Jim Bridenstine, former administrator of NASA and a previous Wash100 awardee, has joined Acorn Growth Companies, an Oklahoma City-based private equity firm focused on investing in defense, aerospace and intelligence companies, as a senior adviser.
“Jim’s wealth of knowledge in the space, military, aerospace and engineering sectors will be invaluable to Acorn and its portfolio companies as we continue our mission to invest in operating companies that strive to enhance global mobility, protect national interests and develop next-generation intelligence capability,” Rick Nagel, managing partner of Acorn, said in a statement published Monday.
“He will play a key role in our efforts to deploy capital from our newest investment vehicle, Acorn Aerospace & Defense Fund V,” Nagel added.
Bridenstine became the 13th administrator of NASA in 2018 and led the agency in advancing U.S. space exploration, science and aeronautics objectives. Under his leadership, the space agency launched the Artemis manned lunar exploration initiative and established the Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program.
He previously served on the House Science, Space and Technology and Armed Services committees while representing Oklahoma’s 1st congressional district. He was executive director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium in Oklahoma and served in the U.S. Navy as a pilot flying E-2C Hawkeye and F-18 Hornet aircraft.
“Innovation is found in small and mid-market companies,” Bridenstine said. “I’m excited to join this firm and work with disruptors that provide needed innovation to the aerospace and defense industries.”