Wes Faler is inventor of the patent-pending ConstantQ™ plasma thruster which uses laser pulses to drive instabilities in non-neutral plasma. He has 13 years of research in ion and plasma thrusters. The thruster will fly on a low-earth-orbit satellite in late 2015. Wes owns Fluid & Reason, LLC, a consulting firm that creates scientific simulations. He has created genetic programming software to automatically create embedded control algorithms for lunar mission communications. Mr. Faler was a keynote speaker at the NVidia GPU 2012 conference where he spoke on his pioneering work in this field. Wes has 20 years experience as an executive managing small teams. Prior to Fluid & Reason, LLC, he cofounded a software development company and participated in over 500 projects in 14 years. Technologies ranged from embedded hardware design using sonic networks to high-speed lights-out automated manufacturing control systems. Mr. Faler has created software that flew in space onboard the KickSat 3U CubeSat in 2014. In addition, he has been software team lead for the Part-Time Scientists, a Google Lunar XPrize team that won $750,000 in Jan. 2015 for its rover and subsystems. He now is the fearless leader of Miles Team and guides the team through a decisive yet collaborative and considerate manner.

Frank Fomby has more than 20 years in industrial automation in the metals and coatings industry. His skills include electronics design, embedded controllers, Programmable Logic Controllers, process measurement and control, network communications, and computer programming.

As a former member of the Federation of Societies for Coating Technology (FCST) he developed a novel method of predicting coatings application properties in industrial processing based upon physical properties and offline measurements.
He has worked in the design, development, installation and commissioning of CO2 and Multi-Gas laser cutting systems up to 8kW in power. In addition he successfully installed and commissioned more than $100 million dollars worth of industrial manufacturing equipment in over a dozen countries. In the field of thermal oxidizer he has commissioned thermal systems operating at 1600 degrees Fahrenheit with mass flow rates exceeding 40,000 SCFM to achieve a VOC destruction rate of 99.8% efficiency.
He is a lifelong space enthusiast and a former team member of the Google Lunar X-Prize team, Part-Time-Scientists.

Frank now is one of the main specialists and project drivers of Miles Team. His enthusiasm drives the progress and team spirit.



Don Smith has been building and programming computers since 1976. For the last 25 years he has been the software designer of a variety of high speed non-destructive inspection equipment using cameras, lasers and eddy current, with a focus on real time data collection and analysis.

Recently he built financial software for a subscriber based website service that collects and analyses large sets of financial market data (stocks, options and futures) in real time.

He has been designing and building micro satellites primarily to test high voltage ion generation technology engines.

He has been writing code for MOVES (Motor Vehicle Emission Simulator) using Java. EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality uses the system to model emission and estimates emissions for mobile sources covering a broad range of pollutants and allows multiple large scale data analysis.

All of the above use a variety of skills including mechanical drafting, designing and building printed circuit boards, microcontroller programming, Windows programming for user and hardware interfaces for high speed analog and digital data collection. He programs both Windows and Linux (servers and clients) using C++, Java, and MYSQL amongst other languages. He is also designing and building websites using Java script, PHP, HTML, CSS, and MYSQL. He has used a variety of microprocessors including Atmel, MicroChip and TI.

He has two patents; one for an ion engine, the other is for a software algorithm that is used in high speed inspection of hex bolts.

Don is now one of the main experts for technological development at Miles Team, whose skills and experience span several crucial fields.



Charles E. Bucher has more than 20 years of entrepreneurial, engineering, manufacturing, and executive management experience. His experience includes hands-on fabrication of mechanical and electrical prototypes, 3D CAD modeling, circuit design, PCB design and layout, and 3D printer and laser cutter prototyping.

As co-founder and VP of Engineering at Peak Solar, he is responsible for all engineering and solar project development activities for the company. Peak Solar, is a global solar energy development and consulting company and provides its Commercial and Utility-scale clients with equity Partners, qualified Project Buyers, long-term Financing, and a supply of Tier 1 PV Panels, Inverters, Mounting Structures and other system components.

He co-founded Solar Power Industries, a vertically integrated manufacturer of solar ingots, cells and modules, and served as President, Chief Technology Officer and Chief Manufacturing Officer and has extensive experience in engineering, product design and development, manufacturing, and corporate management. He worked for Lockheed Space Operations Company on the NASA Space Shuttle program as a Systems Engineer. Responsible to troubleshoot and repair ground support electrical equipment (GSE) that powered the Space Shuttle Orbiter and Launch Assembly. Highlights included collaborating with Design Engineering to establish a fully automated system to activate the Solid Rocket Boosters and External Tanks battery systems. He was responsible for hardware design and programming in Visual Basic and designed data acquisition and automation equipment for use in the Battery Laboratory using NI LabView hardware and software.

His strong entrepreneurial background as a prolific inventor has resulted in more than 50 patents to his name. His principal focus is now on small satellite technologies, primarily directed to electric propulsion thrusters and fuel delivery systems. He received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Florida.



Bill Shaw is a lifelong entrepreneur. Except for a short stint as a project manager for local government, he has been founding and running technology businesses since 1987. After graduating from the University of Tampa with a degree in Management Information Systems, he co-founded a consulting company providing data modeling, applications design and development to government agencies. This led to a seven year engagement as a project manager for Hillsborough County, Florida where Bill established the first countywide digital network and communications system servicing 6,000 internal customers. In 1990, he developed a networked business application providing customer management, point of sale and inventory control to a specialized vertical market. This product suite grew to become the top solution in this market with customers across the United States and in several foreign countries. Although that project ended in 2004, there are still active installations running to this day. Bill’s current business venture, Inanimate Reason, develops and teaches technology and robotics skills to students. He also founded Tampa Hackerspace, a community not for profit workshop offering classes, space, and fabrication tools to all ages. Bill, as the executive chairman and director of the Tampa Hackerspace and in addition to his technical experience, is providing Miles Team with a physical location to build, experiment, and a locale from which to tap local talent for fresh ideas, perspectives, and knowledge for the Cubequest Challenge!

Seth Dennis is an avid process improver, project driver, and entrepreneur. He had two successful small businesses, one in contracting/construction and the other in real estate management, before graduating college in 2008 with degrees in Business Administration and Economics. In addition he has two engineering grants awarded to his name.

Since college, Seth currently works for Citigroup and has driven and completed projects in the areas of resource location strategy, capital management for $200 million dollar technology infrastructure budgets, cloud strategy, data analytics dash-boarding/business intelligence, product management, UX design, database consolidation, yearly investment project budgeting process improvement, and, most recently, migrating analyst operations from Florida to Warsaw, Poland and Budapest, Hungary.

Seth assists, coordinates, and tackles a wide array of initiatives for Miles Team so that our specialists involved in technology development can enjoy longer stretches of uninterrupted work on the team’s competitive, technological advantages.

Seth Dennis

J. Kent graduated cum laude with Honors from the University of Southern Florida where he did work bridging the Engineering and the Arts department. He is trained as a blacksmith, leathersmith, bronze and aluminum foundry technician, craftsman, mold-maker, movie prop articulator and he routinely enjoys playing with bizarre materials and getting them to do things that most people would consider near supernatural. He is trained in XHTML, CSS, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Blender and a myriad of other software programs used to take things from the digital realm into reality.

He is the owner of an Artisan company where, for the last 11 years, he has taken private commissions that have ranged from building machines that fired axes at 70mph to giant robots that could be moved by blowing into a tube from across a room. He has a long history of taking on projects with obscure parameters and getting them to work on a shoestring budget. He also does contractor work for Integrated Scientific Systems and other local companies which range from network technician to computer troubleshooting.

“When it comes to bizarre requirements, I relish a challenge that makes me pause and think.”

J. makes Miles Team “put its best foot forward” in the 3d rendering and animation department to better help enthusiasts of all different backgrounds of the public to have a better insight into what we do as Miles Team.



Alex Wingeier began his professional career in the high technology sector assisting in the hyper-growth of a Fortune 100 electronics manufacturing service provider. During his tenure, his troubleshooting ability and voracious appetite for knowledge regarding anything computer related, allowed him to quickly rise in the ranks of the Information Technology department. His breadth of knowledge and unique skill set lead to his selection for the Mergers and Acquisitions team. It was in this arena he honed his management skills. Working around the world and faced with multiple cultural and economic situations, Alex lead the technological integration of over 35 sites worldwide.

From there, Alex went on to help design and build the foundation for the technical infrastructure of a Major Music Themed Amusement Park built in the U.S. and subsequently went on to found 2 companies; one a nationwide Real Estate and Demographics Search Portal and the other a Managed IT Services Company.

Alex now serves as the infrastructure, support, and business engagement and advisory end of Miles Team.

Humna Khan is currently the Technical Director of OPT, Inc., a manufacturing consulting firm of 30 years, primarily focusing on establishing Quality Management Systems within Aerospace organizations in the United States. Since 2007, she has also been serving as an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering, Computer Science and Technology at California State University Los Angeles (CSULA) – being their youngest faculty member in history. Humna was previously the Program Administrator for the NASA Supplier Process Control Training (SPCT) Program headquartered at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. She was the chief liaison of the SPCT Program across the nation, involving the participation of all 10 NASA centers and over 13,000 NASA suppliers. Additionally, she was a representative of the NASA Speakers Bureau since 2005, receiving the NASA Peer One Award for Procurement Quality Assurance Supplier Interface Team. Prior to joining NASA, she participated in various technical projects with Google, Ernst & Young and Lockheed Martin.

Humna holds four educational degrees and two post-graduate certificates. Her first Masters of Science degree is from CSULA in Computer Information Systems. She graduated Summa Cum Laude, emphasizing in Artificial Intelligence and Neural Networks. Her second Masters of Science degree is from CSUDH in Quality Assurance Engineering for Aerospace, with an emphasis in Space Systems. Humna also holds two Baccalaureate of Science degrees, graduating Magna Cum Laude in Communications Technology and in Business Administration Management with a minor in Economics. She followed her professional education with post-graduate certificates in Non-Profit Management from the University of California Riverside and in Small Business Management & Technology from the University of California Los Angeles. She also holds a professional certificate as a Senior Systems Manager (CNSSI No. 4012) from the National Security Agency and as an Information Systems Analyst from the Institute for Certification of Computing Peripherals.

Sydnie comes to Team Miles with 10 years of professional experience in software development. A life-long space and air enthusiast, in high school she drove a fuel truck at a local airport and was and never able to abandon the desire to work in aerospace.

She returned to school and was graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, Arizona, with a Bachelors of Science in Aerospace Engineering. As her capstone project, she and her team designed and fabricated a CubeSat launcher and demonstration CubeSats.

On Team Miles, she is working on the ADCS, sensor hardware integration, and other software components.

Tim DeBenedictis has been writing astronomy software since his high school days. After graduating from MIT in 1993 with a degree in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary science, Tim found himself in Silicon Valley when the internet boom began. He held engineering positions at several financial services and technology companies throught the dot-com boom, and returned to his “astronomical roots” after the bust. As product architect at Carina Software from 2004 – 2010, Tim oversaw the development of the Voyager astronomy software through multiple OS releases and revisions. Tim was also one of the two principal designers behind the award-winning SkyVoyager iPhone app.

Tim currently resides in San Francisco, California. In his spare time, he enjoys cycling, backpacking, skiing, and sailing on the San Francisco bay.

Jan McKenna worked in purchasing and production control/inventory control for 15 years.  She and her husband ran a consulting business focusing on software design, CAD detailing for the automotive and fastener industries, patent drawings, and IT support.

For Team Miles, documentation and technical writing has been a primary focus, and she is co-lead of the safety team.

Jan returned to school, graduating in 2007 as a certified Alexander Technique teacher. She is also a quilt artist and teaches quilting.

HD Bradford is a graphic artist. She helps Team Miles design graphic art and layouts for publication. She is certified in Lightwave, web design, and fluent with Adobe Creative Suite. She graduated from Saint Petersburg College with training in Arts and Journalism. She enjoys working as an entrepreneur of several online businesses, including fine art sales at Basin Street Gallery. She spends her free time reading, writing, and creating at Tampa Hackerspace.

Associate Team Members

Tracy Ingram

Tracy Ingram

George Papabeis

George Papabeis


Elwood Wingeier



Denise Oates

Aaron Stern


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