Mike Connor


Dr. John Kao

John Russ

Richard Jude Hine


Mike Connor

Chief Executive Officer

Mike founded ThayerMahan Inc. in order to accelerate the United States’ ability to effectively and efficiently monitor ocean activity using autonomous systems.

Recognized globally as one of the foremost authorities in undersea operations, Mike brings a wealth of experience. In a 35 year career in which he rose to the rank of Vice Admiral in the United States Navy, Mike commanded at the ship, squadron, and task force levels. His assignments include command of USS SEAWOLF, a nuclear-powered attack submarine, Submarine Squadron EIGHT, Undersea Forces in the Western Pacific, and the Arabian Gulf, the United States Submarine Force, and NATO’s Allied Submarine Command.

Mike led the US Navy Submarine Force move into robotic undersea systems, achieving key milestones including the first operational deployment and recovery of an unmanned vehicle from a submarine. He led an innovation effort that began the shift away from undersea search operations based on expensive platforms and moved toward operations based on large numbers of inexpensive vehicles.

Mike has written extensively on the future of undersea warfare and is a sought-after speaker on undersea warfare topics. His education includes a B.A. in Physics from Bowdoin College and an M.A. in National Security Studies from the United States Naval War College.

Dr. John Kao


Dubbed “Mr. Creativity” and a “serial innovator” by The Economist, John is an innovation thought leader, practitioner and activist. He is a trusted advisor to companies, startups and nations on innovation strategy, implementation, and future trends.

John’s long association with the US Navy has included membership on the CNO’s Advisory Board. He also served as a founding member of the Transformation Advisory Group of the US Department of Defense along with then Senator Hillary Clinton and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

John is past chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Innovation Council, and has advised the Clinton Global Initiative. He serves on a White House expert panel on US-China innovation policy.

John is also a “venture catalyst” who has started and invested in a series of technology companies and is a Tony-nominated producer of film (Sex, Lies and Videotapes, Mr. Baseball) and theater (Golden Child, Flower Drum Song, Jitney).

John was a Harvard Business School professor from 1982-96, where he taught innovation and entrepreneurship. He authored Jamming: The Art and Discipline of Business Creativity, a BusinessWeek best-seller, and Innovation Nation, published in October, 2007 about America’s growing innovation challenge.

His education includes BA and MD degrees from Yale, a residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

In the summer of 1969, John was an apprentice to rock legend Frank Zappa. He was recently named a Yamaha concert artist. In his spare time, he plays jazz piano.

Rich served with Mike Connor aboard the nuclear submarine USS Pittsburgh (SSN720) after graduating from the US Naval Academy in 1982. Rich also served aboard USS City of Corpus Christi (SSN705) and qualified submarines and nuclear engineer before leaving the Navy in 1987.

Rich has extensive business and project management experience in a variety of fields but primarily in real estate development, commercial and residential construction, and retail sales. Rich has supervised start up business ventures and has extensive experience in capital formation, finance and budgeting. He also served as a School Board trustee and President for nine years managing a $50M budget, 3,000 students and a staff of over 300.

Rich has stayed closely connected to his Navy roots and the submarine service over the past twenty seven years. His education includes a B.S. in Political Science from the US Naval Academy, an MA in Theology from the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception and a Masters Degree in History from Yale University.

Rich, and his wife Mary, are natives of Long Island and the parents of seven children.

Richard Jude hine

Chief Operating Officer

An authority in undersea warfare, intelligence collection and maritime security operations, John joined ThayerMahan Inc. to develop and drive effective employment of innovative autonomous systems that will greatly enhance the United States’ ability to monitor and assess maritime activity. 

During a highly successful 30-year career in the United States Navy, John led at the ship, squadron, task force and type commander levels in the Pacific.  An expert in forward-deployed submarine operations, he commanded the nuclear-powered attack submarine USS HONOLULU and Submarine Squadron FIFTEEN in Guam.  As Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff for both Submarine Group 7 in Yokosuka, Japan and Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, he directed submarine and Theater Anti-Submarine Warfare operations spanning the oceans from the U.S. west coast to the Arabian Gulf, and oversaw the manning, training, maintenance and employment of the Navy’s worldwide Integrated Undersea Surveillance enterprise, including fixed and mobile (SURTASS) acoustic sensing, processing and reporting systems. 

His education includes a Bachelor of Nuclear Engineering from Georgia Tech, a M.S. in Industrial and Management Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a M.S. in International Affairs from the Catholic University of America. 

John and his wife, Mary, have four sons and live in Mystic, Connecticut.

John Russ

Vice President for Operations & Engineering