UA Center for Economic Development Lands Kellie as Entrepreneur-In-Residence

Mar 16, 2023 | Education, Right Moves


The founder of an Anchorage aerospace firm is lending his business acumen to aspiring entrepreneurs. The University of Alaska Center for Economic Development (UA CED) signed Ben Kellie to serve as Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR). In this role, the CEO of The Launch Company can apply his years of experience to coaching, mentoring, and broader entrepreneurial ecosystem building.

“Working with entrepreneurs to grow Alaska has always been a passion of mine. I have been a big fan of the work CED is doing to mentor new entrepreneurs in Alaska, and I am looking forward to playing a part,” says Kellie.

Kellie has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from UAF and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Ohio State University. Kellie worked in rocketry at SpaceX, designing and operating launch sites, and he ran the first missions to return a first-stage booster from orbit. In 2021, Kellie’s startup, The Launch Company, was acquired by Voyager Space. He remains its CEO.

“Ben is a longtime collaborator with UA CED, someone we often turn to for feedback about our work supporting entrepreneurship in Alaska, so it was a natural fit to invite him to join us as our EIR,” says Nolan Klouda, UA CED director. “As someone who has experienced the peaks and valleys of an entrepreneurial journey, Ben has a unique perspective to share, and will be a fantastic resource for early-stage entrepreneurs.”

Kellie joins UA CED now that Katherine Jernstrom is wrapping up three years as Entrepreneur-In-Residence.

“Katherine’s commitment to the entrepreneurs we worked with really showed, as did her approach to honest feedback and continuous growth in our programming,” says Klouda. “Our programs, especially the Upstart Alpha Startup Accelerator, grew and matured to a huge degree thanks to her effort, and we appreciate the time and effort she dedicated to UA CED.”

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