Chris C. Kemp
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Chris C. Kemp
At NASA in 2008
|Title||Founder and Chief Strategy Officer|
Chris C. Kemp (born Buffalo, New York) is an American information technology executive. His career included leading IT at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, and as NASA’s first chief technology officer (CTO) for IT. Kemp is known for his role in OpenStack, an open source software project for cloud computing. He was a founder of Nebula, a company which tried to commercialize the technology, from 2011 to 2015.
While studying Computer Engineering at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, he founded Netran, a company that operated an online grocery shopping service for Kroger. Kemp served as CEO and president of Netran from 1997 to 2000. At the age of 21, Kemp sold his first business and joined Classmates.com as its chief architect. In 2002, Kemp founded Escapia, after trying to rent a beach house on the Internet. Kemp served as CEO and president of Escapia from 2002-2006. Escapia was sold to HomeAway in 2010.
Kemp joined NASA in 2006 as director of strategic business development at the Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley where he helped forge a partnership with Google. In 2007, he was appointed chief information officer (CIO), making him responsible for most of the IT infrastructure at NASA Ames (networks, datacenters, systems, etc.), and several NASA-wide services, including the NASA Security Operations Center (SOC). As CIO, Kemp established a partnership with Microsoft.
Unlike traditional government procurements, where the government gave money to private companies, Kemp structured unique public-private partnerships with both Google and Microsoft that provided his team at NASA millions of dollars of funding to offset the costs of making vast amounts of data available in Google Earth and Microsoft Worldwide Telescope.
Inspired by the infrastructures at Google, Kemp then assembled and led of a team of NASA contractors with the goal of enabling NASA to “leverage the web as platform and take the lead in open, transparent and participatory space exploration and government.” The project to carry forward this goal at NASA Ames was called the Nebula Cloud Computing Pilot.
Kemp’s cloud project at NASA drew the attention of the Obama Administration, and Kemp received a call from the first federal chief information officer, Vivek Kundra. Kundra asked Kemp to host the unveiling of the United States Cloud Computing Strategy, and to work on one of the federal government's first major cloud initiatives, www.usaspending.gov, a website which tracks all spending from the US government. Kemp and the Nebula team launched the site, which is still hosted on NASA's cloud infrastructure.
In March 2010, Kemp was appointed as the first NASA chief technology officer for information technology. Kemp was responsible for the agency's Enterprise Architecture division and for introducing new and emerging technologies into IT planning and implementation. He was an outspoken advocate for the use of open-source software in the Federal Government.
While NASA has been a pioneer in open source, Kemp was responsible for the first open source release under the Apache 2.0 license framework, the Nova cloud computing controller. As CTO, Kemp also pioneered the use of NASA’s unique public-private partnership authority to introduce new technologies into NASA.
Rackspace discovered NASA’s open source code and contacted Kemp to determine if NASA was interested in partnering together to form a project called OpenStack. Launched in July 2010, OpenStack is an open-source cloud computing platform based code from Kemp’s team as NASA, in collaboration with Rackspace. Mid-2010, Kemp received the Federal Computer Week “Federal 100” and CIO Magazine’s “CIO 100” awards for his work as chief information officer at NASA Ames Research Center in 2009.
On March 25, 2011 Kemp incorporated Fourth Paradigm Development, Inc. with entrepreneur Steve O'Hara and former colleague Devin Carlen. It would later change its name to Nebula. In April, 2012, NASA shut down its Nebula project, after a test showed that similar offerings from the private sector were more reliable and cost-effective. In February 2013, Silicon India named Kemp as one of ten pioneers in cloud computing. Kemp was initially in the CEO position but after a year, Kemp became the Chief Strategy Officer while Gordon Stitt stepped into the vacated role, with an eye toward bringing the company public. In April 2015, the company ceased operations abruptly (without warning its customers in advance or providing support until service contracts ended).
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- Today I announce my resignation as NASA’s Chief Technology Officer for IT
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