There are no translations available.
In September 2003, a core committee was organized to explore the possibility of establishing a planetarium in Austin, Texas. After extensive research of similar organizations, this group concluded that a planetarium is economically feasible in Austin.
The Austin Planetarium was incorporated in December 2003, and received 501(c)(3) Federal nonprofit status in February 2004. The Board of Directors of the Austin Planetarium have taken the first steps, and we hope to engage the interests and involvement of the greater Austin community in a manner that will result in realization of the Austin Planetarium.
Meet the Board
|Torvald Hessel, Executive Director & President
Torvald Hessel was elected to the Board in 2003 and currently serves as Executive Director and President, additionally, he is an Adjunct Professor of Astronomy at ACC. He grew up in a small town in the northern part of the Netherlands, and received his Masters Degree in Astrophysics from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. During his graduate school he worked for several years at the Artis Planetarium in Amsterdam as a lecturer and presenter. He developed planetarium presentations and taught Astronomy on all levels, from kindergarten kids to adults and fellow Astronomers. In 1999 he immigrated to the United States and ended up in Austin, TX. Before he started working fulltime for the Austin Planetarium he worked for seven years as a web designer and programmer for the University of Texas at Austin and in 2005 he became a naturalized citizen.
|Lary Cotten, Vice President
Lary Cotten was elected to the Board at the November 2007 meeting, and after serving as Secretary for a year is now the Vice President. He is an electrical engineer specializing in the design and engineering of art, media, and entertainment technologies. Lary has spent the last couple of decades in Austin developing automated lighting, projection and control systems at High End Systems, managing electrical engineering for Frog Design, founding Open Labs, a manufacturer of audio and music production workstations, and creating installations for NAKA Media design and engineering. He now serves as the director of research and development for D2M Technologies, a locally based engineering and product development firm. After growing up in a school with a planetarium, observatory, theater and television studio, he came to Austin and never left. Lary often claims to be building a large telescope.
|Ron Johns, Secretary
Ron Johns was elected to the Board in 2003 and served as Board Vice President for five years. Currently he holds the Secretary position. He is a professor of geology at Austin Community College. Dr. Johns obtained his B.S with honors in Geology from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, then continued his education at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his M.A in Geological Sciences in 1987, and his Ph.D. in Geological Sciences in 1993. He was formerly the Chair of the Physical Sciences Dept. at ACC, and oversaw the college's programs in Astronomy, Engineering, Geology, and Physics. He is now the Assistant Dean of Math/Sciences at ACC's Riverside campus.
|Seth Roland, Treasurer
Seth Roland was elected to the Board in May 2008 and currently serves as Treasurer. He grew up in New Jersey and earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics degree from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. His varied background includes software development, project management and finance, and he currently works as an Investment Manager while still making a hobby of computer programming. He has served as a Treasurer and consultant in other Austin non-profits. Since arriving in Austin in April 2006 with his wife and two daughters (ages seven and four), he has wondered where the science museums and planetariums are. Now he knows.
|Craig Negoescu, Director
Craig Negoescu was elected to the board in December 2008. Since coming to Austin to serve at Bergstrom Air Force Base in 1982, he has made his mark in Austin in entertainment, business, engineering, art and science. After performing as a keyboardist and composer for local and national bands for several years, Craig gained experience at High End Systems and frog design before becoming an entrepreneur. Since 2004, Craig has founded several companies including Open Labs, edioma and NAKA media.
|Steve Rung, Director
Elected to the Board in 2004, Steve currently serves as backup webmaster for www.austinplanetarium.org. He spent his childhood in upstate New York, where the night sky is very dark – perfect for a boy to fall in love with the stars. Steve attended both Trinity University and the University of Texas at Austin, graduating from UT with a degree in Mathematics. Still an astronomy enthusiast, Steve currently works as an Assistant Director for the University of Texas. He is married and has two kids (ages thirteen and nine) who would love to go visit a planetarium in Austin.
Advisors and Honorary advisors (in alphabetical order by last name)
- Anne Adams-McCanse Adkins
Former board member and past President of the Austin Astronomical Society
- Dr. Barbara ten Brink
AISD Elementary Science Specialist
- Robert Brown
Development Manager, Long Center for the Performing Arts
- Dr. Mark Diaz
Principal, Cedars International Academy
- Russ Finney
VP & CIO Tokyo Electron, Chamber of Commerce board member
- Larry Forrest
Past president and CEO Glass Mountain Optics (retired)
- Sharleen Forrest
- Richard Garriott (Honorary Advisor)
Cosmonaut at Space Adventures
- Michael Johnson
Director of IT, Bridgepoint Consulting
- Alisha Ring
President Austin Technology Council
- Harvey Ring
- McCartney Taylor
President Blackbeard data Services