Elizabeth Peters, Ph.D., President & CEO

Dr. Peters received her Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Toledo Medical Center Health Science Campus in 2002. She has authored several peer-reviewed papers on the topic of the molecular basis of cancer as well as in the utility of genomic technologies for effective detection and diagnosis of disease. Dr. Peters has been with Gene Express, Inc., a privately-funded molecular diagnostic company since 2002, holding several positions of increasing responsibility. She started as the Assistant Director of Operations and Manufacturing and played a key role in establishing the manufacturing laboratory for the company by writing Standard Operating Procedures, contracts applications, and peer-reviewed manuscripts. She was promoted to Vice President of Science and Platform Innovation in 2007, where she continued to manage government contracts, provide scientific consultation to the executive team, lead strategic scientific projects involving multiple organizations, and implement quality control standards for both the production laboratory and finance department. In September 2009, she founded the Astilbe Group, LLC. Dr. Peters is an experienced leader and has helped small businesses navigate through the Federal contracting process having written, won and successfully managed the delivery of numerous projects.

Kristin Mead, PMP, Associate

Ms. Kristin Mead is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) with 20 years of experience working with Federal agencies of the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Defense (DOD). As a former Program Manager, she has managed all types of Federal contracts, specializing in communications management, risk management and business process development. She is also trained and experienced in Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) for software development.  Ms. Mead has considerable expertise in helping clients understand their role in the big picture, and how to operationalize their mission to achieve specific, measurable goals. Now, she helps companies grow by packaging and promoting their core value, and facilitating business development strategies and relationships. She leverages a formal education in graphic design from the University of Michigan to provide clients with creative, out-of-the-box solutions to meet the everyday challenges of growing businesses. Ms. Mead lives and works in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

Joseph P. Herness, Co-Founder 

Mr. Herness received a BA degree in Business Management from Park College, Parkville, Missouri in 1982. He retired from the United States Air Force (USAF) after serving 21 ½ years of active duty as an aeronautical engineer. During his service, Mr. Herness has been given 26 Medals and Citations that includes the Vietnam Service Medal with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross, and Device and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. Mr. Herness then spent 20 years working for General Dynamics/Lockheed Aero in Fort Worth, Texas. He provided technical liaison support and expertise to all phases of Flight Test Programs in the Lockheed Aero, Fort Worth, Texas and Marietta, Georgia divisions. Specifically, he coordinated testing on F-16, C-130J, KC-135, F-111 and other flight aircraft. He provided professional management and review of respective Program Managers, Flight and Field Operations team members and the customer. Mr. Herness specialized in meeting and exceeding production schedule and quality goals as set forth by Lockheed Aero and U.S. Federal Government standards. In September 2009, he co-founded the Astilbe Group, LLC with his daughter, Dr. Peters.

Russell D. Brown, Esq., Attorney & Counselor

Mr. Brown is an accomplished and creative business attorney with many years of combined law and business experience with both private industry and the government.  He has been an advisor and legal counsel for many small and mid-market businesses, non-profits, individuals and the military.  He is skilled in business consulting and development, mergers and acquisitions, multi-national contract development and implementation, employment issues, intellectual property and trade secret protection, complex commercial litigation, and negotiation and dispute resolution. Prior to being in private practice he was in prototype management with Ford Motor Company, and has been both an air traffic controller assigned to the U.S. Army Special Forces as well as a Judge Advocate who was activated for the war in Iraq.  During his tenure as a JA, he worked extensively as a contracting specialist with federal government and spent a lot of time in the field re-building Iraq and Kuwait.  Mr. Brown teaches many classes on business law, risk mitigation, and contracting with the federal government.