Mission Control

UrtheCast aims to change the way we view the planet. UrtheCast has assembled an international management team of experienced leaders who have come together to change the Earth Observation industry.


Wade Larson
President and Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Larson has over 20 years of space sector experience with the Canadian Space Agency, MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA), and most recently as President and COO of UrtheCast. He also has extensive experience in space-related strategy formulation, business development, government relations, corporate development, and operations.

Fabrizio Pirondini
GM, Earth Observation and CEO, Deimos Imaging

Mr. Pirondini, co-founder and CEO of Deimos Imaging, is an Aerospace Engineer with almost 20 years of experience in the space sector. In his career he has covered all facets of the Earth Observation value chain, encompassing technical aspects, business development, strategy and management. After his role at the European Space Agency in Germany, in 2001 he co-founded Deimos Space, which is now one of Europe’s leading space companies. Until 2010, as Head of the Earth Observation Mission Analysis division at Deimos Space, he was responsible for the mission design and analysis of more than 20 Earth Observation missions. As CEO of Deimos Imaging since 2011, he led the expansion of the company into becoming one of the leading providers of satellite imagery. In 2014 he co-founded the PanGeo Alliance of EO satellite operators.

Issa Nakhleh
Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Nakhleh brings a wealth of experience as a financial executive. He received his professional accounting designation in 1989 and his MBA in 1995. Over the past 15 years, he has held CFO roles in several public and private technology companies in communications, solid-state lighting, and medical devices. Under his leadership, he helped grow many of these companies from startup to operating, profitable entities.

Dr. George Tyc, PhD
Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder

Dr. Tyc is a recognized leader in the space industry, having worked on numerous space missions and technology development programs over the last 25 years. As a Technical Director at MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA), he led multiple initiatives, including the development of MDA’s next-generation, high-resolution optical Earth Observation satellite system. He was also the Chief Engineer for the end-to-end system developed for the Earth imaging company RapidEye AG.

Jeff Rath
EVP, Corporate Finance and Strategy

In the past 17 years, Mr. Rath has gained extensive experience in all aspects of finance and capital market activities related to technology and digital media companies — specifically, equity research and technology corporate/commercial banking. Most recently, Jeff spent 14 years as a senior member of Canaccord’s global research team, and as a managing director within its technology equity research practice, covering location technologies and digital media.

Chris Hoeschen
EVP, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary

Chris brings over seven years of space industry experience to the UrtheCast team, having previously led the legal department at MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA), Canada’s premier aerospace company. Prior to MDA, Mr. Hoeschen practiced law at a preeminent Canadian law firm, out of its Vancouver office. With expertise in the fields of mergers and acquisitions and private equity, Mr. Hoeschen is instrumental in managing and guiding UrtheCast’s strategic direction and development across the entire organization.

Peter Duggan
EVP, Operations and GM, Engineering Programs

Mr. Duggan brings an exemplary technical management background and successful track record leading extremely high profile projects ranging from startups to large corporations. Before joining UrtheCast, Peter held multiple senior technical and management roles, including positions as Chief Engineer, CEO and COO, and spent 15 years leading large Space Programs at MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) With a Masters of Science in Engineering and a Masters Degree in Business Leadership (cum laude), Mr. Duggan skillfully bridges the worlds of engineering and business management.

Serguei Bedziouk, PhD
Senior Vice President

Dr. Bedziouk has built a distinguished career in the aerospace and advanced science industries. He brings over 20 years of extensive experience in international marketing, development, and contract negotiations at senior governmental levels with the Russian, Kazakh, Ukrainian, Japanese, and Chinese Space agencies. Serguei also spent 12 years working at the Canadian Space Agency and 11 years with RSC Energia, Russia’s premier space technology corporation.

Brendan Johnston
General Manager, Platform and Analytics

Mr. Johnston has an extensive and successful international track record leading teams in the technology and telecommunications industries. Having worked with global leaders such as Sony and Deutsche Telekom, he brings significant General Management, Marketing, and Business Development experience to UrtheCast’s executive team. Brendan holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of British Columbia, and an MBA from the London Business School.

Board of Directors

Wade Larson
President and Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Larson has over 20 years of space sector experience with the Canadian Space Agency, MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA), and most recently as President and COO of UrtheCast. He also has extensive experience in space-related strategy formulation, business development, government relations, corporate development, and operations.

Tye Burt
Chair of the Board

Mr. Burt brings vast experience in both the global mining industry and corporate finance. After a 16-year career in corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions, Tye has held the positions of President, Director, and Chief Executive Officer of Kinross Gold Corporation — one of the world’s leading gold producers — in addition to positions as Vice Chairman and Executive Director of Corporate Development at Barrick Gold Corporation, the largest gold mining company in the world.

Mac Evans

Mr. Evans has over 35 years of experience in the Canadian Space Program, and served as President of the Canadian Space Agency from 1994 to 2001. He led the development of unique partnerships between the Federal Government and the Canadian Space Industry that have been instrumental in the successful growth of the industry in the international marketplace. Following his retirement from the Public Service of Canada in 2001, Mr. Evans has been a consultant to the Canadian Space Industry and served as Chief of Staff for the Minister of National Defense in 2004.

Tish Long

Ms. Long possesses extensive experience in the intelligence and technology industries, most recently serving as the fifth Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) from 2010 to 2014. During her tenure at NGA, she led efforts to establish the agency’s first ‘Map of the World’ for intelligence users. Under her guidance, NGA became the first U.S. agency to adopt open-source software development to deliver its software to first responders for collaboration, during and after natural disasters. Among myriad accomplishments, Ms.Long was named one of the Most Powerful Women in the D.C. Metro area by Washingtonian Magazine in 2013.

Greg Nordal

Mr. Nordal has comprehensive experience leading content management companies in the publishing and business information industries. Not only has he led Nelson Education, Canada’s leading educational content provider, since 2008, Mr. Nordal is also experienced in the space technology sector, having previously served as a director at MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA). Mr. Nordal’s expansive executive history also includes the role of President of Canadian and International Businesses at Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) Corporation (DNB), a premier provider of online business information.

James Topham

James is an experienced executive with expertise in finance, business, and entrepreneurial technology companies. He was an audit partner leading KPMG’s Technology Group in the Vancouver office for 20 years, where he worked with many fast growing companies.

Since KPMG, Mr. Topham has worked on the Boards of both public and private technology companies. James received a lifetime achievement award from the BC Technology Industry Association and was awarded the designation of Fellow Certified Public Accountant (FCPA – previously known as Chartered Accountant) from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of BC for his career achievements. James founded Vancouver Social Venture Partners, which has provided several millions of dollars in funding, and thousands of hours of senior executive mentoring to local not-for-profit organizations in the innovation community.

Advisory Board

Peter Marino

As the former President and COO of Lockheed Electronics Co. Inc. and as a leader in the intelligence sector, Mr. Marino brings extensive experience in both government and private industry. While in the government, he held a number of senior positions, including twenty years in intelligence. Upon leaving government, he entered several leadership positions including Senior Advisor at Morgan Stanley and later Fairchild Industries Inc. Peter currently serves on several corporate boards, three of which he chairs: Advisor to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, DHS, Department of Defense (DoD), and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). Peter also serves as a Senior Executive Fellow at Harvard University.

Sunil Sharma

Mr. Sharma, a former member of Canada’s diplomatic service, currently holds the role of Managing Partner of Extreme Venture Partners (EVP), a seed-stage investment fund focusing on opportunities in the internet, mobile application, big data, cloud computing, and internet-of-things sectors. EVP recently launched its second fund, an encore to one of the best-performing venture capital funds in Canadian history. Sunil also serves as Executive-in-Residence at Communitech, the Waterloo-based technology catalyst, and co-founded Extreme Startups, one of Canada’s elite accelerator programs.

Steve Wallach

Mr. Wallach has over 38 years of experience in the defense, intelligence and civil communities. He currently serves as an independent consultant for National Security activities, supporting both government and industry. Wallach’s career includes more than 32 years with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), serving in numerous key leadership roles. Upon retirement from Federal service, Wallach joined GeoEye as Senior Vice President, National Security Strategy and after assisting with the merger of DigitalGlobe and GeoEye in 2013, he left and started his consulting business.