Tech Moves: AWS names first head of space policy; WeWork Labs leader joins Alexa Fund; Moz co-founder leaves board – GeekWire

Peter Marquez. (Planetary Resources Photo)

Peter Marquez has joined Amazon Web Services as the first head of space policy.

“There are many exciting things happening in the space community and this is going to be awesome,” Marquez said in a LinkedIn post announcing his move. “I can’t wait to work with all of you in my new endeavor.”

A former director of space policy for the White House’s National Security Council under the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Marquez was most recently a partner at the consulting firm Andart Global.

Amazon — and CEO Jeff Bezos — is not shy about its ambitions in space. Among recent advancements, AWS recently unveiled an Aerospace and Satellite Solutions business segment devoted to developing data infrastructure and cloud services for the industry. And after gaining FCC approval for Project Kuiper — a constellation of 3,236 satellites that would provide broadband internet access across a wide swath of the globe — Amazon said it would invest more than $10 billion in the project.

Elizabeth Scallon, WeWork Labs Northern California and Northwest. (WeWork Labs Photo)

Elizabeth Scallon has joined Amazon’s Alexa Fund to help the tech giant engage startups in artificial intelligence and voice technology.

Scallon was the head of WeWork Labs for California and the Pacific Northwest for two years. She announced she was leaving in a LinkedIn post last week.

“I have worked with incredible founders, partners, and coworkers, where I truly felt we were making an impact on the world for the better,” Scallon said.

Asia Orangio, left, and Tara Reed. (LinkedIn Photos)

— Search engine optimization company Moz added two new board members.

Asia Orangio is CEO and founder of DemandMaven, a mentor for both GrowthMentor and TinySeed, as well as an advisor of Atlanta Tech Village. Tara Reed is the CEO of Apps Without Code, an online school teaching people how to build their own profitable apps. She is a TEDx speaker and previously led marketing initiatives at Google, Foursquare and Microsoft.

Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz and co-founder and CEO of SparkToro, will be stepping down from his board position. He said he is a “tremendous, longtime fan” of both new members.

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Sarah Warn, left, and Selina Farrand. (LinkedIn Photos)

— Seattle online immigration services startup Boundless promoted Sarah Warn to vice president of growth. Warn previously spent time at Bulletproof, TigerOak Media, Expedia and MTV Networks. She’s the co-founder of AfterEllen, a prominent LGBTQ pop culture website.

Selina Farrand is the company’s new vice president of finance. She previously was head of strategy and chief of staff at Daily Harvest and worked in finance at UBS Investment Bank and private equity at Abry Partners.

Boundless announced a $7.5 million investment round this month that helped fund the acquisition of its rival, RapidVisa, and will fuel expansion of its own tools and products.

Kai-Mei Fu, left, and Krysta Svore. (LinkedIn Photos)

Kai-Mei Fu, an associate professor of Physics and Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Washington, and Krysta Svore, general manager of Quantum Systems with Microsoft Research, have been named to the National Quantum Initiative Advisory Committee.

The NQIAC was established to counsel the Trump Administration on ways to ensure continued American leadership in quantum information science, according to an August news release from the Department of Energy.

President Trump established the NQIAC by an executive order as part of the bipartisan National Quantum Initiative Act of 2018. The legislation accelerated QIS research and development investment and policy coordination across the federal government.

Leslie Pendergrast. (LinkedIn Photo)

— Human resources vet Leslie Pendergrast has been named chief people officer at Outreach, the Seattle-based sales engagement platform.

Pendergrast has held numerous senior human resources leadership positions including at Datalogix, Sourcefire, and Citrix Systems, where she grew the company from $24 million to $1 billion in revenue and 100 to 4,000 employees. She was most recently chief people officer at Code42.

Outreach also named five more strategic leadership hires:

  • Victoria Grady, vice president of product marketing. Grady previously led product marketing for Microsoft Azure and multiple worldwide startup programs at Microsoft.

  • Rajit Joseph, vice president of product management. Joseph previously worked at and XANT (formerly in lead product management roles.

  • Min Zhu, vice president of engineering. Zhu has more than 22 years of experience, including stints at Microsoft and Amazon.

  • Ella Dillon, vice president of customer success strategy & support. She joined from DocuSign, where she led customer success operations and global support.

  • Kara Blumberg, vice president of professional services & training. Blumberg previously oversaw professional services and deployment at HireVue and worked at SAP for several years.

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Jay Fluegel. (Jay Fluegel Photo)

Jay Fluegel is the new head of product for and mobile apps at Axon, makers of law enforcement tools such as tasers, body cameras, digital evidence management and more.

Fluegel was previously vice president of product for Expedia’s conversation platform, and left in February after five years with the travel giant. He also spent 15 years at Microsoft working on products including Xbox One, MSN Calendar, Messenger and others.

At Axon, Fluegel will work for Jeff Kunins, the CPO and EVP of software development who joined the company from Amazon last fall. Fluegel and Kunins worked together at Microsoft.

“After talking to Jeff, his infectious passion for both the company’s ‘Protect Life’ mission and laser focus on making sure everyone from law enforcement to citizens make it home safe, made it a no-brainer to join forces,” Fluegel said.

Kristina Adamski. (Zillow Photo)

Zillow Group has named Kristina Adamski vice president of communications and public affairs, where she will lead teams dedicated to business and executive communications, financial communications, public affairs, industry communications, thought leadership, brand and market public relations, and editorial content.

Adamski joins the Seattle-based real estate tech company with nearly 20 years of corporate and agency communications experience. She previously held executive communications positions at Tilray, Nissan North America, and Ford Motor Company, and spent eight years at communications agency Weber Shandwick.

David Bley. (LinkedIn Photo)

David Bley has stepped down after 14 years as director of the Pacific Northwest Initiative at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Bley made the announcement on Wednesday in a statement on the foundation’s website, writing that his work had been “the ride of lifetime.”

“Our team finds itself at a pivotal moment due to the pandemic,” Bley wrote. “Imagining the future of our work in this new context appropriately rests with new leadership that will conceptualize it, own it, and execute it. My accountability, as director, is to position the team positively for what comes next, and I feel we are at a point where a new leader can bring a different set of strengths to the task at hand tailored to the path forward.”

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Bley’s last day at the foundation will be Oct. 31. Allan Golston, president of the foundation’s U.S. Programs, will serve as acting director while a search for a new director takes place.

Shaunta Hyde has taken a role as director, global associate experience + HR communications, in Amazon’s Worldwide Consumer and Operations division.

Hyde previously spent six years at Alaska Airlines as managing director for community relations. In an email to professional contacts earlier this summer, she said she “worked hard to deepen programs, build meaningful partnerships and expand engagement that not only created social impact but helped build our national presence” at the Seattle-based airline.

Hyde previously spent more than 13 years at Boeing.

Gur Kimchi. (LinkedIn Photo)

Gur Kimchi has left Amazon after eight years with the tech giant, most recently as a VP working with Prime Air.

Kimchi shared the news in a LinkedIn post last week, saying that he was closing out “one of the most intense periods” of his work life.

His departure comes just after the Federal Aviation Administration approved Prime Air as an “official carrier.” The designation clears the way for Amazon to begin commercial drone deliveries in the U.S. under a trial program that lets small delivery drones fly beyond visual line of sight.

Kimchi previously spent almost 10 years at Microsoft. His LinkedIn does not indicate a new role yet.

Brian Burke is the new chief operating officer at StratusCore, the Seattle-based startup that helps digital content creators with cloud-based production technology.

Burke spent 14 years at the Seattle digital design agency Smashing Ideas, including the last five as CEO, before he left last September.



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