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Professional Speaker/Lecturer

Walter Cunningham

Mr. Cunningham draws from his Astronaut, flying and business careers to inspire audiences throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. He has entertained listeners as keynote speaker at national conventions, corporate retreats, venture capital industry conferences and governmental organization meetings.



Mr. Cunningham has 50 years of diversified management experience accumulated during separate careers in the United States Marine Corps, with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and in private industry.


Cunningham enlisted in the U.S. Navy out of high school, and 18 months later was accepted for pilot training. Cunningham took his wings and commission in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he was one of the first Lieutenants to be assigned to a jet, all-weather, night fighter squadron. Following six years on active duty, including 14 months in Korea and Japan, he transferred to a Marine Corps Reserve squadron and returned to college as a freshman. During 23 years in active and reserve squadrons, Cunningham flew most of the Marine Corps' single engine aircraft, accumulating 4,500 hours flight time including 263 hours in space. Most recently, he has flown the F-16 Viper and the F-18 Hornet. He retired from the Marine Corps with the rank of Colonel.


Mr. Cunningham is perhaps best known as America's second civilian Astronaut. In 1963, he was in the last year of work on a Doctorate in physics, flying with a reserve squadron, and performing classified studies at the RAND Corporation when he was selected as an Astronaut. During eight years with NASA he specialized in electric power systems and complex systems analysis, and contributed to the design, development and testing of all the major operating systems of the Apollo spacecraft. In 1967, he served as a member of the Apollo 1 Fire Investigation Board and in 1968 he orbited the earth 163 times as the pilot of Apollo VII - the first manned flight of the Apollo Program. Apollo VII is still the longest, most successfull first flight of any new flying machine - ever!

Following Apollo VII, he was named Chief of the Skylab Astronauts, where he was involved in the design, development and integration of systems for the largest spacecraft, manned or unmanned, ever placed in orbit, including five manned space modules, two different launch vehicles and 56 major scientific experiments. These included the first manned systems utilizing molecular sieves for environmental control, photovoltaic cells for electrical power and inertial storage devices for attitude control.


Since 1971, Cunningham has been in private business in Houston, Texas. His experience includes the presidency of two engineering companies with extensive overseas operations, an interactive voice response company, and Vice President of Operations for one of the largest commercial property developers in the U. S.. He has been involved in the start-up and early stage development of more than thirty companies and financial institutions, including two national bank charters and serving on the boards of 17 companies.

In 1979, he formed The Capital Group to provide merchant banking and consulting services to entrepreneurs and to address the particular needs of foreign investors in the Southwestern region of the United States.


In 1986, Cunningham, raised and managed the $18.7 million Genesis Fund. In 13 years as a venture capitalist, he was responsible for a portfolio of 25 companies in all stages of development. The Genesis Fund placed major emphasis on early stage investing in technology and healthcare related companies, including nine start-ups. Eleven portfolio companies completed successful public offerings. He still consults with early stage technology companies.


Mr. Cunningham, for three years, was an associate at the RAND corporation, America's original "think tank." He has earned Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Physics and is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Business. He has been a Director of numerous public and private companies and is past Chairman of the Texas Aerospace Commission. For four years, he was the host of Lift-off To Logic, a live radio talk show. Over the past 40 years, he has been a professional speaker/lecturer throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. He is author of "The All American Boys," a book about the human side of the space program, and is listed in all major Who's Who, and is a recipient of numerous national and international honors, including election to the Astronaut Hall of Fame. Mr. Cunningham is married and resides in Houston, Texas.

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