2017 Airport Business Top 40 Under 40: Brian Gulliver, P.E., LEED AP

Nov. 3, 2017

Brian Gulliver, P.E.
Aerospace and Spaceport Practice Leader
AGE: 39

  • Alma Mater: University of Central Florida
  • What is your dream job?: Astronaut
  • What person has impacted your career the most?: I’ve been fortunate to have several wonderful mentors throughout my career. Their patience and guidance has been instrumental in my career.
  • If I could visit any airport in the world, it would be: The Shuttle Landing Facility on Merritt Island in Brevard County, Fla.
  • If I could have dinner with anyone living or dead: Elon Musk - I like his ability to challenge the status quo and take on endeavors that have world changing potential. His vision is often decades ahead of others and I think it would be fascinating to have philosophical and technical conversations with him.

Brian Gulliver has 13 years of experience in planning, design, and analysis of launch complexes and spaceports. These days, he is a leading specialist in commercial spaceport development and licensing, where his expertise is called on by various government and private companies including NASA, Space Florida, Virginia Spaceflight Authority, Lockheed Martin, Orbital Sciences, ATK, Northrop Grumman, Sierra Nevada Corporation, Andrews Space, Masten Space Systems, Jacksonville Aviation Authority, Houston Airport System, Spaceport Colorado, and the state of Hawaii.

Gulliver actively participates in a wide range of industry-related groups, such as the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME), the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the FAA Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee, for which he has been a working group participant for the past seven years.

His expertise has not gone unnoticed. Gulliver was awarded the Communications Award Twin Cities Webmaster by the AIAA in both 2012 and 2013. He was also honored as AIAA’s Young Professional of the Year in 2013. He is a prolific writer with more than 20 published papers. In his most recent publication, “Commercial Spaceports: Where We Are and Where We Are Going,” he uses his vast knowledge on aerospace topics to forecast where the industry is headed, and how airports can capitalize on that sector.

As an aerospace and spaceport consultant, Gulliver said he enjoys the variety of projects he gets work on. “Not only do I get to visit launch sites and spaceports, I also get to work closely with launch vehicle manufacturers as they evaluate their infrastructure needs,” he said. “I always enjoy working alongside my clients to help them realize their dreams. Many of the projects that I get to participate in are unique and require custom planning and design approaches.”

But a big career challenges for Gulliver is bridging the gap between aerospace and aviation. “Many aviation professionals and regulators have not worked with spaceplanes that operate both like traditional aircraft and rockets,” he observed. “The airspace and infrastructure requirements of spaceports require a lot of coordination with a variety of stakeholders. A lot of what I do is education and providing background on what spaceflight operations could look like.”

Rockets are cool, said Gulliver. “I enjoy the evolution of technology and am excited to be involved in the future of aviation and aerospace. I can’t wait until it’s common for an airport to have terminals that support jet aircraft, supersonic aircraft and suborbital spaceplanes,” he said. “Every day I’m excited about the work that I get to do.”

Get involved is the best career advice Gulliver has received. “I think it’s important to be active in the aviation/aerospace community. This includes volunteering on working groups, presenting at conferences, and taking a leadership role in associations,” he said. “By being active, you stay at the forefront of innovation and build a broader personal and business network.”