,” and help evolve how the Center uses partnerships now and in the future. Specifically, bringing JSC competencies to help industry manage their risks in support of meeting NASA mission objectives.
Prior to returning to JSC, he was a director on the business development team at Blue Origin from 2012 to 2020. During that time, he was instrumental in building successful relationships by working early in product lifecycle development with advanced programs and engines businesses which resulted in the establishment of several partnership agreements. Sam worked closely with community stakeholders to shape the environment to find balance in meeting both customer and Blue Origin objectives.
Prior to joining Blue Origin, Sam was a minority owner of Cimarron, a small business supporting the space system development and operations community. He also was a senior finance manager at Boeing on the ISS Program and champion of new human spacecraft business development.
Sam spent three years as a contract specialist at the Environmental Protection Agency in award and administration of contracts for research and development. His aerospace career began when he functioned as co-op in Shuttle procurement and then as a program analyst in the Lunar and Mars Program Office at NASA JSC.
Sam earned two B.B.A.’s in finance and accounting from Texas A&M University and a Master’s Degree in Studies of the Future from the University of Houston – Clear Lake. He is also a CPA in the state of Texas.
Gunderson is married to wife, Charlise, and has two daughters, Bristol and Annika.