Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Mon Jun 27, 2005 8:16 pm
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Santa Monica, CA. (June 27, 2005) — The X PRIZE Foundation, a premiere prize institute and educational foundation, announced the appointment of Rod O’Connor as its President of the Foundation. Mr. O’Connor will orchestrate all day-to-day operations and activities and contribute his Washington and business experience to the benefit of the Foundation’s members.

“The X PRIZE will grow substantially under Rod’s leadership,” said Chairman and Founder Dr. Peter H. Diamandis. “Our organization is unique in its ability to use prizes to enable innovation, and Rod’s experience and natural abilities as a leader will be very valuable to our efforts. He joins a stellar group of individuals in our Foundation and on our Board of Directors who will benefit from his myriad capabilities.”

Rod O’Connor comes to the X PRIZE Foundation from The ROC Group, a grassroots, communications and event marketing consulting practice he founded, with clients in the business, non-profit, and political sectors. Previously, he served as the Chief Executive Officer for the 2004 Democratic National Convention Corporation in Boston. As CEO of the Convention, he built an organization from the ground up, ultimately managing 300 employees and consultants and a budget in excess of $55 million and served as the principal liaison with government, party, and local leaders, and worked successfully with the leadership of the Department of Homeland Security and state and local security officials to provide for the safety of the nearly 50,000 participants. Prior to the convention, O’Connor was Vice President for Corporate Affairs at Citynet Telecommunications. In this role he directed all state and local government outreach efforts and negotiated the company’s access to fourteen new markets in major U.S. cities.

In 2000, O’Connor was a senior aide to Vice President Al Gore and the COO for that year’s Democratic Convention in Los Angeles. At the convention he managed all day-to-day operations and was the chief spokesperson, working directly with national and international media. He also worked with the private sector to design and implement innovative corporate sponsorships that generated over $10 million in resources for the convention. Following the convention, he managed the debate camp for the Gore/Lieberman campaign. O’Connor also served as chief of staff for the Democratic National Committee. In this position, he worked directly with the chairman to supervise all aspects of the organization and served as the chief liaison to the Office of the Vice President at the White House. Additionally, O’Connor traveled throughout the country speaking on behalf of the committee to senior elected officials, supporters and the media. O’Connor spent three years as a White House and Senate aide to Vice President Gore. During this time, he handled government affairs issues in the Senate and managed the Vice President’s daily schedule and national political relationships at the White House. He also worked extensively with the diplomatic community organizing numerous international visits for both President Clinton and Vice President Gore to Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America.

In the private sector, Rod O’Connor worked as an account supervisor for Edelman Public Relations Worldwide where he designed and implemented a multi-state telecommunications reform effort for a major U.S. telecomm company, advised the leading national information services company during federal agency hearings, and mounted a national drug education campaign for a leading pharmaceutical firm.

Rod O’Connor holds a MPA from Harvard University and a BA from Hampden-Sydney College.

The X PRIZE Foundation is an educational nonprofit prize institute whose mission is to create radical breakthroughs in space and technology for the benefit of humanity. The Foundation created the Ansari X PRIZE that became the largest-ever prize offered for accomplishment in the world. On October 4th, 2004, the X PRIZE Foundation captured world headlines when Mojave Aerospace Ventures, led by Burt Rutan and Paul Allen, built and flew the world’s first private spacecraft to the edge of space to win the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE. Because of the dramatic nature of the achievement, the X PRIZE Foundation is now widely recognized as the leading model for fostering innovation through the use of competitions.

Based on the success of the Ansari X PRIZE, The Foundation has partnered with the state of Mew Mexico to produce the X PRIZE CUP and assist in the development of the state’s Southwestern Regional Spaceport. On April 13, 2005, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson declared October 4 – 9, 2005 as X PRIZE CUP Week in New Mexico and during this time, tens of thousands of people will come to the state to see racing take new heights. Beginning in 2006, the X PRIZE CUP will be a week-long series of space-related events, including educational, launch, and test-flight activities, as well as aircraft fly-ins and tributes to the history of the state’s aerospace industry. The events begin this October with the Countdown to the X PRIZE CUP in Las Cruces International Airport and Alamogordo Space History Museum in Southern New Mexico. Full details can be found at www.xprize.org.

For more information about the X PRIZE Foundation, or to provide a donation, please visit www.xprize.org or telephone 310.587.3355.

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