INDIANAPOLIS (June 1, 2020) – The Indiana Innovation Institute (IN3), which works with academia, industry, and government to create a hub of national security innovation that helps solve critical defense priorities, is once again expanding its team. Joining the team are Christopher (Chris) Bencal, executive vice president for business development, and Dr. Rodney (Rod) Miller, chief technologist for hypersonics.
Christopher (Chris) Bencal
Executive Vice President for Business Development
Chris Bencal serves as Executive Vice President for Business Development for the Indiana Innovation Institute (IN3) overseeing business growth and collaborative partnerships. Prior to joining IN3, he served in business development executive roles at Battelle Memorial Institute National Security Business, as well as, Raytheon Advanced Technology Programs where he led strategy, business growth and account management for contract research and development programs with military, intelligence and commercial customers.
Bencal prides himself on creating collaborative partnerships between industry, academia, research labs and small businesses to deliver world class solutions to defense customers. He specializes in the application of next generation technologies in the areas of intelligence collection, unmanned systems, advanced materials, trusted microelectronics, and high energy lasers across maritime, space, air and missile defense market segments.
While at Battelle, he led a business development team across a diverse national security technology portfolio. During his business development tenure at Raytheon he worked closely with technical experts to build collaborative partnerships resulting in $1B in science and technology and research and development contracts with defense and intelligence customers.
Bencal was a career naval officer, naval aviator and joint service acquisition professional serving for 20 years in progressive leadership positions. During his service, he deployed around the world on multiple deployments and assignments. He retired from the U.S. Navy/U.S. Special Operations Command in 2006.
He has served on a number of boards including NDIA New England, Homebase, and World Boston and presently supports multiple veteran organizations.
Bencal holds a Bachelor of Science in Physical Science from the United States Naval Academy and a Master’s degree in National Security from the Naval War College.
Dr. Rodney (Rod) Miller
Chief Technologist, Hypersonics
Dr. Rod Miller serves as the Chief Technologist, Hypersonics for the Indiana Innovation Institute (IN3). Prior to joining IN3, Dr. Miller was Special Advisor for National Security Initiatives for Purdue University Discovery Park where he worked to promote the university’s abilities and its capability to conduct sensitive national security-related research and development efforts.
Dr. Miller was most recently a Mission Architect for Peraton Inc., where he supported their Space, Intelligence, and Cyber business area. A former member of the U.S. Government’s Senior Executive Service, he was the Senior Leader Chief Scientist for Air Force Global Strike Command at Barksdale Air Force Base responsible for organizing, training, equipping, maintaining and preparing the command’s activities in sciences and technology, including hypersonic and nuclear technology.
Dr. Miller retired as a Colonel from the U.S. Air Force. As a commissioned officer he held numerous leadership positions in the space and nuclear acquisition and space operations communities. He served in key engineering positions for both the Milstar and Space Based Infrared System as well as leading the Advanced Extremely High Frequency Program in support of the United States Nuclear Command and Control System. He commanded the Space Development Squadron which delivered key capabilities for the Department of Defense Space Test Program. He also served as the Military Assistant to the Air Force Chief Scientist where he worked closely with the entire Air Force science and technology community.
Following his retirement from military service, he was the Operations Manager for Bechtel National Inc.’s Nuclear Security and Operations business line, supporting National Nuclear Security Administration operations at the Y-12 National Security Complex, Pantex, Plant, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Dr. Miller received a Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering from Purdue University. He received a Master’s and PhD in Nuclear Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology.
In addition, he has a Masters of Military Operational Art and Science from the Air University Air Command and Staff College and is a graduate of the Defense Acquisition University’s Program Manager and Executive Program Manager Courses.