Register for the 2015 Annual Technical Symposium

Register today for the 2015 Annual Technical Symposium (Friday, June 5, 8:00am, NASA/JSC Gilruth Center)!

  • $15 for AIAA Members
  • $20 for Non-AIAA Member Students
  • $25 for Non-AIAA Members

Lunch buffet included in the registration cost

Continental breakfast (including coffee) provided in the Alamo Ballroom during registration

See more information on the event page.

2015 AIAA Houston Election Nominees

AIAA Houston Section 2015 Election

Each year the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Houston Section holds an election amongst AIAA Members in order to choose leaders for the next year. The AIAA Houston Section Year runs from July 1st through June 30th. TThose that have been nominated to serve the section from July 1st , 2015 through June 30th, 2016 are listed below and have provided brief statements so that the Membership may know a little more about those on the ballot. The term for Councilors is 2 years so they will serve from July 1st, 2015 through June 30th, 2017 helping to provide continuity of knowledge for the section.

A Note For AIAA Members:

Members should receive the 2015 election ballot via the email you have registered at by 4/10/2015. If you did not receive your ballot via email please double check that your membership and email information is up to date at the national website. If it is and you would like to vote then please email us at providing your name and membership number at which time we will send you the ballot. Voting is open to all AIAA Houston Members until April 30th, 2015.


Candidate – Alan Sisson

Short Biography

Alan Sisson is a systems engineer for the International Space Station’s Vehicle Integrated Performance, Environments, and Resources (VIPER) office. He holds a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas (UT), and a master’s degree in systems engineering from University of Houston Clear Lake. He has been involved with AIAA for a number of years. In college, Alan served as an officer in the UT student section of AIAA for three years; first as social chair, then treasurer, and finally as vice-president.

A brief candidate statement of your qualifications and why you want to serve in this capacity

After completing his undergraduate degree, Alan requested to join AIAA-Houston, and was appointed programs chair. As programs chair, Alan organized Nicholas Johnson’s dinner meeting, Douglas Terrier’s dinner meeting, the 50th Anniversary Celebration, and the end-of-year awards ceremony. In 2012 he was elected to the position of counselor, where continued to take an active role in the planning and organization of AIAA dinner events, as well as assisting with the planning of the 2014 Yuri’s Night celebration. In 2014 he was elected to the position of Vice-Chair of Operations. As VC of Operations, Alan was responsible for organizing and hosting the 2015 AIAA Region IV Student Paper Conference, after taking over from the previous SPC chair.

Alan is deeply passionate about the field of aerospace, and is highly dedicated to AIAA. He hopes to be an active contributor to the organization for many years to come.


Candidate – Fred Ouellette

Short Biography

I graduated from Texas A&M in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.  My human space flight career started working for Rockwell as a Space Shuttle Flight Controller.  In 1989, I was hired by NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) Engineering Directorate as a shuttle subsystem manager working extended duration orbiter and Shuttle/MIR.  In 1994, I received a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Houston and then in 1995, I detailed to Hamilton Standard in Connecticut, to work on the ISS Pump and Control Valve Project.  From 1997 to 2004, I worked in the Shuttle Program Orbiter Project Office as the Electric Auxiliary Power Unit project manager and various branch management positions.  In 2004, I detailed to NASA Headquarters as the Deputy Business Manager for the Science Mission Directorate and in 2005 I was selected as the Assistant Manager for Technical Resources within the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and the Contracting Officer Technical Representative for the Lockheed Martin MPCV Contract. In 2011 I was detailed to the Commercial Crew Program (CCP) Office to work the request for proposal for the Interim Design Contract for commercial crewed vehicles. In 2012 through my NASA retirement in July of 2013, and I was detailed to Kennedy Space Center as the Deputy Manager for Orion Production.  After retirement, I was hired by Special Aerospace Services in Boulder Colorado to support Boeing Commercial CCP activities near JSC.  I have been a member of ASME since 1985 and a member of AIAA since 2013.

A brief candidate statement of your qualifications and why you want to serve in this capacity

During my career, I have managed small to large project financial budgets within the Space Shuttle Orbiter Project Office and the Orion Project Office.  In my current position with Special Aerospace Services, I manage, track and record the expenditures of a $4 million subcontract budget with Boeing. All of these positions have required the development, approval and execution of different size budgets.  My MBA and 20 plus years of managing small to large project budgets should prepare me to manage the AIAA budget for the upcoming year.


Candidate – Lea Hougland

Short Biography

I grew up in Miami, Florida.  I attended the University of Central Florida and attained both a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Education.  I taught as an elementary teacher for 11 years, 4 of which were spent in Orlando, FL. My husband and I moved to Clear Lake in December of 2006.  I taught for 7 years at Ed White Elementary STEM school in Clear Creek ISD.  My 6-year-old son now attends as a kindergartener and is thrilled with his teacher and the school.  In June of 2014, a Training Coordinator position opened up at Lockheed Martin/JSC. I jumped at the chance to work for NASA and thoroughly enjoy my job. I began working there in August of 2014. Within the Human Research Program and ISS Medical Projects, I coordinate crewmember training, build training plans, create lesson plans, and provide feedback to the trainers.

A brief candidate statement of your qualifications and why you want to serve in this capacity

I am a very detail-oriented person.  I am skilled at planning, coordinating, and communicating effectively with fellow coworkers.  I am eager to learn as much as possible about all aspects of the space program and feel that the position of Secretary will help me to do just that. 

Vice-Chair Operations:

Candidate – Ashley Nelson

Short Biography

Ashley Nelson is currently a systems engineer working the Orion program for Lockheed Martin in Houston, TX. Her responsibilities include requirements, verification, and integration of the Environmental Control and Life Support (ECLS) subsystem for the Systems Engineering Integration Team. Prior to this position, she worked at Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth as a systems engineer, performing avionics integration test on the F-16, FA-50, and new T-X competition. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2010 with a BS in Electrical Engineering and BA in Mathematics. In addition she has an MS in Systems Engineering from SMU and will complete her MS in Engineering Management this May. She has been an AIAA member since 2011.

A brief candidate statement of your qualifications and why you want to serve in this capacity

 Before taking my current position in Houston, I had been the vice-chair of the North Texas chapter of AIAA for almost two years. Since moving to Houston, I have still participated in the planning of chapter events, but have, for obvious reasons, been unable to attend.  I was also involved in the planning of AIAA AVIATION 2015, which will take place in Dallas, TX in June, as a local liaison. Before serving as vice-chair, I was appointed as the membership director for a year. I have a strong passion for AIAA. I bring the experience of previously serving as an elected officer, as well as the diversity of coming from a different chapter. I look forward to serving the members of the Houston chapter of AIAA.


Candidate – Laura Sarmiento

Short Biography

Laura Sarmiento began her involvement with the aerospace industry during her junior year of high school where she participated in the Texas Aerospace Scholars program with Johnson Space Center. Laura continued to be involved with JSC as a cooperative education student while completing her Bachelors of Science in Neurobiology from The University of Texas at Austin. She began working full time at JSC in 2007 as an Experiment Support Scientist for the International Space Station Medical Project (ISSMP) supporting the Bioastronautics Contract. She currently is a Flight Project Manager with ISSMP. 

A brief candidate statement of your qualifications and why you want to serve in this capacity

For the past two years Laura has served as Programs Chair for AIAA Houston. Planning the events for the section allowed her to interface with many AIAA members and gauge the interests of the section. Her status as a voting member on the Executive Council also provided knowledge of the Houston section’s priorities. As a counselor, Laura hopes to bring her expertise to the new Executive Committee to help the AIAA Houston section continue to thrive.

Candidate – Jennifer Wells

Short Biography

Jennifer Wells decided to work in the space industry when she was ten years old. She graduated with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Texas A&M University in 2009 and an M.S. in Systems Engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 2014. She is currently employed at UTC Aerospace Systems as a Systems Engineer.

A brief candidate statement of your qualifications and why you want to serve in this capacity

I have been active in AIAA since 2006; first as a student with the Texas A&M chapter, and then as a young professional and Senior Member in the Houston Section. My roles have included Publicity Chair and Vice Chair for the Texas A&M chapter of AIAA, and Honors and Awards Chair (2012-2013) and Treasurer  (2013-2015) for the Houston Section. I would like to serve as a Houston Section Councilor in order to continue my involvement and responsibility within AIAA. I believe my experience and efforts will be valuable contributions to the Executive Council and the section. I would like to expand the Houston Section’s influence in AIAA and industry, government, and education. Specifically, I would like to increase AIAA’s influence on public policy and STEM outreach as it relates to AIAA’s mission. Thank you for your consideration for the position of Councilor of the Houston Section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Candidate – Douglas Yazell

Short Biography

I moved into our NASA/JSC community in 1992 and have been active in AIAA Houston Section since 1999, when Merri Sanchez was our Chair. My 1981-2011 Honeywell aerospace engineering career started in the Tampa Bay area and my BSEE is from the University of South Florida. Nine years later I earned a master of science degree in engineering from the University of California, Irvine, mostly from the mechanical engineering department, where several professors specialized in robotics. My studies there included kinematics, dynamics, and control systems. My work experience includes space shuttle entry flight control (field service engineering at the famous customer site in Downey, California, 1983-1988), space station guidance, navigation & control (field service engineering at the McDonnell Douglas customer site in Huntington Beach, California, 1988-1992), and the NASA Orion crew vehicle entry mode team flight control (4.5 years). Born in Alaska before it was a state, we moved every 2 or 3 years until I was 15 years old, thanks to my father’s career as an Army officer in the transportation corp.

A brief candidate statement of your qualifications and why you want to serve in this capacity

In addition to volunteering for occasional tasks, I can advise AIAA Houston Section based on my experience as a Past Section Chair (2007-2008) and a past Editor for our newsletter, Horizons (2011-2014). I volunteer in several roles in our Section, though it is best to appear only once on our Section’s organization chart of as many as 45 people. As a Councilor, I would be one of the 20 voters on our Section’s Council. I enjoy volunteering in other AIAA roles, too, including Regional, national, and international roles. For example, I am a member of the editorial board of the monthly AIAA magazine, Aerospace America. I brought climate change science & public policy sessions to our Section’s Annual Technical Symposiums of 2013 and 2014, and I will propose another such session for 2015, joined by a Rice University climate scientist. An urgent need exists for citizens, journalists, and specialized professional bodies representing scientific fields to get involved with climate change, especially in the presence of successful movements employing things such as the Tobacco Strategy and the claim that all science is 100% political if results imply conflicts with free market fundamentalism. Thank you in advance for considering me as a Councilor candidate.

Candidate – Zach Tejral

Short Biography

Zach Tejral received his Bachelors of Science in Engineering Physics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2013. Over the course of earning his degree, Zach worked as an undergraduate research assistant in the Space Physics Research Laboratory, as well as completing three internships. Zach is currently a Payload Integration Engineer working for MEI Technologies, Inc. in the Department of Defense Human Exploration Payloads Office, Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas. Furthermore, Zach is pursuing a Master of Engineering in Space Operations from University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

A brief candidate statement of your qualifications and why you want to serve in this capacity

My interest in space began as a young child stargazing on clear nights in rural Nebraska. Since then, I have maintained the passion of being involved in the space industry and I carry that passion into my membership with AIAA. This past year, I had the honor of serving the Houston AIAA Community by serving as secretary. If elected as a Councilor, I will continue to bring my passion and ideas to the Executive Council of the Houston Section of AIAA. I look forward to the challenges and responsibilities associated with the role of Councilor, and appreciate your consideration.

Candidate – John DiIorio

Short Biography

Mr. DiIorio graduated from the University of Minnesota, College of Science & Engineering in 1974 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, power and propulsion. He graduated from the United States Army Management Engineering College in 1975 with a diploma in Quality and Reliability Engineering. Mr. DiIorio has over 40 years of experience in the Defense, Aerospace, and other related industries. He has served as president, secretary, treasurer, councilor of single, chess, volleyball, and bowling organizations. Currently, he is serving on two professional committees for ASQ and NOMADS. He applied for Obama’s ‘car-czar’ and NASA Administrator positions in 2010. He has given many professional speeches and tutorials including three for the NASA/AIAA ATS. He has written 75 technical reports in the last 15 years, sending them to Bush and Obama officials. Lastly, he created the “Outside the Box Thinking Award” for Houston’s science and engineering fair projects that ‘mirrors’ his own national security work.

A brief candidate statement of your qualifications and why you want to serve in this capacity

Mr. DiIorio’s main reason to serve as councilor is provide his unique body of knowledge and experience to the local chapter. Also, he has contacts and additional skills to maintain and meet any organizational metrics and create new events and member services. Finally, his “outside the box thinking” would lead to stronger viewpoints as needed.

Candidate – William “Bill” West

Short Biography

I began work at JSC 27yrs ago with Rockwell Space Operations Company (which later became United Space Alliance) in the Flight Design and Dynamics group working on entry trajectories for the Space Shuttle and later as a Shuttle Flight Control and Propulsion Instructor in the MOD Training Division.  As an Astronaut and Flight Controller Instructor I had the privilege of being part of the training team for the first Cosmonauts that flew on the Shuttle as well as the first Shuttle-Mir docking.  I then moved to GHG Corporation working as a Shuttle Main Propulsion System Safety engineer and later in the ISS EVA Safety Group where I worked the first ISS assembly missions.   In 2000 I accepted a position with Hamilton Sundstrand working in the EVA Project Office as an ISS EVA Increment Manager.  I’ve been with Hamilton (now called United Technologies Aerospace Company – UTAS) ever since in a variety of different engineering and management roles, including the Project lead for EVA 2010 (an effort focused on continuing EVA support of the ISS post-Shuttle) and in my current position as the ISS Liaison to NASA and Boeing for the ECLSS and thermal system hardware supplied by UTAS for the ISS.  I hold a BS degree from Parks College of St. Louis University in Aerospace Engineering and an MS in Space Science from UHCL.

A brief candidate statement of your qualifications and why you want to serve in this capacity

I’ve been a member of AIAA since 1982, and a continuous member since 1989.  Over the years I’ve been the Chair of the AIAA-Houston EVA Technical Committee and have participated in several AIAA conferences as a panel chair as well as a presenter, most notably at the International Conference of Environmental Systems. I’ve also been actively involved in STEM outreach to the community and have been a judge at the yearly Houston Engineering and Science Fair since 1989.   Being an AIAA Councilor will enable me to continue being an active participant in AIAA-Houston as well as being a mentor to young engineers just beginning their careers. AIAA has a lot to offer, and the AIAA-Houston section has always been one of the most active professional organizations at JSC.  I look forward to serving as a Councilor and helping to continue that tradition of excellence.