Chris Whipple

SVP of Operations

"I never lied to a customer or tried to dodge the heat when we screwed up," wrote Ben Rich. "I knew how other companies operated, and I was convinced that our reputation for integrity would gain more business than we would ever lose by turning away questionable ventures. And I was right."

Ben Rich, the second director of Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works, is that ideal engineer that I base my own personal ambitions as a builder after.  Rich is the father of stealth technology in the US and is directly responsible for shepherding the F-117 design into production in spite of not winning the initial design contract with the Department of Defense.  I remember reading once about the albatross of a design the F-117 was and that many experts believed the plane would never fly.  Rich proved them wrong.  He took that design and used his real-world build experience to make the ungainly beast not only fly but to handle very similarly to other airframes of the time.  During the Gulf War, the F-117 was responsible for over 40% of all damage caused by the massive air campaign beating modern Russian air defense systems with impunity.  Skunk Works went on to build such stealth aircraft as the F-22 and F-35, now the kingpins of US air superiority.

I’ve taken this honest and can-do attitude to heart throughout my career.  Overcoming the modern-day restraints of funding, supply chain and organizational inertia, I am well experienced in building major capital projects in industry-leading timeframes, utilizing small, highly skilled teams and a penchant to rewrite the playbook along the way.  Recently, I was asked within EnergyX if given the removal of some typical start-up constraints can our team deliver the first-to-market commercial DLE system ahead of our peers…. Well, watch what we are about to accomplish.