My Brief Bio

James Burk is the Executive Director of the Mars Society, the world’s largest space advocacy organization dedicated to sending human explorers to the planet Mars. A former Microsoft engineer and technical project manager, James leads the fundraising and program development activities of the organization. He also leads the Mars Virtual Reality (MarsVR) project which creates immersive experiences using the latest technologies to tell the story of human Mars exploration in a new way. He is based in Seattle, Washington.


My Detailed Bio

A little about me.

I am the new Executive Director of the Mars Society, our first paid full-time staffer. I began this role in December 2021.

I’m a former Microsoft engineer and a technology/engineering manager with 24 years of experience delivering custom software solutions at scale which delight customers.

In 2020-2021, I organized several large all-virtual events, leveraging cutting-edge online networking technologies. I was the lead organizer and event technologist for the 2020 & 2021 Mars Society Virtual Conventions, which had over 15,000 attendees, over 300 speakers, and were seen by over 100,000 people via live streaming on Youtube and Facebook Live. As part of the 2020 conference, I interviewed Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla.

I chaired the 2020 and 2021 Lunar Development Conference which brought together over 400 lunar scientists, advocates and business professionals. I edited the 2020 conference proceedings book which is for sale on Amazon.

I was a volunteer for The Mars Society from the founding of the organization in 1998 until December 2021 when I became a full-time paid staffer as Executive Director. I serve on our Steering Committee and was our Director of Information Technology from 2011-2021, responsible for keeping our online presences on the cutting edge. I also have led the MarsVR project since 2018 to create research and training experiences using the latest virtual reality technologies that have direct application to human space exploration.

I am a Certified ScrumMaster, a Project Management Professional, a Certified Blockchain expert, and a polylingual software developer. Throughout my career — since I was a 19 year-old website designer featured on the front page of the Jacksonville, Florida newspaper who developed the first website for an NFL (American Football) team, to Microsoft, and now with The Mars Society, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work on innovative projects, solutions, and new technologies that create new organizational value and that speak to mass audiences.