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Michael Nelson

Michael Nelson
Research Director, Intelligence & Defense Solutions Directorate

Michael Nelson is the Director of the Intelligence and Defense Solutions Directorate at Riverside Research. Michael is a proven leader with over 19 years of experience in managing complex Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) programs spanning ground, air, and space-based advanced geospatial intelligence. Through his demonstrated, outcome-based leadership style, Michael has established a process-driven management team overseeing a large cadre of engineering, research, management, and analytical production teams supporting the Intelligence and DoD Communities worldwide.

During his 14 years with Riverside Research, Michael has engaged in corporate strategic planning, led internal process transformation activities, managed future business pipeline and customer development, and ensured programmatic, contractual, and financial (P/L) oversight for his rapidly expanding team. He has leveraged his GEOINT-focused expertise to draft and implement corporate technology advancement initiatives covering Big Data, Persistent exploitation, and ISR applications of cognitive computing techniques.

In his previous role, Michael became a widely recognized subject-matter expert in overhead persistent infrared (OPIR) technology. By combining his technical knowledge of electro-optics with his system-engineering, information technology, and programmatic skills, Michael was instrumental in bringing the Air Force’s OPIR Processing and Exploitation Center to operational status. Additionally, Michael is known throughout the Intelligence Community (IC) for his comprehensive understanding of OPIR, Synthetic Aperture Radar, spectral and thermal systems, applications, and operations.  His work has been publicly recognized by military leaders from the operational level, the national agency level, and the senior-most level of the IC. 

A native of Wisconsin, Michael earned a BS in physics from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse in 1994 and an MS in electro-optical engineering from the University of Dayton in 1996.

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