Leadership

Leadership

Dr. Daniel Baker

Director

In his role as LASP’s director, Dan is responsible for setting and implementing policy regarding its scientific, technical, and educational mission. He has led the largest research institute at CU Boulder since 1994.

Dan simultaneously serves as a professor in three University of Colorado Boulder departments, including Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences, Physics, and Aerospace Engineering Sciences. He conducts research in space instrument design, space physics data analysis, and magnetospheric modeling, with a primary research interest in plasma physical and energetic particle phenomena in planetary magnetospheres and in the Earth’s vicinity. In total, Dan has published more than 900 papers in the refereed literature and has edited nine books on topics in space physics.

Dan is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He is a member of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. Dan is currently an investigator on several NASA space missions, including the Geospace Dynamics Constellation, the Magnetospheric MultiScale mission, the Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe, and the Van Allen Probes mission.

Dr. Frank Eparvier

Associate Director for Science

As LASP’s lead scientist, Frank manages the institute’s portfolio of scientific research projects and programs and 175 scientists. Because the external environment in which LASP operates is continually changing, Frank works to recognize these changes and to help understand what the implications are so the institute remains competitive and the research. Prior to his current role, Frank worked as a LASP researcher for more than 25 years. He’s an expert in measuring the Sun’s output of light energy and has served as the principal investigator for the EXIS instruments aboard the NOAA GOES constellation of weather satellites. He earned a Ph.D. from CU Boulder in 1991 and is the author or co-author on 75 publications.

Stephen Ettinger

Deputy Director, Finance and Operations

Stephen leads LASP’s administrative division, which includes human resources, financial management, contracts and compliance, and facilities and operations. Collectively, these departments provide crucial support for the laboratory’s development of new technologies and approaches to space science. Stephen brings to LASP nearly 25 years of experience in finance, budgeting, strategic planning, and human resource management at several research institutions, including the National Science Foundation’s NOIRLab, UNAVCO, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.

Randy Siders

Deputy Director, International Programs

Randy provides strategic leadership for all of LASP’s international programs. He coordinates the resources and services necessary to support each international research sponsor’s program strategies and goals, including risk, program, and financial management. Randy simultaneously serves as LASP’s executive associate director for finance and operations, overseeing all of the institute’s administrative, financial, and operational plans and support strategies. Prior to joining LASP, he worked as a commercial and federal aerospace program manager and a Marine Corps aviator. He has received numerous military awards and the 2022 Outstanding Partner Award from CU Boulder’s Vice Chancellor of Research.

Thomas Sparn

Director of Engineering

As the leader of LASP’s engineering division, Tom oversees the institute’s 48 active flight programs and 250 professional and student employees. After beginning his career at LASP as the flight dynamics lead on NASA’s Solar Mesosphere Explorer, he worked as a senior manager at the High Altitude Observatory at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. He rejoined LASP in 1997 and has since served as the program manager on numerous NASA projects, including SORCE, TSIS, and CLARREO before assuming his current role. Tom has a M.S. in Aerospace Engineering and has received numerous honors, including a NASA Agency Honor Award and the Robert H. Goddard Award for TSIS-1.

Jerry Jason

Director of Mission Operations and Data Systems

Jerry has more than 25 years of experience in spacecraft operations and mission management. Before joining LASP in 2018, he worked in the private sector leading the operations of complex geostationary and CubeSat satellite constellations. During his earlier tenure at the NASA Johnson Space Center, he served as the lead flight director for the International Space Station for multiple expeditions, vehicle dockings, and extravehicular activities. He also supported more than 30 space shuttle missions. For these accomplishments, he has earned multiple honors, including two NASA Exceptional Achievement Medals and a NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal.