Extended Résumé – 2011

In Professional by Steve Sliwa

Steven M. Sliwa

 Professional Experience:
Insitu, Inc
Bingen, WA
2001 to 2011


 Insitu is a leading developer of miniature robotic aircraft and provider of surveillance services. Grew firm in rural Washington starting with 4 employees and no revenue with uncompleted products in 2002 to over 800 employees and $400 million in sales in 2010. The ScanEagle UAV has flown over 400,000 hours of missions for customers in the US, Australia, Canada, Poland, and Singapore. Raised over $50 million in venture capital over 5 rounds, the last 4 were over-subscribed. Orchestrated a successful sale of the business to Boeing in 2008 netting exceptional returns for investors and employees. Remained at Insitu after Boeing acquisition for 2+ years to orchestrate transition and grew revenues another 3.5 times. Enterprise is well known in the industry for its disruptive business models, customer success focus, and energized culture. Insitu has won multiple awards for growth, innovation, start-up success, and community involvement. Sliwa recognized with several entrepreneurship awards including CEO of the Year in Washington [2007 Seattle Business Magazine].   As the business scaled, effectively transitioned from hands-on manager involved in every aspect of the business including leading all customer engagements to a strategic leader and coach.

Capital Synergy Partners LLC
Founder, Partner, Consultant
1998 to 2002

 Capital Synergy Partners enabled founder and colleagues to perform management and strategic consulting services. Activities spanned fund raising, venture investment due diligence, business plan development, new product launch planning, and corporate re-engineering recommendations including interim management roles for clients.

Served for six months as President of eRevenue, Inc, an e-commerce software developer for the management of receivables-based financing portfolios for banks and other financial institutions. Responsible for hiring marketing, sales, and development teams and personally re-engineered the software development process. Company was reorganized, refinanced, sold to Peregrine Systems, and then reacquired.

Served as the acquisition transition team leader and Interim Head of Platform 7 Ltd., a smart-card software systems firm in London, for the acquirer, Datacard Group. Assignment was to provide on-site management, develop a strategic/marketing plan, and implement a structure within 90 days to transform this well-respected ‘think-tank’ into a growing profit center.

Served as the CEO of New Colt Holdings Corp in Hartford CT for 1 year. Joined to lead small-arms roll-up and to launch ‘smart-gun’ concept (uses technology so it can only be fired by the owner). Personal goal was to help lead a technical solution to the political stalemate between gun enthusiasts and gun control advocates. Departed when funding for smart-gun was cancelled due to firearm industry lawsuits (since dismissed) and resulting market conditions.  Completed 2 acquisitions & re-organized into 3 business units.

Strategic consulting engagements included: Routematch Software, Presearch, Inventory Control Systems, Teccelerate, and Weider Publications.

 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Daytona Beach, FL
1991 to 1998

 Embry-Riddle offers over 50 undergraduate and graduate technical degrees primarily supporting the aviation and aerospace industries. Over 18,000 students are served annually at two residential campuses (Daytona Beach and Prescott, AZ) and over 100 teaching sites worldwide with more than 3,500 full-time and part-time employees. U.S. News and World Report ranked the engineering programs in the top 20 and Time Magazine referred to Embry-Riddle as “The Harvard of the Sky.”

At age 36, selected third President of Embry-Riddle, becoming the youngest university President in U.S. at that time. Took over during recession and stopped a 20% decline in student enrollments. Key strategies included empowering an entrepreneurial environment, augmenting customer service, benchmarking to create an external focus, fostering initiatives in 38 countries, embracing the Internet, and developing innovative strategic alliances with industry partners. Led lobbying effort to secure significant U.S. Congressional line-item appropriations. Guided university through two bond issues with Merrill-Lynch using ‘road-show’ approach to significantly reduce costs. University constructed eight major facilities under budget and ahead of schedule. Maintained positive operating margins (approx. 7%) and enhanced employee-morale even during recession, declining enrollments, and downsizing. Turnaround was successful as market share was substantially increased, new students were up 32%, and campus infrastructure was nearly doubled.

Seven-year tenure was marked by significant growth in academic quality, facilities, student-life, external relationships, fund raising, research, and athletics. ERAU transformed from trade-school image to one garnering high rankings in multiple fields.

 Integrated Systems, Inc
Vice President Product Development / R&D
Santa Clara, CA
1989 to 1991

 ISI was a highly regarded engineering-software company serving the aerospace, automotive, and real-time automation markets. Ranked in top 25 on Forbes list of Top 200 Small-Cap Public Companies based upon profitability and growth. Ultimately merged with Wind River Systems and then acquired by Intel.

Was part of executive team that completed a highly regarded IPO in 1990. Hired to lead product engineering and R&D functions. Significantly improved product quality through aggressive recruiting of talented personnel and implementing procedures for concentrating on delivering value to customers with a disciplined approach to decision making. Frequently worked with senior executives in major client corporations to build strategic partnerships and to market products to key accounts worldwide. Negotiated unprecedented multi-year technology research partnership with Nissan Motors Inc. of Japan.

NASA Langley Research Center
Asst. Division Chief – Guidance & Control Division
Hampton, VA

 Held several positions in progression at NASA starting as a research engineer and culminating in a senior management role. In that position co-managed a staff of over 125 professionals with a $22 million salary & research budget and $30 million in facilities. Was responsible for strategic planning, advocating new research, personnel management, budgeting of resources, recruiting new personnel, and technical line management of research thrusts. Noted for ability to identify issues, link multidisciplinary technologies, and build teams for pursuing innovative opportunities. Increased funded research programs 70% within two years. Effective presentations coupled with employee motivational skills were trademarks that led to position as youngest NASA division-level manager. Served as chairman of several national technology steering committees.

Assigned to HQ on a temporary assignment to the Controls and Human Factors Division as youngest acting NASA Program Manager. Maintained program oversight responsibility for 435 researchers and $60 million in research funds including all NASA centers. Excelled at long range planning, budget management, technical audits, and preparation of material for NASA, OMB, and Congressional advocacy.

 Other Significant Positions:

 WebAdept, Inc.
Founder & Chairman
1997 to 1998

 WebAdept was a web-services company for businesses. Specialized in lodging industry with over 30 hotel/motel clients. Provided web services for the Daytona International Speedway, Boston Whaler, and Seminole Tribe of Florida. Company was sold to a foreign concern.

 Sliwa Enterprises, Inc. (SEI)
Founder & CEO
1980 to 1988

 SEI was founded as an avocation to NASA duties (managed after-hours). Developed and brought to market 75 products utilizing over 45 consultants & 10 employees. Developed first computer tools to aid in studying for College Board exams and earned industry kudos for development of special product line for the blind. Ranked in the top 10 educational software firms based upon revenues in 1985 & 1986 (modest numbers). Successfully sold marketing rights in 1987. Donated rights to talking software to American Printing House for the Blind.


 Princeton University
Bachelor of Science in Engineering [1977]
Graduated Magna cum Laude in Aerospace & Mechanical Sciences

 George Washington University
Master of Science in Engineering [1978]
Completed 2-year thesis program in only 1-year funded by NASA Research Assistantship

 Stanford University
Ph.D. in Engineering [1983]
Sponsored by NASA career development program and completed thesis for Aeronautics and Astronautics department on Adaptive Control.

 Stanford University
Masters in Management [Sloan MBA Program Class of 1989]
Finished first in Sloan Fellowship class with specialization in entrepreneurship, management of innovation, and strategic planning.

Miscellaneous Information:

Current or Prior Not-For-Profit Board Memberships:

  • United Way Executive Board (Central FL)
  • Word Force Development Board (Central FL)
  • Gorge Technology Alliance
  • Jeppesen Foundation
  • Datatel Scholars Foundation
  • San Francisco Lighthouse for the Blind
  • Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center
  • Mid-Columbia Economic Development District (MCEDD)

Publications, Patents, Key Presentations

  • Published over 30 papers on topics ranging from aerospace design, multidisciplinary system optimization, adaptive control theory, econometric forecasting, and academic re-engineering. Received NASA awards for outstanding publications. Currently working on a book/website on leadership.
  • Have been awarded two patents (smart gun dock and air-start propellers for UAVs).
  • Presented numerous motivational speeches and graduation commencement addresses. Lectures regularly on entrepreneurship, leadership, and management.
  • Testified before various US Congressional Subcommittees four times on topics related to aviation, appropriations requests, education policy, and civilian airspace rules. Achieved significant appropriations earmarks for the benefit of not-for-profit and for-profit organizations.


  • Awarded several regional awards for leadership at Insitu (CEO of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year). Insitu also won awards for community support/philanthropy and numerous awards for growth.
  • Four NASA awards for outstanding leadership or engineering performance
  • Brereton Award by the Air Force Association for Contributions to Aviation
  • Honorary Doctorates from Embry-Riddle and Korean Aerospace University
  • Earned variety of academic awards, honors, and honorary societies including Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Gamma Tau, Delta Mu Delta, and Omicron Delta Kappa


Offered, but declined, tenure-track faculty position at Princeton University in 1983. Taught graduate level engineering course at George Washington University (1987 and 1988) as adjunct faculty member. Taught graduate-level honors course on Leadership and Entrepreneurship for the MBA program each spring while at ERAU.


Married to Nancy Sliwa with one grown child, Tabitha Colie. Hobbies include flying/soaring, computers, hiking, recreational basketball, and training of family’s pets. Wife is a former manager at NASA for machine intelligence and robotics and a former project manager at Bell South Internet. She is also an avid pilot and has started several small businesses. She enjoyed her role as ‘first lady’ at ERAU and led several outreach programs.

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