Meet the ASU Team

Mike Atwood  |  Chief Executive Officer

Mike Atwood has been an aviator for more than 40 years with a passion for aviation safety.  In 1995, Atwood founded ASU to deliver military technology that would improve civil aviation’s nighttime mission capabilities and improve safety.  Today, with over 25 years of continued success, Atwood focuses on new business development and international sales. He provides guidance and strategic oversight to ASU personnel who travel extensively, interfacing with our expanding network of operators, technical resources, regulatory bodies, supplier and manufacturers worldwide.  He maintains involvement with contracting operations in the U.S. and foreign military and other government and law enforcement agencies. Atwood was recognized for his significant contributions to nighttime aviation safety in 2011 when he received the Night Vision Lifetime Achievement Award.

 

Chris Atwood  |  Chief Financial Officer

With more than 20 years of public sector experience in management and information technology, Chris Atwood provides financial oversight of ASU as the Chief Financial Officer. Atwood joined ASU in 2004 and has since implemented critical systems and processes. Her drive to implement technology to streamline business operations coupled with her ability to effectively work with regulatory bodies has enabled ASU’s grow to serve new markets and greater geographies.

 

Dr. Joseph Estrera  |  President

Beginning with ASU in 2013, Dr. Joseph Estrera has built an expansive career within the night vision industry, spending over 20 years with L-3 Electro-Optical Systems engaging in the development of photomultiplier, image intensifier, and infrared technologies and products. In addition, Estrera was Principal and Co-Principal Investigator and System Architect in several major U.S. military soldier night vision system development programs over the last two decades. Estrera was vice president of advanced technology and chief technology officer for new product development manager in aviation, ground, and emerging market areas for ASU from 2013 to 2020. At the beginning of 2021, he was appointed as President of ASU replacing Mr. James Winkel who retired from this position at the end of 2020. He has also managed to find time to write numerous technical papers, patents, and industrial corporate awards in the areas of III-V semiconductors materials, image intensification, thermal infrared imaging and night vision systems. He is currently a member of the American Physical Society, SPIE, American Vacuum Society, and has been an assistant adjunct professor of physics at the University of Texas in Dallas since 1996 and, also, presently a member on the External Advisory Council of the Department of Physics of the University of Texas in Dallas since 2020.

 

Hannah Gordon  |  Chief Operating Officer 

With degrees in Marketing, General Business Management, Operations Management and a Masters of Business Administration, Hannah Gordon serves as the Chief Operating Officer for ASU. Gordon is charged with optimizing our company's operating capabilities, employing strategies to maximize customer satisfaction and ambassador for our company culture and engagement. Gordon is an experienced professional with a demonstrated history of working in the aviation and aerospace industry having served ASU for more than 20 years in roles including finance, human resources, facility management, IT management, marketing and sales.

 

 

 

Chad St. Francis  |  Vice President of Businsess Development & Marketing

After a distinguished career as an U.S. Army aviator, Chad St. Francis assumed a business development role in the private sector with Insight Technology. Later promoted to senior business development manager, St. Francis was responsible for L3 Insight Technology United States Special Operations Command and United States Air Force accounts. With his extensive business development and sales experience, with expertise in weapon mounted laser, range finding and night vision products he joined the Aviation Specialties Unlimited team in 2018 as the director of business development for military programs. St. Francis was promoted to the Vice President of Business Development and Marketing in 2021.

 

 

Pete Ferrero  |  Vice President of Operations

With extensive experience in sales management and business operations, Pete Ferrero joined the ASU team in 2014 as the Director of Sales with a focus on international account at reseller management. In his current role as Vice President of Operations, Ferrero oversees day-to-day operations to sustain the growth and ensure the financial success of business units within ASU. His special projects include the implementation of enterprise resource planning system and establishment of in-house manufacturing operations with an emphasis on lean and flexible production of new products.

 

 

Kip McDermott  |  Vice President of Engineering 

Raised in Idaho, Kip McDermott is also a veteran of the U.S Army. McDermott served in multiple roles to include Turbine Engine Repair and Test Cell Operator as well as Crew Chief for the UH1H, UH60 and CH47, giving him advanced knowledge in all aspects of aviation and industry experience extending to 30 years. As a licensed FAA Airframe and Power Plant Mechanic, as well as FAA Inspection Authorization, McDermott has held the position of Director of Maintenance, Quality Assurance, Chief Inspector, and Certification Manager throughout his career and most recently resides as Vice President of Engineering for ASU. Working at ASU since 2001, McDermott has been involved in more than 2000 aircraft modifications and has overseen the certification of over 100 Make Model STCs under FAA, EASA, TCCA, CASA and many other civil and military aviation authorities.