Ms. Blackwell is a Program Executive at NASA HQ within the Space Technology Mission Directorate Office. Kira’s vision for an innovative program within NASA to strategically identify entrepreneurs developing cutting edge technologies that have both an Earth and agency application, is how NASA iTech was formed. NASA iTech provides a platform to evaluate the technologies and an opportunity for the startups to leverage private investment dollars for further development. In the first 24 months of the program, the startups were able to leverage $363 million dollars in private investments funds, creating a unique model at a nominal cost to the federal government and successfully working with both entrepreneurs and investors. Ms. Blackwell previously managed her own consulting business helping innovative startups succeed. Her previous positions include serving as the Executive Director of Operations at Chrysalis BioTherapeutics Inc., the Director of Strategic Relations for the Houston Technology Center (HTC) at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC), facilitating local and international partnerships to leverage JSC’s innovative technologies, capabilities, and expertise. Prior to joining HTC, Ms. Blackwell served as the Director of Strategic Relations for Jacobs Technology, one of the largest engineering service contractors for NASA.