President and Chief Executive Officer, Space Florida
Over a 50-year career in the business of space, Frank DiBello has served in a wide variety of roles, all of them dedicated to guiding and strengthening the aerospace industry in America. In his 13 years with Space Florida – an Independent Special District of the State of Florida – he was instrumental in the state’s recovery from the retirement of the Shuttle in 2011 and its subsequent rise to even greater heights as the thriving commercial space operations and manufacturing cluster it is today. Frank’s leadership and contributions to the advancement of the aerospace industry in Florida has positioned the state as the clear leader in a rapidly transforming aerospace market, which has set an example to many other states, such as New Mexico, Virginia, Alaska, Texas and Georgia to improve their capabilities in the marketplace as well.
Frank began his career in the space industry at KPMG, where he spent more than 20 years guiding the firm’s aerospace industry practice. While at KPMG, he founded the firm’s Space Industry Practice to focus on new space businesses, including taking satellite programs to Wall Street for financing and developing commercial uses for the International Space Station (ISS). Frank served on President Reagan’s Private Sector Survey on Cost Control – also known as the Grace Commission – during this time, where he managed teams reviewing the Departments of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Office of the Secretary of Defense and NASA. For his work on the Grace Commission, he was awarded a Presidential Citation. Frank has been involved in a number of other civic, social and industry volunteer organizations, including the Washington Space Business Roundtable, which he founded. For his work as President of the Board of the USO Metropolitan Washington, he received the Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the Department of Defense’s highest civilian honor.
After his time at KPMG, Frank co-founded SpaceVest, a venture capital firm focused on investing in companies taking defense and space technologies to commercial applications and markets. He went on to serve as President and CEO of Constellation Communications, International (CCI), where he planned and raised the financing for an early global satellite network for mobile broadband communication services. Before joining Space Florida, Frank became President and CEO of Florida’s Aerospace Finance Corporation (FAFC), which was established by the Florida Legislature to assist with financing the infrastructure needs of new and established companies in the aerospace, aviation and space markets.
When Frank joined Space Florida, the organization had little credibility with the state capitol. He worked tirelessly to educate legislators and the governor on his new vision for Space Florida and strategies to implement it. Frank led a collaboration between the Florida Department of Transportation and private capital markets to secure $2 billion in investments, primarily used at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport to revive it as the most successful and active spaceport on Earth. Under his leadership, Florida transformed itself from a previous model dependent on federal programs to a hub where Lockheed Martin and Boeing assemble human-rated capsules, Blue Origin and soon Firefly manufacture orbital rockets, SpaceX launches, refurbishes and re-launches its reusable vehicles and Airbus/OneWeb Satellites produce a satellite a day. Frank’s dedication, experience and constant efforts to improve the industry have left Florida as the state with the most advanced and sophisticated partnerships with both the rapidly growing private sector and legacy stakeholders such as NASA, the FAA and the DOD.