Mr. Cunningham draws from his
Astronaut, flying and business careers to inspire audiences
throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. He has entertained
listeners as keynote speaker at national conventions, corporate
retreats, venture capital industry conferences and governmental
Mr. Cunningham has
50 years of
diversified management experience accumulated during separate careers in the United States
Marine Corps, with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and in private industry.
MARINE CORPS FIGHTER PILOT
Cunningham enlisted in the U.S. Navy out of high school, and 18 months later was accepted for
pilot training. Cunningham took his wings and commission in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he
was one of the first Lieutenants to be assigned to a jet, all-weather, night
fighter squadron. Following six years on active duty, including 14 months in
Korea and Japan, he transferred to a Marine
Corps Reserve squadron and returned to college as a freshman. During 23
years in active and reserve squadrons, Cunningham flew most of the Marine
Corps' single engine aircraft, accumulating 4,500 hours flight time
including 263 hours in space. Most recently, he has flown the F-16 Viper and
the F-18 Hornet. He retired from the Marine Corps with the rank of Colonel.
Mr. Cunningham is perhaps best known as America's second civilian Astronaut.
In 1963, he was in the
last year of work on a Doctorate in physics, flying with a reserve
squadron, and performing classified studies at the RAND Corporation when he was selected as an Astronaut. During eight years with NASA he
specialized in electric power systems and complex systems analysis, and contributed to the
design, development and testing of all the major operating systems of the Apollo spacecraft.
In 1967, he served as a member of the Apollo 1 Fire Investigation Board and in 1968 he orbited
the earth 163 times as the pilot of Apollo VII - the first manned flight of the Apollo
Program. Apollo VII is still the longest, most successfull first flight of
any new flying machine - ever!
Following Apollo VII, he was named Chief of the Skylab Astronauts, where he was involved in
the design, development and integration of systems for the largest spacecraft, manned or
unmanned, ever placed in orbit, including five manned space modules, two different launch
vehicles and 56 major scientific experiments. These included the first manned systems
utilizing molecular sieves for environmental control, photovoltaic cells for electrical power
and inertial storage devices for attitude control.
Since 1971, Cunningham has been in private business in Houston, Texas. His experience includes
the presidency of two engineering companies with extensive overseas operations, an interactive
voice response company, and Vice President of Operations for one of the largest commercial
property developers in the U. S.. He has been involved in the start-up and early stage
development of more than thirty companies and financial institutions, including two national
bank charters and serving on the boards of 17 companies.
In 1979, he formed The Capital Group to provide merchant banking and consulting services to
entrepreneurs and to address the particular needs of foreign investors in the Southwestern
region of the United States.
In 1986, Cunningham, raised and managed the $18.7 million Genesis Fund. In 13 years as a
venture capitalist, he was responsible for a portfolio of 25 companies in all stages of
development. The Genesis Fund placed major emphasis on early stage investing in technology and
healthcare related companies, including nine start-ups. Eleven portfolio companies completed
successful public offerings. He still consults with early stage technology companies.
Mr. Cunningham, for three years, was an associate at the RAND corporation,
America's original "think tank." He has earned Bachelor's and Master's
Degrees in Physics and is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at
the Harvard Graduate School of Business. He has been a Director of numerous
public and private companies and is past Chairman of the Texas Aerospace
Commission. For four years, he was the host of Lift-off To Logic, a
live radio talk show. Over the past 40 years, he has been a professional speaker/lecturer throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. He is author of
"The All American Boys," a book about the human side of the space program,
and is listed
in all major Who's Who, and is a recipient of numerous national and international honors,
including election to the Astronaut Hall of Fame. Mr. Cunningham is married and resides in
Back to Top