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July 22, 2021

Johns Hopkins APL Board of Managers Welcomes New Chair Murren and New Member Barber; Bids Farewell to Outgoing Chair Hankin

Image of Heather Murren

Heather Murren

Credit: Johns Hopkins APL

Image of Michael Hankin

Michael Hankin

Credit: Brown Advisory/Johns Hopkins APL

Image of Jeffrey Barber

Jeffrey Barber

Credit: TA Associates

Heather Murren, a private investor with decades of experience in finance, government and nonprofit leadership, began her term as chair of APL’s board of managers on July 1.

Murren was appointed by President Barack Obama and served on the White House Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity (2017) and as a congressionally appointed commissioner on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (2009-2011). The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission reported its findings on the causes of the financial crisis in January 2011; its published book “The Financial Crisis Inquiry Report” made the New York Times and Washington Post bestseller lists and was critically acclaimed by the New York Review of Books as “the most comprehensive indictment of the American financial failure that has yet been made” and “the definitive history of this period.”

Her career in the financial industry began in the late 1980s as an equity analyst at Salomon Brothers and J.P. Morgan, and culminated with the role of group head of global consumer products for equity research at Merrill Lynch. During her time on Wall Street, she was chosen for six consecutive years by Institutional Investor magazine’s All-American Research Team and the Wall Street Journal as an All-Star analyst. She was also profiled in the Fortune Magazine inaugural All-Star analyst issue for her timely, and often contrarian, views.

In 2002, following her departure from the financial services sector, Murren co-founded and served as the founding chairman and CEO of the Nevada Cancer Institute (NVCI), a nonprofit cancer research and treatment center and the official cancer research institute of the state of Nevada. Under her leadership, the institute began as an idea to allow Nevada’s cancer patients to participate in early-phase clinical trials without leaving the state. Murren subsequently led the structuring and raising of $250 million in funding for the institute, recruitment of key faculty and clinicians, and construction of a state-of-the-art 140,000-square-foot research and treatment center. During her tenure, the NVCI carried out the first first-in-humans clinical trials ever in the state of Nevada and treated over 15,000 patients. The NVCI was merged into Roseman University in 2013.

Murren has been a member of APL’s board of managers since 2013.

“I believe that the Applied Physics Laboratory is a national treasure,” said Murren. “I am excited about this challenge and committed to advancing the work of the Laboratory, and the great people here, in the quest to help solve our nation’s most critical challenges.”

Murren is a chartered financial analyst (CFA) and holds a Bachelor of Arts in humanistic studies from the Johns Hopkins University. She is fluent in Spanish and French, earned her EMT certification (NREMT), and has served as a medical translator and medical assistant for Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada.

She is a member of the board of directors of Fidelity National Financial (NYSE: FNF), LifeSprout, the Johns Hopkins University, and Johns Hopkins Medicine; sits on the advisory board for Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures and the Howard University Center for Women, Gender and Global Leadership; and has previously served as a member of the Nevada Board of Economic Development.

Murren has been recognized as one of the 2018 “Most Influential Corporate Directors” by Women Inc. magazine; as one of 2008’s “Most Influential People” by the Las Vegas Sun; as one of 2007’s “Most Respected CEOs” by Nevada Business Magazine; and as a “Health Care Hero” by Nevada Business Journal in 2006. Murren and her husband Jim are the recipients of the distinguished Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship.

Outgoing Chair Leaves Legacy of Exemplary Service

Murren’s predecessor, Michael Hankin, served as chair of APL’s board of managers for the last six years after joining the board initially in 2012. Hankin is the president and chief executive officer of Brown Advisory in Baltimore and will remain in his roles as vice chair of the Johns Hopkins Medicine board of trustees and as a trustee of Johns Hopkins University.

During Hankin’s tenure as chair of the board, APL became the Technical Direction Agent for the Missile Defense Agency Ground-Based Missile Defense System and hosted the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Air Combat Evolution (ACE) AlphaDogfight Trials, where an AI pilot bested an experienced human F-16 fighter pilot in a simulated aerial battle. The Lab also hosted a space wargame in the White House situation room with the vice president, cabinet members and other senior officials. This event followed closely after the 2018 launch of Parker Solar Probe. Another mission developed during Hankin’s tenure, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), launches in November of this year.

Beyond the Laboratory’s traditional contributions in national security and space exploration, Hankin oversaw the expansion of APL’s partnership with Johns Hopkins Medicine and the Whiting School of Engineering, which proved pivotal last year as Laboratory researchers collaborated with university colleagues to sequence the SARS-CoV-2 variants and build an automated, global data pipeline to support the nation’s COVID-19 pandemic response and JHU coronavirus dashboard.

Hankin’s impact can also be seen in the Laboratory’s increase in intellectual property disclosures and capital investments for the construction of state-of-the-art buildings and facilities. As a consequence of APL’s many efforts to foster innovation during Hankin’s tenure, Fast Company recognized the Lab as third on its annual list of Best Workplaces for Innovators for 2020.

“The counsel Mike has provided during his years of service as chair has been invaluable to the Laboratory and to me,” said APL Director Ralph Semmel. “Through his leadership, APL has been able to make incredible contributions to a number of our nation’s most critical challenges.”

In honor of his service to the Laboratory, Hankin was appointed to APL’s Principal Professional Staff in 2019.

“Working with the esteemed members of APL’s board of managers has been such a privilege,” said Hankin. “I have learned so much from my colleagues on the board, from Ralph and the incredible Laboratory staff, and I feel very proud of all we have accomplished together.”

Hankin added, “APL is in incredibly capable hands with Heather at the helm of the board. She will be an outstanding chair.”

Hankin is also chair of the Baltimore Healthy Harbor Project, chairman of the Land Preservation Trust and a trustee of the Center for Large Landscape Conservation. In addition, he serves on the board of directors of Stanley Black & Decker.

A graduate of Emory University, where he received a Bachelor and a Master of Arts, Hankin also holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Barber Joins Board of Managers

In addition to a new chair, the board of managers added a new member, Jeffrey Barber.

Barber is head of TA Associates’ North America Consumer Group, focusing on investments in consumer products, services and related companies. He previously held positions at Weiss, Peck & Greer Investments, Vestar Capital Partners and Morgan Stanley.

He is a trustee of Johns Hopkins University, incoming chair of the Dean’s Advisory Board of the Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, a member of the Johns Hopkins University Lacrosse Advisory Board, a member of the Private Equity Program Advisory Board for the Columbia University Business School, a Trust Board member of Boston Children’s Hospital, a former board member of the USA Lacrosse Foundation, and a former trustee of Buckingham Browne & Nichols School.

Barber received a Bachelor of Arts in political science, with all university and departmental honors, from Johns Hopkins University and a Master of Business Administration, with honors, from the Columbia Business School as a Beta Gamma Sigma Scholar.

Media contact: Michael Buckley, 240-228-7536,

The Applied Physics Laboratory, a not-for-profit division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For more information, visit

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