Leadership / Staff


David Brown, Ph.D.
Executive Director

Dr. Brown is a trusted, well-connected leader in civilian and military communities nationwide who has especially strong relationships within U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) organizations, laboratories and commands and has gained national recognition for his transformative leadership in federal research and development (R&D) initiatives and projects.

David joins  UTSA from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) where, as an employee of Battelle Memorial Institute, he served in senior defense program leadership, government affairs and laboratory strategy roles.

John Huggins, Ph.D.
Technology Officer

Dr. John Huggins currently serves as the Technology Officer of the National Security Collaboration Center (NSCC) at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), leading the center’s technical research thrusts including cybersecurity, electromagnetic spectrum operations, and artificial intelligence/machine learning.  He has over twenty years of research and operational experience with Department of Defense and other Federal programs, including as a Principal Research Engineer at Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), and as a U.S. Naval Flight Officer.

During his employment at GTRI, Dr. Huggins led a systems engineering research focused branch, and directed research and technical activities in support of multiple Federal sponsors.  Prior to his employment at GTRI, Dr. Huggins served as a Naval Flight Officer flying in the EA-6B Prowler and the EA-18G Growler aircraft, and led personnel in execution of their duties ranging from aircraft maintenance to flight test.  In addition, he graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. 

Michelle Atchison, Ph.D.
Director of Federal Relations, Senior National Security Strategist

Dr. Michelle Atchison serves as the Director of Federal Relations based in Washington DC and leads relations for the University of Texas System with the Department of Defense, focusing on research and collaborative opportunities.  Her responsibilities include developing strategies, research partnerships, and formal agreement opportunities. Dr. Michelle Atchison held an appointment as the Federal Partners Group Chief for the Mission Integration Directorate within the National Counterintelligence and Security Center under the Office of the Direction of National Intelligence.  Prior to joining UTSA, Dr. Atchison served as the University of Texas System as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Federal Relations for National Security.

Before joining the UT System, Michelle served in leadership positions with Lockheed Martin Corporation and the Military.   In her corporate roles, Michelle led Strategic Partnership Development for Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Laboratories and Washington Operations focused on accelerating technology transition efforts.  In her technical role she lead for the Corporate Technical Investment Program (LMTIP); developed and lead for the CET Research Portal to support integration and coordination of Internal R&D efforts across major corporate business areas; and served as the Chief Scientist for the Lockheed Martin Center for Innovation, the Corporation’s premier Experimentation and Modeling-Simulation.

In her military roles, Michelle served for 27 years in a variety of military command and senior staff positions including: Chief, Science and Technology (S&T) Division, USJFCOM Experimentation; Chief Scientist for Air Force Experimentation Office and Science Advisor for the Air Force Command and Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Center.  Michelle established and managed multi-Service teams to support strategic and industrial plans to identify technology work among Services, DOD, Government agencies and commercial efforts.  Her military technical projects included: building the front-end analysis of concept development - adopted by NATO partners as their program template;  the Military coordinator for the Congressionally-sponsored Scientist and Technology Conference; Technology Panel Chairman for the NATO Conference on Concept Development and Experimentation; and functioning as the DoD representative to the multinational Study on Warfighting and Technology sponsored by US Center for Research and Education in Strategy and Technology (USCREST). 

Beth Manning, CFRA
Senior Director for Finance and Administration

Beth Manning is Senior Director for Finance and Administration at the University of Texas at San Antonio and provides leadership, development, administrative and financial management for the National Security Collaboration Center. In her current position Ms. Manning is responsible for managing the administrative and financial activities, including budget, and restructures research financial plans to ensure alignment with strategic initiatives.

Ms. Manning earned her B.B.A. in Accounting from Texas A&M University in 1990 and is a Certified Financial Research Administrator. She began her career in higher education as a post-award research administrator with the Texas A&M Research Foundation and spent several years with the Texas Engineering Experiment Station in contract negotiation and administration. Ms. Manning also worked six years for The A&M University System Office of Budgets and Accounting as a senior accountant preparing a variety of state and federal financial reports, overseeing grants administration, and providing system-wide training of fiscal policies and procedures.

She joined UTSA’s Office of Research in 2006 after spending fourteen years serving the Texas A&M community. Ms. Manning was UTSA’s first research contract negotiator responsible for the negotiation of all sponsored contracts, agreements and subcontracts with various federal, state and private entities, including MOU’s, MOA’s, Material Transfer Agreements, Non-Disclosure Agreement’s, Teaming Agreements and Consortia Agreements. Her extensive financial and accounting background enabled her to move into the VP’s office as its Director for Finance and then Assistant Vice President for Research Finance and Operations. Ms. Manning has led many diverse teams including Research Finance, Grants and Contracts Financial Services, Quality Assurance and Risk Management, Research Infrastructure Support and the Research Computing and Business Intelligence units. She also served as UTSA’s representative on the UT System Research Core Governance Committee.

Richard Rodriguez, MSDA, ITIL
Director, Partnership Development

Richard Rodriguez is the Director of Partnership Development for the National Security Collaboration Center (NSCC) at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). In this role, he builds relationships with NSCC ecosystem members to develop sponsored research projects, workforce development initiatives, and educational programs that support student success.

He is certified in ITIL-4 Foundation for IT Service Management (ITSM) and earned his Bachelor of Science in Electronic Engineering Technology from Texas A&M University, College Station, and his Master of Science in Data Analytics from UTSA. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in IT in Artificial Intelligence from UTSA, where he is also a doctoral student researcher in the Information Systems and Cyber Security Department and the Computer Science Department.

Prior to joining the NSCC, Richard was the Director of Information Management and Technology at the UTSA College of Education and Human Development. In this role, he led the Information Technology, Communications, and Instructional Technology groups, and designed the college's Digital Transformation Learning Labs to support research in online learning pedagogy, digital media design, and instructional technology using virtual reality systems.

Prior to UTSA, he held an appointment at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) as the Technology Analyst and Licensing Assistant in the South Texas Technology Management office, a tech transfer and licensing function supporting academic research and commercialization for UTSA, UTHSCSA, and UT Rio Grande Valley.

In 2000, Richard organized a community of individual inventors and independent entrepreneurs known today as Alamo Inventors Inc. (501c3). In 2020 he formed the Artificial Intelligence Special Interest Group for the non-profit. Richard is a passionate advocate for the use of technology to improve education and promote economic development. He is often invited as a speaker at conferences and workshops on these topics, and his work has been written about in various publications. He is a talented and experienced leader who is committed to using technology to make a difference in the world.

Charles 'Coz' Cosnowski, MSAE, MAS, MCW
Research Lead

Colonel (Ret.) Charles R. Cosnowski is the Research lead for the National Security Collaboration Center where he leads/manages the portfolio of research projects across the academic departments at UTSA, mainly in the areas of Computer Science and Cybersecurity.

He was formerly the Director of the Joint Electromagnetic Warfare Center (JEWC), Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. He led a joint center that assesses electromagnetic warfare requirements, technology, and capabilities. Additionally in this position, Colonel Cosnowski advised the Joint Staff, NATO, and Services on electromagnetic warfare policy and doctrine, and identified requirement gaps and solutions. He oversaw center modeling & simulation, analysis, and electromagnetic spectrum activity coordination between Combatant Commands, OSD, the Joint Staff and other U.S. government agencies.

Prior to his time at the JEWC, Colonel Cosnowski, served in various Joint and Air Force units at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels. He is a command pilot with over 1800 hours, including 200 hours of combat time, in the F-16, F-117, T-38, and MQ-1 and was a graduate of and instructor at the United States Air Force Weapons School (USAFWS).

Sarah E. Spencer
Engagement Manager

Ms. Sarah Spencer is appointed as the Engagement Manager for the National Security Collaboration Center (NSCC). Prior to her role at the NSCC, Sarah was  a team member of the Cyber Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CyMannII).