Jane Poynter

Chairwoman and President, Co-founder

Ms. Poynter is a Paragon co-founder. Ms. Poynter is co-designer and patent holder for Paragon’s Autonomous Biological System, a long duration plant and aquatic animal life support system that flew on the U.S. Space Shuttle, the International Space Station and the Russian Mir Space Station. She served as SPACEHAB’s Chief Scientist for its Ecosystem in Space experiment on the International Space Station, and conducted three experiments with ants, bees and fish, which flew on STS-107, the Space Shuttle Columbia.

In 2009 the National Association for Female Executives awarded Ms. Poynter its Entrepreneur of the Year award. Her second book, Champions for Change: Athletes Making A World of Difference launched in November 2009 at the United Nations in New York, and is now a successful middle school science education program.

Prior to Paragon, she was a founding member of the Biosphere 2 Design, Development, Test and Operations team, and a crew member in the first two-year mission living and working inside the three-acre materially closed ecological system which supported the life of the eight human inhabitants. Demonstrating the viability of artificial biospheres, Biosphere 2 was designed for research applicable to environmental management on Earth and the development of closed loop human life support technology for long duration space travel. Ms. Poynter was responsible for the design and operation of Biosphere 2’s half-acre farm and associated food production systems. She authored The Human Experiment: Two Years and Twenty Minutes Inside Biosphere 2.

Taber MacCallum

Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer, Co-founder

Mr. MacCallum is a Paragon co-founder. He is responsible for overseeing business development, proposals, marketing, branding, customer relations, strategic partnerships, technology development and IP. Mr. MacCallum is co-designer and patent holder for the Autonomous Biological System, a long duration plant and aquatic animal life support system. He was also the design lead for the Jet Propulsion Lab Mars Greenhouse Experiment Module (GEM) payload, and Mars GEM payload environmental control and plant life support system. He conceived and is presently involved in the design of a novel Mars space suit portable life support system technology funded by NASA, life support and thermal control systems for commercial manned orbital and suborbital spacecraft, as well as hazardous environment life support technology for U.S. Navy divers, in which he is the test diver. In 2008, Popular Science named Mr. MacCallum Inventor of the Year.

Prior to Paragon, he was a founding member of the Biosphere 2 Design, Development, Test and Operations team, and a crew member in the first two-year mission. Mr. MacCallum was responsible for the design, implementation and operation of the atmosphere and water management systems as well as the self-contained paperless analytical laboratories for Biosphere 2 that tested air, water, soil and tissue. As a crew member he served as Safety Officer, Assistant Medical Officer and Analytical Chemist, responsible for operation of all the analytical systems and much of the medical analysis and health monitoring systems.

Mr. MacCallum has worked at every level of command on a research vessel, sailing to over 40 ports and over 30,000 miles around the world. Training in Singapore, he became certified as a Commercial Dive Master and Advanced Diving Instructor. He served as Dive Master for a project to reintroduce two captive research dolphins to the wild, underwater ship salvage operations, and deep water specimen collecting expeditions in every ocean and most of the world’s seas.

Grant Anderson, P.E.

Senior Vice President of Operations and Chief Engineer, Co-founder

Mr. Anderson is a Paragon co-founder.  He has been designing power, thermal and life support systems for human rated spacecraft since 1985.  Since 1999, Mr. Anderson has lead the Thermal Control System and Environmental Control and Life Support System design for every human rated spacecraft program undertaken by Lockheed Martin.  He served as the Principal Investigator for Diver Breathing and Isolations Systems that allow U.S. Navy divers to work in contaminated water.

He was also the PI for the development of a structurally integral Crew Exploration Vehicle (which has since become known as the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle) service module radiator technology, as well as single loop thermal control system fluids.  He was responsible for the cabin design and build of the first CEV mockup, now on display at Johnson Space Center; Engineering lead for experimental flight hardware on five shuttle flights, two Mir missions, a Russian Progress, and the first commercial payload on ISS; he also lead the engineering on a flight qualified Micro-gravity Cell Culture System. A founder of Paragon, Mr. Anderson has been designing power, thermal and life support systems for human rated spacecraft since 1985. He is presently the Program Manager for the Paragon Lockheed Martin Orion program. He and his team are responsible for interface control and vehicle schematics, as well as specific design responsibility for the service module radiators and overall spacecraft ECLSS tubing. Since 1999, Mr. Anderson has lead the Thermal Control System and Environmental Control and Life Support System design for every human rated spacecraft program undertaken by Lockheed Martin. He is currently the Principal Investigator for Diver Breathing and Isolations Systems that allow Navy divers to work in contaminated water. This new diving technology is currently undergoing full up dive testing. As Project Manager, he was in charge of setting up and staffing the Operations Department of Cargolifter, a large German airship development, which included crew training and simulation, cockpit design, operational scenario and mission rule development.

Previous experience includes being Chief Design Engineer for the International Space Station Solar Array Program at Lockheed Martin, the largest solar arrays ever built.  Mr. Anderson holds two degrees from Stanford University in Mechanical Engineering (B.S.) and Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering (M.S.) and is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of California.

Joel Johnson

Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Johnson has more than 10 years experience in a wide range of professional Accounting and Finance leadership positions.  Prior to joining Paragon Mr. Johnson spent three years at Raytheon Corporation in the Raytheon Missile Systems business unit where he maintained responsibility for the $4B+ Income Statement and was the lead interface for internal Earned Value Management Systems (EVMS) reporting.  Additionally Mr. Johnson worked in the Business Office as the Financial Planner of the Kinetic Energy Interceptor Program during some of its initial development and planning stages and in the Business Office of the Lockheed Martin/Raytheon Javelin Joint Venture.  Prior to joining Raytheon Corporation, Mr. Johnson was the Assistant Controller/Finance Manager at Columbia University’s Biosphere 2 Center overseeing all the Financial Operations of the organization.  Prior to the Biosphere 2 Center, Mr. Johnson spent several years in Big 5 Public Accounting working as an auditor for both Ernst & Young LLP and Deloitte & Touche LLP.  Mr. Johnson holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Arizona with double majors in Accounting and Finance and is also a Certified Public Accountant. 

Henry Konopka

Vice President Safety, Quality, and Mission Assurance

Mr. Konopka has thirty years of diversified work experience in quality management, quality engineering, configuration management, system safety, production, test and flight operations. He has been involved in manned flight, expendable, and commercial space flight programs. At Paragon, he is responsible for leading the system and industrial safety programs, maintaining the quality management system, and providing insight into issues and risks to ensure the highest probability of product compliance and mission success. Prior to joining Paragon, Mr. Konopka was the Senior Manager for Safety and Quality at Boeing for the Delta IV Launch Operations. He was responsible for establishing and managing the quality infrastructure in support of launch vehicle processing and launch operations. Mr. Konopka holds a B.S. from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Volker Kern, Ph.D.

Senior Director of Programs

Dr. Kern is an accomplished professional with experience in large-scale program/project management, process improvement, team leadership, R&D and technology development. He played a key role in securing a 7-year, $315 million NASA contract for Lockheed Martin, led 6 payloads on 2 Space Shuttle flights with team of 100+ scientists from US, Japan, France and Canada, co-managed $170 million-per-year program, coordinating operations at NASA field centers, and led an Independent Assessment team for the NASA HQ Contract Assurance Services (NCAS) Office.

While at NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC, Dr. Kern coordinated the proposal review cycle (NASA and International Life Science Research Announcement) including technical, tactical and scientific peer reviews. In addition, he facilitated the creation of a road map for the development of safe life support systems for long-term space exploration.

Dr. Kern received $2+ million grant funding from NASA and German Space Agency and served as Principal Investigator for experiments on 4 US Space Shuttle flights. He is the author of 21 peer-reviewed papers published in scientific journals and is recipient of the NASA Public Service Medal, 2004, Lockheed Martin Space Operations "Top Flight” Award, 2002 & 2003, and the Thora W. Halstead "Young Investigators Award," American Society for Gravitational and Space Biology, 2000. Dr. Kern received a M.S. in Plant Physiology at the Ludwig-Maximilians Universität Würzburg, Germany, and a Ph.D. in Gravitational Biology at the Technische Universität München, Germany.

Barry W. Finger

Director of Life Support Systems

Mr. Finger maintains the technical excellence of the company’s Environmental Control and Life Support products through the diligent application of established procedures regulating engineering processes, coordinating ECLSS engineering with other internal and external technical organizations, and evaluating tools, personnel, and training.  He currently serves as the Inspiration Mars ECLSS Technical Lead and responsible for the on-time delivery of engineering hardware, systems, and data products. Previous significant roles at Paragon include Director of Advanced Concepts and Business Development, Commercial Crew Transport–Air Revitalization System (CCT-ARS) Project Manager, and ECLSS technical lead on the Excalibur Almaz and the Rocketplane Kistler programs.  Prior to joining Paragon, Mr. Finger served as the ECLSS Manager for Bigelow Aerospace where he led a lean team of engineers and technicians that developed ECLSS for commercial human spaceflight vehicles.  During his time at Bigelow, the team successfully launched the first two long-duration inflatable spacecraft into low earth orbit.  Mr. Finger previously served as the International Space Station (ISS) Sustaining Engineering (SE) Program Manager for Honeywell where he managed ISS SE activities related to the support of company flight hardware and systems aboard ISS.  He also previously served as an ECLSS design engineer for Hamilton Sundstrand at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) and the Dynamac Corporation at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC).  Mr. Finger received a B.S. and M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Florida.

Kristin Behrens

People Department Director

Kristin Behrens is the Director of the People Department, and is responsible for supporting the unique and wonderful corporate culture at Paragon.

Ms. Behrens has over 15 years of experience in a wide variety of professional and leadership positions.  Included in that experience is over 12 years of professional HR experience, as well as experience in finance and contracts. She has been PHR certified and holds her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.

Prior to joining Paragon, Ms. Behrens spent the majority of her Human Resources career in the healthcare industry, where the highlight of her experience included the implementation, management, and maintenance of all Human Resources functions and activities for the opening of a new hospital.  She has also been passionate about community and volunteer activities since she was young, and currently is the Human Resources Chair and sits on the Board of Directors for a local non-profit, community services organization.