A corporate partner and satellite practice co-head, Steve Kaufman uses industry knowledge and versatility to negotiate and close many types of deals globally.
For 18 of his 30 years at the firm, Steve served as outside general counsel for satellite clients, leading strategic joint ventures, “bet-the-company” contracts, financings, and M&A.
What Steve does best: understanding complex business issues and translating them into legal documents. If a client can describe something, Steve can draft it. Working from complicated to simple, he has many times reduced a lengthy contract into a few pages of bullet points, showing the client what it needs and how to obtain it. He has even written a business and financing model for parties in the form of an agreement. Many clients comment that the business guidance from Steve is as valuable as the legal advice.
Steve relies on his familiarity with issues common to satellite and communications companies to give him an edge in negotiations. This experience produces extra benefits when Steve deals with specialized satellite contract terms, targeted warranties, creative covenants, use of insurance to close gaps, license and spectrum issues, and even finance and accounting matters. According to Chambers Steve Kaufman is “a real authority and somebody who will always know the answer.”
In advising clients, Steve emphasizes practicality, striving to achieve the client’s business objectives for the transaction, whether economic, risk reduction, regulatory/compliance, or transaction speed. This carries over into deal management as well as negotiations, where he willingly takes the lead. Steve and satellite practice co-head Randy Segal are regulars at the satellite conferences, making connections among clients and even adverse parties. He is listed in Chambers, Super Lawyers, and Legal 500.Curt Blake
Curt Blake is president of Spaceflight’s launch services group and previously served as senior vice president and general counsel. Curt has led efforts to expand Spaceflight’s global network of launch service providers while building relationships with key commercial-, civilian- and defense-related customers. Over the last several years, Curt oversaw the company’s growth from its early commercial rideshare launches on the Antares and Soyuz vehicles to become the industry’s rideshare leader and the world’s first commercial spaceline.
Curt brings more than 25 years of executive experience in high-growth and tech industries, with past experience including a range of senior executive and general counsel roles at Microsoft, Starwave, Corbis and Aldus. He’s a current and active board member of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation and the Seattle-based Pacific Science Center, as well as a contributor to numerous small-satellite conferences.
Growing up in Thailand and Ethiopia, Curt is a student of the world and still enjoys traveling for work and pleasure (but don’t ask him to take a middle seat).Dr. Marino Fragnito
Marino Fragnito has joined Arianespace in March 2016 to manage the Vega Business Unit. Since February 2018 he is also in charge of the overall Vega sales, marketing & business development activities in Arianespace and in November 2020 he has been appointed Senior Vice President and member of the Arianespace Executive Committee.
In this capacity, he manages the overall Vega activities and controls its associated Profit & Loss.
From January 2009 until March 2016 he served at the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) as Launch Services Manager. He previously covered different positions in industry, he began his career in Cannes, at Alcatel Space Industries, as mechanical engineer on telecom satellite projects and then joined ELV (European Launch Vehicle, an AVIO and A.S.I. company) in 2003 were he was later appointed Head of Mechanical Systems Development in the frame of the Vega development program. Before joining EUMETSAT he was also Head of the launcher design department at AVIO.
Marino Fragnito has a MSc. (Laurea Magistrale) in Aeronautical Engineering and holds a Ph.D. in Aerospace Science and Technology.
Stella Guillen has joined the Isar Aerospace team in May 2021 as the Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) responsible for all Strategy, Business Development, Sales and Marketing activities.
For the past 4 years, Stella served as VP of Sales & Marketing for Arianespace, Inc. managing all aspects of Arianespace’s launch services sales and marketing activities for US and Canadian clients. She was also responsible for working with companies developing LEO constellations and small satellites providing global satellite communication services, remote sensing, and earth observation services, and science and technology.
Stella’s background spans the satellite industry, from telecommunications to launch services: From 2010 to 2016, Stella was building up and overseeing sales efforts and client relationships for SpaceX signing its first European customers. She joined the company at an early stage of the Falcon 9 / Falcon Heavy program.
Moreover, Stella worked in different Sales positions for some of the largest satellite fleet operators, such as SES, Inmarsat, Eutelsat, Hispasat Intelsat and others wining more than $1B in sales.
Stella holds a MBA from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Loyola University.
Jarrod is a Senior Sales Manager at SpaceX responsible for sales and commercial business development efforts for SpaceX’s small satellite rideshare customers. In this role, he focuses on deepening the relationship between SpaceX and the worldwide small satellite community. SpaceX’s SmallSat Rideshare Program provides small satellite operators with competitive pricing, increased flight opportunities, flexibility, turnkey service and—most importantly—a ride to space on the world’s most advanced and proven launch vehicles.
Jarrod holds a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan, a master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech, and a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California.
Dr. Giulio Ranzo
Giulio is CEO of Avio SpA since October 2015. He is also a board member of Arianespace SA, Europropulsion SA and Regulus SA in France. In 2016 he founded In-Orbit SpA, and investment vehicle through which he co-invested with 50 Avio managers, acquiring a 4% share of Avio’s capital. In 2017 he listed Avio on the Milan Stock Exchange on the STAR segment with over 70% free float.
From 2011 to 2015 he was Senior Vice President Corporate Strategy of the Avio Group and worked on the de-merger of the aero-engine business, which was sold to General Electric in 2013. In 2014-2015 he supported the post-merger integration with GE Aviation.
Between 2007 and 2011 he was Co-General Manager and CFO of the Italian activities of Cementir Holding, an international group operating in the building materials industry.
Giulio started his career in Booz Allen Hamilton, a global strategy consulting firm where he worked in the period 2000-2007 as Associate, Senior Associate and Principal within the Global Aerospace&Defense practice for several clients in Europe, US and Middle East.
Giulio holds a Laurea cum laude in Civil Engineering from the University of Rome and a PhD in Structural Engineering from a joint program between the University of Rome and the University of California San Diego (UCSD). Between 1996 and 1999 he was a Graduate Research Assistant and Development Engineer at the University of California San Diego and he has co-authored a number of scientific publications on international journals in the domain of Structural Engineering.
Giulio was born in Rome in 1971, he is married and he has two children.