Our Team

Mike Poirier Headshot

Mike Poirier
CEO

Mike Poirier is CEO and founder of Ventus Solutions, a firm based on a passion for helping clients solve tough problems. At VES, Mike has helped multiple clients improve innovation practices, develop new potential game changing technologies and solve challenging, complex problems.   Prior to founding VES, Mike was a Principal at Decision Strategy International, where he led the high technology, defense, energy and government practices.  Mike has consulted with six Fortune 500 clients, plus multiple smaller firms and government entities.   Mike previously served in the U.S. Navy where he commanded a fast attack nuclear powered submarine that conducted multiple combat deployments and special missions.  He also commanded the Navy’s premier officer training base with over 20,000 personnel serving on the base annually.   He served as Chief of Staff of several organizations including Programs, Analysis and Evaluation in the Office of the Secretary of Defense where over $500 billion is allocated annually. 

He is a MBA graduate from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania where he graduated as a Palmer Scholar (top 5% of the class).  He is a distinguished graduate of the Institute D’Etudes Politiques in Aix-en-Provence, France where he completed a DEA level doctoral degree as an Olmsted Scholar.  He is a distinguished graduate of both the Georgetown School of Foreign Service where he received an MA in National Security Studies and the U.S. Naval Academy where he received a BS in Electrical Engineering.  He is a recipient of a Bronze Star for combat leadership as numerous other military awards during his military service.

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Duane Ashton
VP of Unmanned Vehicle Programs & Principal

Duane Ashton, USN retired, is a Principal and VP of Unmanned Vehicle Programs at VES.  Duane brings to VES passion and expertise in Undersea Warfare, Unmanned Maritime Systems, Mine Warfare defense acquisition, defense studies and analysis.  Prior to joining VES, Duane founded GAMbIT Marine Solutions, a service- disabled veteran- owned company where he provides subject matter expertise, business development, and strategic planning to industry and the U.S. government stakeholders.

Duane has consulted with Fortune 500 clients, smaller firms and government entities, including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA.   He previously served in the U.S. Navy where he led the Navy’s inaugural Unmanned Maritime System Program Office, PMS 406.  He also commanded a fast attack nuclear powered submarine in combat operations.  Prior to this assignment, Duane began his Acquisition Corps Professional tour as a DARPA Program Manager in both the Strategic Technology Office and Defense Sciences Office.  He also served as Chief of Staff for the Regime Crimes Liaison’s Office supporting the Iraqi High Tribunal in Baghdad.

Duane earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California at Los Angeles, and his M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.  He is a graduate of the Defense Acquisition University Major Program Manager and Senior Manager courses, and is DAWIA Program Manager Level III certified.  He is the recipient of two Bronze Stars for combat leadership and numerous other military awards during his naval service.

 

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Mike Selby
Principal

Mike Selby, USN retired, is a Principal with VES providing innovation support and concept development for the Navy Frigate Program Office. He is also President of the 701 Innovations Group.

Mike brings 30 years of experience as a Surface Warfare Officer, serving in Frigates and Destroyers.  He served as Commanding Officer of the Arleigh Burke Class Guided Missile Destroyer USS HOPPER (DDG-70), Commander of Destroyer Squadron ONE, and two multinational Task Groups in the Indo-Pacific and Central Commands. He was a member of the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group, focused on directed energy, hypersonics and unmanned systems.  He has been supporting the Constellation Class Frigate Program (PMS 515) since 2015, to include development of the Capability Development Document, Concept of Operations, and warfare systems selection and integration.  He is also a team member of a successful Phase I and ongoing Phase II Small Business Innovation Research project developing Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning applications for the Naval Air Systems Command.

Mike earned his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Colorado Boulder and his M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.

David Kirk Headshot

David Kirk
Principal

David W. Kirk, USN retired, is a Principal at VES, bringing a wealth of knowledge gained from a full Naval career with expertise in submarines.

David, a native of Kingsport, Tennessee, was commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps at Vanderbilt University in 1986 and served in the United States Navy for 30 years, retiring as a Captain in 2016.  While on active duty, David served at sea on six different submarines in the Atlantic and Pacific fleets, commanding both USS LOUISVILLE (SSN 724) and USS FLORIDA (SSGN 728)(Gold).  Ashore, David served in a variety of positions on multiple submarine staffs, as a Branch Chief on the staff of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as a Legislative Fellow for Senator John Warner, as head of Undersea Programs in the Navy’s Office of Legislative Affairs, and the Undersea Influence Branch Chief on the Chief of Naval Operations staff.  Since retirement, David has served as a Senior Consultant and Principal at Ventus Solutions, providing direct full-time program management, engineering, and test and evaluation support to multiple innovative weapons development programs for Program Executive Officer Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS).  These efforts have directly resulted in the rapid development and delivery to the fleet of multiple new weapon capabilities.

David earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Vanderbilt University and his M.S. in National Security Affairs from the National War College.  He is the recipient of a various military awards.

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Jason Rhea
Principal

Jason Rhea, USN retired, is a Principal at VES. Jason served in the U.S. Navy for 26 years and brings a wealth of expertise in unmanned systems, undersea warfare, acquisition, and innovative solution development.

Jason consults with numerous large and small businesses, and government agencies, including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).  While in the Navy, Jason led the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Innovation Planning Team.  His recent previous tours include Branch Chief at OPNAV N2N6 where he managed unmanned undersea vehicle programs, and Executive Officer of a fast attack nuclear powered submarine.

Jason received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois, an M.S. in National Security Strategy from the National War College, and an M.S. in Engineering Management from Old Dominion University. He is the recipient of the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and numerous other awards from his military service.

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Woods Brown
Principal

Captain Woods Brown, USN retired, joined VES as a Senior Consultant in 2019 after spending 30 years in the U.S. Navy.  During his time there he worked with submarine stealth, naval warfare undersea programs and nuclear weapons security. He is a subject matter expert in Submarines and Acquisitions.

Previous to Ventus, Woods had a successful career as a submarine driver, culminating in a tour as Commanding Officer of the USS MINNEAPOLIS-SAINT PAUL (SSN 708). He also completed highly successful tours on the Secretary of Defense’s and CNO’s staff as well as a number of program management positions at NAVSEA and Strategic System Programs.

Woods entered Naval service commissioning from NROTC at Cornell University.  He served as Junior Officer on USS ALBUQUERQUE servings as Main Propulsion Assistant and Communicator.  He then served as Shift Engineer and Operations Officer at S8G prototype.  For his department head tour, Woods served as Engineer on USS TREPANG which was awarded the Engineering E for Squadron FOUR both years that he was there.  After taking TREPANG through inactivation, Woods became the Navigator on USS KENTUCKY Gold.  Woods served as Executive Officer on USS BUFFALO and briefly on USS CHEYENNE and then commanded the USS MINNEAPOLIS SAINT PAUL (SSN 708).  After command, Woods became an acquisition professional, managing multiple acquisition programs, including standing up a major program at Strategic System Programs managing Nuclear Weapons Security and a new role at NAVSEA as Submarine Stealth Integrator.

Woods received a B.S. in Applied and Engineering Physics from Cornell University, an M.A. in Defense and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College, and M.S. in Engineering Management from Old Dominion University. One of his proudest accomplishments is serving as Command of a nuclear submarine.

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Scott Minium
Director- Business Development & Senior Consultant

Scott Minium, USN retired, is a Senior Consultant at VES bringing years of experience as a Submarine Commander, military leader and business professional.

After graduating from the Naval Academy, Scott served in a variety of submarine related tours at sea and ashore, including three attack submarines and one ballistic missile submarine. He spent a total of 10 years in Hawaii, and 5 in Guam. Most notably, he had command of USS City of Corpus Christi (SSN 705) and then Submarine Squadron Fifteen, and served with the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group (SSG 34). He also had two tours in the Pentagon that both involved in depth foreign military partnerships. Most recently he was the undersea Business Development Director for BAE Systems, Inc., where he helped connect customers with technical solutions.

Scott earned his B.S. in Computer Science from the US Naval Academy, and an M.S. in Engineering Management from Old Dominion University.

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Anne Kuprenas
Vice President of Contracts and Proposals

Anne Kuprenas is the Senior Contracts Administrator for VES where she manages contracts and subcontracts, and assists with proposals and business development efforts.  Anne brings a deep understanding of the field, having served in the Navy providing GFE Logistics Support for Naval Reactors shipbuilding and submarine programs, and in all phases of source selection, proposal development and contract execution for various commercial organizations.

Prior to joining Ventus, Anne served as GFE Logistics Support for shipbuilding programs at NR, as Supply Officer for an EOD unit in the Reserves. as IT trainer/administrator for Fairfax County Public Schools, and as proposal coordinator/technical writer/contract manager for various small technology development firms.

Anne received her B.S. in Computer Science from Duke University.

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Beth van Burk
Human Resources Manager

Beth van Burk, as Human Resources Manager at VES, brings more than 25 years of experience as an HR leader. Her expertise in the human resources field includes HR strategy, business partnering, recruiting, change management, learning and development, and talent management. She is recognized for shaping and guiding teams through facilitation, management, and coaching others to successful completion of projects. As a trusted advisor, she is best known for managing multiple perspectives while interacting with others.
Beth earned a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from George Mason University.

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Marcus Assia
Controller

Marcus Assia is the Controller at VES and a Director at Monument Accounting.  Prior to joining the Ventus team, Marcus enjoyed a career in thoroughbred horse racing before transitioning to accounting and finance roles.

Marcus earned his B.S. in Accounting from the University of Maryland and his M.B.A. from Georgetown University.