photo of george davis

George W. Davis

CEO, Emergent Space Technologies, Inc.

BS ASE 1987, The University of Texas at Austin
MS ASE 1990, The University of Texas at Austin
PhD ASE 1996, The University of Texas at Austin

George W. Davis is the founder and CEO of Emergent Space Technologies, Inc., an aerospace engineering and software development company headquartered in Laurel, MD. His research interests include GPS-based positioning, navigation and timing and spacecraft automation and autonomy for formation and constellation flight.

Davis received his B.S, M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in aerospace engineering from The University of Texas at Austin.

Davis began his career in 1996 at the Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research at the University of Colorado as a post-doctoral research scientist. In 1997, he moved his family to Maryland to join the Orbital Sciences Corporation and support the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in the development and test of GPS navigation technology for space missions. In 2000, he took a brief hiatus from the aerospace industry and joined Appnet, an IT company that built websites for commercial and government clients. In 2001, he founded Emergent to provide engineering, science and research and development services to NASA, the U.S. Air Force and DARPA.

Davis spent the early portion of his career in NASA Goddard’s GPS Test Facility, where he supported the development and test of GPS technology for space missions such as the International Space Station, VCL and EO-1. He also managed a test program for characterizing the effects of radio frequency interference on spaceborne GPS receivers to aid NASA in formulating its policy on protecting the GPS signal in space. The results of this work were used by the U.S. delegation to the ITU’s World Radio Conference 2000 to successfully obtain a space-to-space allocation for the GPS.

While his time with Appnet was brief, it was there that he came to appreciate software engineering as a technical discipline and saw how modern software was developed. This subsequently led him to start Emergent, with the intent of combining GN&C and software technology for autonomous multi-satellite systems. Over the last 18 years, he has grown Emergent to over 80 employees, with customer sites in Maryland, Virginia, New Mexico, Colorado and California. Emergent’s Austin office now boats 20 aerospace engineers and software developers and accounted for most of the company’s 35% growth over the last 12 months.

Davis has regularly served on the UT Austin ASE/EM External Advisory Committee since 2005, including one stint as the committee chair. In this capacity, he advises the department on technology, business and hiring trends in the aerospace industry from a small business perspective. In addition, Emergent actively recruits UT ASE students as interns and permanent employees, making UT still the most represented university in the company. Davis is a member of the AIAA and the Institute of Navigation.

Davis lives with his wife Elizabeth, also a UT Austin graduate, in Ellicott City, MD. Their three children, Tristan, Graham and Kieran, have left home and are in various stages of their college and professional lives. When he is not working, Davis enjoys exercise, reading and playing softball in the NASA Goddard league, and he recently returned to coaching youth basketball.