Meet The Team

The Orion’s Quest (OQ) staff is comprised of current or former educators and administrators who understand what goes on in the classroom. The OQ staff are dedicated to helping teachers connect their students with the space-based research of world class scientists.

The Executive Team

Pete Lawrie
Executive Director

Mr. Lawrie is responsible for OQ administrative management and oversees and coordinates all of OQ operations. He holds a Master’s Degree in School Administration with a minor in Science from Eastern Michigan University and is certified to teach grades K-12. Lawrie’s career of over 30 years of experience in public schools includes assignments as a classroom teacher, program director and, for 17 years, a building principal. Following retirement, Lawrie worked for several years as an independent educational consultant to business and industry. Assuming a leadership role during the NASA supported “Ladybugs in Space” pilot program in 1998, Lawrie was instrumental in the successful conclusion of that activity. Since that time, he has led the conceptualization and definition of the Orion’s Quest program.

Tom Drummond
Chief Operating Officer

Mr. Thomas Drummond joined Orion’s Quest following a 36 year career in public education as a middle school science teacher and administrator in two different districts in Michigan. Mr. Drummond holds a Bachelor’s degree in Geology and Astronomy and a Master’s Degree in Science Education and School Administration both from the University of Michigan. Thomas also received an Educational Specialist Degree in Science Education from Wayne State University.

Karl Klimek
Chief Administrative Officer

Mr. Klimek is a career-long educator serving as an extraordinary classroom teacher, transformative school principal, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, and a key developer of the Maple Flight Aerospace Education program in the Walled Lake, Michigan schools. For 16 years he was the executive director of the Square One Education Network, a Michigan based non-profit foundation and leader the funds innovative STEM, project-based programming.   Karl has a B. A. Degree in Education from Central Washington University and a M. A. in Educational Leadership from Eastern Michigan University.  In 2017, he was honored by the Michigan Science Teacher’s Association by receiving the Mallinson Lifetime Achievement Award. This award is the highest honor that MSTA can bestow for contributions to science education in general and to the Michigan Science Teachers Association in particular. It recognizes extraordinary contributions to the advancement of science education through work at the local, state, and national level. A special proclamation-recognition by Governor Rick Snyder also accompanied this significant honor.

Angela Krause-Kuchta
Director of Education

Ms. Krause-Kuchta is a public classroom teacher in Menomonie, WI. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology, with minors in Chemistry and German and completed her master’s degree in Science Education with an emphasis on Biological Sciences in 2004 (both from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls).

Dan Loewen
Program Coordinator, West

More about Dan coming soon!

Brett Huffmaster
Business Service Manager

Mr. Brett Huffmaster has spent the last 12 years advising business principals and individuals on wealth protection and growth potential. In 2008, Brett’s entrepreneurial spirit and drive led him to open his own agency in Novi, MI and has expanded out to Brighton, MI. Also at that time, Brett along with his business partners formed the ASBDA, a nonprofit organization designed to maximize growth for small business owners while providing retirement and health benefits. Throughout the years the growth of the company has reached over 800 clients throughout the United States and is recognized as one of the top agencies within the business community. His success stems from establishing a culture that is inviting and supportive while forming a unity of purpose. Brett’s studies include business marketing & management with Northwood University and Western Michigan University.

Matt Simons
Director of Technology

Matt is a technology entrepreneur with experience in building SaaS based business models.  Matt is currently the founder/CEO of Dotsignal, a mobile software company.  Prior to Dotsignal, Matt was a founding member of 3Cinteractive, a mobile messaging company, named Forbes number one Most Promising Private Company in 2012.

Tony Mlynarek
Development Director

Detroit born and Nashville raised, Tony believes in the transformational role of education.  Educated in both inner city public schools and private schools, Tony is the first college graduate in his extended family.  As a graduate of the University of Michigan and an MBA from Eastern Michigan University, Tony has served multinational nonprofits and Michigan faith-based charities his entire professional career.  In addition to serving students and schools through Orion’s Quest, Tony’s experience includes a focus on international humanitarian aid in education and clean water in Africa, as well as community development in Central America.

Andy Makins
Director of Marketing

Detroit native, Andy is an enthusiastic, collaborative, driven, marketing & advertising executive. His 19 years of experience has allowed him to sharpen his skills within all facets of the marketing ecosystem; from strategic planning, new business development, marketing consultation, digital, social, & event marketing, customer relationship management, content marketing, as well as programmatic advertising.

Board of Directors

Pete Lawrie
Executive Director

Mr. Lawrie is responsible for OQ administrative management and oversees and coordinates all of OQ operations. He holds a Master’s Degree in School Administration with a minor in Science from Eastern Michigan University and is certified to teach grades K-12. Lawrie’s career of over 30 years of experience in public schools includes assignments as a classroom teacher, program director and, for 17 years, a building principal. Following retirement, Lawrie worked for several years as an independent educational consultant to business and industry. Assuming a leadership role during the NASA supported “Ladybugs in Space” pilot program in 1998, Lawrie was instrumental in the successful conclusion of that activity. Since that time, he has led the conceptualization and definition of the Orion’s Quest program.

Mr. Robert Curtis

Mr. Curtis serves as the Court Administrator for the 37th District Court in Warren Michigan. He received a Bachelor of Arts in History from Western Michigan University in 1996 and his Juris Doctorate from Wayne State University Law School in 2001. Before serving the Court, Robert practiced law privately with the law firms Howard & Howard, PLLC in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and Xuereb Snow, PC in Canton, Michigan.

Louis Stodieck PH.D.

Mr. Stodieck is an aerospace engineer and the Director of BioServe Space Technologies at the University of Colorado, specializing in conducting microgravity life science research and designing and developing space flight hardware to support that research. During his tenure at BioServe, Dr. Stodieck has overseen over 30 commercial payloads flown on 19 space shuttle, 2 Mir space station, and now 3 International Space Station missions since the retirement of the space shuttle program. His research interests have spanned cardiac physiology, neurobiology, tissue engineering and space life sciences.

Katherine Clark PH.D.

Ms. Clark is the President of Docere, a limited liability company that specializes in science and education. The science arm of the company partners with the Jean-Michel Cousteau Society, the Argos Foundation, the National Marine Sanctuaries, and the Sea World Hubbs Institute to enhance research of oceans and marine wildlife and use of the data for education and awareness of the environment of the seas. Clark is the Chair of the Board of Control of Michigan Technical University, and a member of the Board of Trustees of Western Reserve Academy. Dr. Clark spent four years at NASA Headquarters, two of them as NASA’s Chief Scientist for the International Space Station Program and two years as NASA’s Chief Scientist for the Human Exploration & Development of Space Enterprise.

Steve Crumb

Steve Crumb serves on the executive team of Global Inventures, an organization that aids companies, standards setting organizations and development communities achieve their missions by applying experienced people and best practices for effective and productive collaboration.  Steve serves multiple Inventures clients as an Executive Director.  In his role, Steve regularly leads Board meetings, serves as chief operations officer, oversees budgets and financial reports, leads marketing and media relations, and supports technical teams in strategic and tactical programs.  Steve has incubated, launched and managed several successful technical alliances in industries including automotive software, smart energy, telecommunications, security, high-performance computing and smart city transformation.

In his varied roles, Steve has managed revenue generation programs and has successfully applied for and received grants from both US-based (NSF, DoE) and Europe-based (European Commission) funding agencies.

Steve has spent more than 30 years with various high-tech companies, often applying leading-edge technologies to their business and technical programs. As a Senior Systems Engineer at Convergys Corporation, he provided leadership to systems engineering and development teams exploring component-based development techniques. At Motorola, he worked in the corporate networking lab, serving as a test engineer for internetworking equipment and architecting many of Motorola’s first internetworks. At the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, he installed and managed industrial and academic networks and was involved in the Internet Engineering Task Force.

Steve holds a degree in Computer Science from Western Kentucky University.

Cindy Hasselbring

Cindy Hasselbring currently serves as the Senior Director for the High School Aviation Initiative at Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association in Frederick, Maryland.  In this role, she leads curriculum development in aviation STEM career and technical education pathways, manages a high school flight training scholarship program, and organizes and leads an annual high school aviation STEM symposium, in which nearly 200 educators participated last year.  Prior to this role, Cindy served as Special Assistant to the State Superintendent of Schools at the Maryland State Department of Education and led STEM initiatives at the Department, including work in development of a STEM education strategic plan, expansion of computer science, and construction of a youth apprenticeship program.

Ms. Hasselbring was a 16-year veteran mathematics teacher at Milan High School in Milan, Michigan.  She was awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching in 2005 and is a National Board Certified teacher.  During the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years, she served at the National Science Foundation as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow.  During her tenure, she worked for the Assistant Director for Education and Human Resources at NSF where she assisted in the development of the federal STEM education strategic plan.  In 2012, Cindy received the National Science Foundation’s Director’s Award for Collaborative Integration for her work with the NSF-Department of Education joint initiative on math education.

Cindy served as a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Classroom Resource Committee.  A three-time highly qualified applicant and interviewee for NASA’s Astronaut Candidate program, Cindy was an active member of NASA’s Network of Educator Astronaut Teachers (NEAT) for many years.  Her involvement in this group included two reduced gravity flights, reviewing NASA grant proposals, viewing three space shuttle launches, and participating in many NEAT workshops.  Her pursuit of being an astronaut led her to taking language courses in Japanese and Russian, earning SCUBA certification, and achieving her private pilot’s certification.  She is currently pursuing her instrument flying rating and recently earned her seaplane rating.  She volunteers time each year with the Experimental Aircraft Association by helping to lead a high school girls aviation camp at the world’s largest airshow, AirVenture, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Cedarville University (OH) and her Master of Arts in Secondary School Teaching from Eastern Michigan University.

Advisory Board


Mr. Frank Owens

Mr. Owens is currently President of FCO Consulting, a science education consulting firm. From 2004-2008, he was the Associate Executive Director of Programs for the National Science Teachers Association (NTSA) providing executive leadership for the Association’s Professional Development, e-Learning and Government Partnerships. Prior to NSTA, Mr. Owens held a number of senior leadership positions at NASA Headquarters, including the Director of the Education Division, Code F, from 1992-2002. In this position he was NASA’s principal advisor and senior official for all education matters and was responsible for policy development and implementation, management oversight, coordination and direction of NASA’s Education Program

Col Jack Lousma USMC (Retired)

Mr. Lousma is one of the 19 astronauts selected by NASA in April 1966. He served as a member of the astronaut support crews for the Apollo 9, 10, and 13 missions. He was the pilot for Skylab-3 (July 28 to September 25, 1973) and was commander of the Space Shuttle Columbia on NASA Mission STS-3 (March 22-30, 1982), logging a total of over 1,619 hours in space. Lousma also spent 11 hours on two spacewalks outside the Skylab space station. He also served as backup docking module pilot of the United States flight crew for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) mission which was completed successfully in July 1975. Jack Lousma left NASA in 1983.

Col Jerry Ross USAF (Retired)

Mr. Ross was selected as an astronaut by NASA in May of 1980. His technical assignments since then have included EVA (spacewalks), robotics; Space Shuttle Landing Chase Team, support crewman, spacecraft communicator, Chief of the Mission Support Branch, member of the 1990 Astronaut Selection Board, Acting Deputy Chief of the Astronaut Office, Chief of the Astronaut Office EVA and Robotics Branch, and Astronaut Office Branch Chief for Kennedy Space Center Operations Support. From 2004 to 2007, he served as the Chief Astronaut of the NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC). He was the first human to be launched into space seven times. These seven flights comprise a world record that Ross now shares with one other NASA astronaut. Both his number of spacewalks and time on spacewalks are all time second highest among NASA astronauts.

Col Guy Gardner USAF (Retired)

Guy began his career as an Air Force fighter pilot and test pilot.  As a NASA Astronaut, he worked in many areas of space shuttle and space station development and support. His two flights in space were as pilot of Space Shuttle missions STS-27, launching a DoD payload, and STS-35, carrying the ASTRO-1 astronomy laboratory.

Guy’s government leadership positions have included Head of the USAF Test Pilot School, NASA Associate Administrator for Space Flight (Russian Programs) with the primary role of Program Director of the joint U.S./Russian space flight program Shuttle-Mir, Director of the FAA Technical Center, and FAA Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety (leading the government organization responsible for regulation and oversight of civil aviation safety).

Since leaving government service, Guy has served as a high school mathematics and physics teacher, a consultant in risk management and space flight development, a research manager and teacher at Purdue University and as the head of Riverside Military Academy, a boys college prep boarding and day school for grades 7-12 in Gainesville, GA. He recently retired as the President of the Williamson College of the Trades, a residential three-year junior college trade school in Media, PA. Williamson is known for instilling good character and work ethic along with trade skills in young men from lower income families.

In 2014, Guy backpacked 2185 miles from Georgia to Maine along the Appalachian Trail.

The awesome Linda Gardner is Guy’s wife of over 45 years, and has served as an elementary school teacher and art teacher. They have three adult children and three grandchildren.

Guy’s volunteer activities have included: member of various advisory boards, speaker to school and civic groups, youth group leader, adult and youth Sunday school teacher, and Explorer Post leader.

For a more detailed biography with links to various organizations he has served, go to