Executive Board

Leading the Way into the Stratosphere

The HAPS Alliance Board is comprised of thought leaders in their respective fields. They have in-depth knowledge and extensive experience in their areas of specialization, including telecom, aerospace, communication technologies as well as emerging applications of Internet of Things (IoT), regulatory policy development, and more. To learn more about our executive team and directors, please access their bios below.

To learn more about our executive team and directors, please access their bios below. 

Officers

President

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Ken Riordan

Principal Architect
Nokia Federal Solutions

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Ken Riordan is Principal Architect, Nokia Federal Solutions.  Prior to joining Nokia, Riordan was Head of Product Management, Connectivity Solutions at Loon LLC (an Alphabet company).  Loon was a pioneer in HAPS technology, having launched the first ever commercial HAPS networks.  While with Loon, Riordan helped to form the HAPS Alliance and served as the Alliance’s first President.

Throughout his career, Riordan has developed products focused on mobile devices and network equipment and worked to launch networks that span the full history of cellular communications standards, including AMPS, GSM, CDMA, WiMAX, LTE and 5G. Riordan served on the Executive Board of the Small Cell Forum and as Technical Committee Chair and Forum Vice-chair for the Wireless Innovation Forum (formerly SDR Forum). He has been a contributor to 3GPP and has supported regulatory and export control policy development for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Commerce (DOC). Riordan holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Treasurer

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Russ Van Der Werff

VP Stratospheric Solutions
Aerostar

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Russ Van Der Werff serves as VP Stratospheric Solutions at Aerostar.  Prior to this role he managed the Stratospheric Platform Design Team. Aerostar has been in the stratosphere since their founding in 1956, building systems for NASA, the US military, and commercial enterprises such as Loon.  Aerostar balloons have logged over a million hours in the stratosphere over the last five years.

With over fifteen years of engineering and leadership experience, Russ helped grow the Aerostar engineering team from a couple dozen to more than one hundred engineers, designers, and technicians.  He also serves as stratospheric ambassador, spreading the Gospel of Ballooning, and recently presented a HAPS-related TED talk

Prior to Aerostar, Russ was Director of Product Management for Sencore, a private company building video transcoders and satellite modulators for broadcast applications.

Russ holds Bachelor’s degrees in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Mathematics, as well as a Master's degree in Business Administration.

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Roser Roca-Toha is an aviation industry professional with more than 15 years of experience in the aerospace sector. She has occupied a variety of roles from engineering, programme management, business development and Sales & Marketing. Roser has operated internationally and lived in 5 different countries. Roser was appointed Head of UAS Product Marketing in Jun 2019, based in Munich, Germany. In this role, Roser and her team are in charge of analyzing the UAS market requirements, ensuring UAS products development aligns with the market and customer needs.

Executive Board of Directors

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Antje Williams

 

Senior Vice President in Group Technology
Deutsche Telekom AG

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Antje Williams is appointed as Senior Vice in Group Technology for Business Creation since April 2022. In 2024 she additionally took over satellite program lead for the group being responsible for the development of satellite connectivity offering in different aeras of DT, the negotiations with the satellite provider, the engagement in different publicly funded research activities and the ground network support for European Satellite Systems.

Prior to this she was product owner regarding 5G Campus Networks which she took over in October 2018. Antje started 2015 in the former CTO department and was leading for 3 years the 5G program within Deutsche Telekom focussing on standardization and the introduction of 5G.

Starting in 2010 Antje was Head of Inflight Connectivity and Managing Director of T-Mobile HotSpot GmbH (subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom). She was responsible offering WIFI access on board of 15 airlines (in 2014). Before joining Inflight, Antje was Head of Sales for the national Wholesale Department in Southern Germany for five years. She was responsible for the fixed line business with customers as Telefónica Germany, Kabeldeutschland, BT Germany among others. Antje started in 2001 in the Legal Department of Deutsche Telekom.

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Ayako Sato

 

Research Institute of Advanced Technology, Business Planning Department, Strategic Partnership Section
SoftBank Corp.
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Ken Hicks

 

Senior Executive, Business & Research Innovation Development
Capgemini Engineering

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Ken is a seasoned veteran in the areas of executive management, engineering services, solutions and sales, product innovation as well as global business development experience in the fields of: Aerospace, Aviation, Surveillance Devices, Missile Defense Systems, Ramjet, Pyrotechnics, Rocket Propulsion, Gas Turbines, Alternative Energy, Geothermal, Wind, Solar, Thermal Power Generation, Advanced Computing, Oil/Gas, Satellite and Telecommunication as well as extensive experience in R&D, Next Generation Technology Innovation and Implementation, Mechanical & Industrial Design, Manufacturing/Supply Chain coordination, International Sales & Marketing, Engineering Services, Project Finance as well as Mergers and Acquisitions.

Ken has extensive experience with start-up business development, large deal closures, global product innovation, industrial development, international project development, contract negotiations, IACMAC, Seaport NG, PPA/MOU/LOI agreements with senior corporate executives, academic institutions as well as political officials from many public, private and Government agencies throughout the US and abroad in locations such as: Africa (Central), Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Costa Rica, Dubai, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Haiti, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Middle East, New Zealand, Panama, Poland, Puerto Rico, Russia, Venezuela, Spain, Sweden, UAE and the UK.

Ken holds claim to a variety of patents and trade secrets related to power generation and alternative energy technologies such as the boundary layer turbine for waste heat recovery and gas processing, as well as wind turbine systems and ramjet engine subsystems. I have also held a "SECRET" clearance status, ATF Permit and have worked with many of the US Agencies like: DOD, NASA, USG, USAF, AFWERX, NAVY, NAVSEA, NAVAIR, NREL, Sandia Labs, DARPA, EERC, DHS, RRTO, SpaceForce and the DOE.

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Fatema Hamdani

Co-Founder and CEO
Kraus Hamdani Aerospace, Inc.

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Fatema is a futurist, TEDx speaker and a global citizen with a passion to solve problems with technology, specifically data and intelligence and connectivity. She has a background in building global business across various verticals, including Telecommunication, financial services, defense, and enterprise SaaS offerings. As Co-Founder and CEO of Kraus Hamdani Aerospace, she is focused on building a Triple Bottom Line company with equal focus on Profit, People and Planet and a vision to create connectivity and data/intelligence solutions across sea, land, air, and space using persistent non-stop aerial and high-altitude unmanned platforms.