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by | Mar 21, 2017

Employee profile: torey alford

Meet Torey Alford, a key member of our BlackSky team. 

Q: Describe what you do for BlackSky.

A: I am a technical lead for BlackSky, which is a geospatial service for cataloging, ordering, and processing satellite imagery from our evolving BlackSky constellation along with numerous other satellite vendors (comprising of our virtual constellation). Before joining the BlackSky / OpenWhere team, I worked with platform service teams of Digital Globe (and formerly GeoEye). I also have years of experience developing geospatial solutions for the US Geological Survey and National Geographic.

Q: What interests you about space?

A: Exploration! The idea of exploring, discovering, and experiencing something new outside of our planet is just as appealing as doing so while travelling to new foreign places on our planet.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?

A: I love the philosophy: work hard, play even harder! I am an avid rock climber, cyclist, skier, hiker… all around outdoor enthusiast! When possible, I’ll combine any of these with international travel – e.g. hoping to tick off my last continent this upcoming winter.

Q: Star Wars, Star Trek or The Martian?

A: I would say that it’s a close tie between Star Wars and Star Trek. While Star Wars piqued my interest in interstellar possibilities at a young age, the technological possibilities in various Star Trek series had more inspirational impact on me.

Q: If you were to mentor someone who wanted to do what you do, what advice would you give them?

A: Creativity & critical problem solving skills are essential tools to continually build upon throughout one’s career. Surrounding yourself & and collaborating with other creative-minded individuals aids in personal and intellectual growth as well. And finally, never stop learning. The world of technology is constantly evolving!

Q: Would you be interested in going to space someday?

A: Absolutely! Though, I don’t think that I could handle a trip to Mars with our current technology. However, spending a week in space would be fabulous!

Q: What’s one thing that most people at BlackSky don’t know about you?​​

A: In 2014, I became the first person with albinism to bicycle across the United States from Yorktown, VA to San Francisco, CA. It took me 52 days (with one full day of rest in Colorado) to pedal 3,700+ miles through nine states. FYI: Dodging unleashed dogs throughout the state of Kentucky was more problematic than pedaling over the Rockies!