USGIF Announces 2024 Lundahl-Finnie Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient 

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Kissimmee, Fla., (May 6, 2024)—The United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) announced today that Kevin M. O’Connell has been named the 2024 Arthur C. Lundahl-Thomas C. Finnie Lifetime Achievement Award winner. USGIF will present O’Connell with the award in recognition of his groundbreaking work developing and advancing the policy framework around commercial space capabilities.   

While the announcement was made today at USGIF’s flagship event, The GEOINT Symposium, the award ceremony will be held December 5, 2024, at USGIF’s annual black-tie GEOGala.   

“I’ve had the distinct professional pleasure to know Kevin for more than 30 years. Quite simply, Kevin is a founding architect of the geospatial intelligence profession. From his ground-breaking academic leadership to his on-going contribution to improving the government and industry partnership, Kevin is a central pillar in our community,” said USGIF Board Chair Robert Cardillo. “Like the namesakes of the Lundahl-Finnie Award, Kevin has made an immense and lasting impact on the work we do in the GEOINT Community.” 

O’Connell is a recognized and well-respected expert on space commerce, the global space economy, and U.S. national security matters. For almost four decades, he has focused on space commercialization and technological competitiveness and how to advance them in global markets. 

His most recent government role was Director of the Office of Space Commerce within the Department of Commerce. He was the principal architect of outreach to U.S. private space companies to facilitate innovation and encourage increased market growth and viability. He focused on the growing role of the private sector in space, encouraged new international space partnerships, worked to ensure the competitiveness of the U.S. commercial space industry, and advanced American leadership in space safety and sustainability. 

O’Connell’s other government assignments have included the Department of State, the National Security Council, the Office of the Vice President, and the Office of the Director of Central Intelligence. He also served as the Executive Secretary of the Independent Commission on the National Imagery and Mapping Agency in 2000, and later as an advisor to the Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. He was a long-standing member of NOAA’s federal advisory committee, ACCRES, including serving as Chair between 2012 and 2016. While at the Department of Commerce, he played a key role in modernizing the commercial remote sensing regulations designed to encourage American innovation and shape global markets.  

Within the private sector, O’Connell was a senior research analyst at RAND and was the first Director of RAND’s Intelligence Policy Center. In 2007, he founded Innovative Analytics and Training, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in assessing high-tech market areas including geospatial technology, cloud computing, and cyber analytics. Today, he runs Space Economy Rising, an advisory firm focused on strategy and finance for companies in the space sector. He regularly speaks around the world on trends in the global space economy.   

The prestigious Lundahl-Finnie Lifetime Achievement Award was named for Arthur C. Lundahl and Thomas C. Finnie, honoring their accomplishments in imagery analysis and mapping, respectively, and their legacies within the GEOINT Community.   

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