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UAS Tech Forum Speakers

Ryan Aasheim

Praxis Strategy Group

Ryan Aasheim has been with Praxis Strategy Group since 2011 and oversees the activities of the Red River Valley Research Corridor, a non-profit regional technology-based economic development initiative, and the Red River Corridor Fund, a $3.4 Million debt and equity fund focused on regional small business growth. He recently served as program manager overseeing the operations of the North Dakota STEM Network

Through his work with the Research Corridor, Ryan directs efforts to catalyze and promote science, technology, training and engineering initiatives that support new economic opportunities in the Upper Great Plains region. The Research Corridor works with universities, businesses and other partners to foster new science and technology-based development and implement outreach activities that raise the visibility of the region nationally and globally. Ryan has supported and more recently served as the lead in organizing more than 25 industry specific Action Summits, including Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), Life Sciences, Small Business and Precision Agriculture.

Since 2012, Ryan has led efforts to implement a significant economic development tool for communities and capital access tool for small businesses in North Dakota through the U.S. Department of Treasury’s State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). As business development manager of the $3.4 million Red River Corridor Fund (RRCF), Ryan oversees the daily operations of the 36 community SSBCI consortium led by the City of Carrington. Ryan also manages the administration of the RRCF Collateral Support Program and the Red River Angel Fund.

Ryan has also served as a contributing author on the Enterprising States Report for the last four years. Enterprising States is a U.S. Chamber of Commerce study which analyzes and profiles economic development efforts in all fifty states, now in its fifth year of production.

Prior to Praxis, Ryan served as economic development director for U. S. Senator Byron Dorgan. In this capacity, he worked closely with community and state leaders, economic developers, industry executives, university officials and high tech research interests to advance a wide variety projects. He served as advisor to the Senator on various issues concerning economic development activities, community projects, university research, commercialization and technology transfer efforts, flood and disaster situations and numerous other public policy issues.

Kurt J. Carraway

UAS Executive Director
Kansas State University, Salina Campus

After serving 25 years with the United States Air Force, retired Colonel Kurt J. Carraway is K-State
Polytechnic’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Executive Director. In this capacity Carraway
provides strategic leadership in advancing Kansas State University’s UAS program goals. He directs
the execution of research activities involving UAS through the Applied Aviation Research Center
(AARC). Carraway also directs flight operations development and maturation of the UAS training program through direct supervision of the Flight Operations staff. He manages highly skilled UAS
professionals that perform hundreds of UAS flights per year in civil airspace. He sets policies
and procedures for unmanned flight operations.

He serves as Principal Investigator (PI) on UAS activities through the AARC and is the University
PI representative to ASSURE, the FAA’s UAS Center of Excellence. In that role he also serves
as the UAS training focal point lead. Carraway is a Professor, an instructor and mentor to students.

Before arriving at K-State Salina, Carraway was stationed at Camp Smith in Oahu, Hawaii where he served first as Joint Operations Director and then Division Chief of Current Operations, both for the U.S. Pacific Command. Carraway worked with the Global Hawk UAS, as an evaluator and instructor pilot,
and later became commander of the Global Hawk squadron. Carraway established standard operating procedures and composed technical manuals for the military’s use of the Global Hawk.

A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Carraway received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, prior to entering the Air Force. During his service, Carraway also completed a Master of Science in Systems Engineering at the Air Force Institute
of Technology on the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, and a Master of Arts in Management from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri. He is married to the former Pamela Savage and has two daughters, ages 17 and 13.

Jay Carter Jr

President and CEO
Carter Aviation Technologies

Gabriel Dobbs

Vice President of Business Development and Policy

Gabriel Dobbs is Kespry’s Vice President of Business Development and Policy, working to help customers use the Kespry UAS to collect and analyze data. At Kespry, Gabriel works with the FAA and civil aviation agencies around the world to craft policy for the next generation of UAS. In 2014, Gabriel secured the first 333 exemption for drone operations in construction in the United States. He was recently selected for Forbes' 30 under 30 list for having an impact on law & policy in the United States. 
Bringing new technology to market that change the way people live has been a lifelong passion of the Bay Area native. Gabriel earned his JD and MBA from Stanford University. Prior to Kespry, Gabriel worked with Google, 23andMe, and SpaceX in various roles.

David Doshier

DroneGamez LLC

David is a senior industrial engineering student at the University of Oklahoma from the small town of Verdigris Oklahoma. He is passionate about product design, nature and innovation, and has always dreamed of owning my own company. After countless hours of hard work and a little luck, DroneGamez was born. DroneGamez aims to shake the industry and allow people to use drones in a way they never thought possible.

Kraettli L Epperson

President & CEO
Vigilant Aerospace Systems

Mary Fallin

State of Oklahoma

In 2010, Mary Copeland Fallin was elected the first woman governor of Oklahoma.

She was reelected in 2014 to her second term by a 15-point margin, carrying 71 out of 77 Oklahoma counties.

Since Fallin took office in 2011, Oklahoma has consistently ranked among the top states for job creation in the nation.

Prior to serving as governor, Fallin represented the people of Oklahoma in a number of state and federal positions. She served two terms as a state representative before becoming Oklahoma’s first Republican and first woman lieutenant governor in 1995. After serving as lieutenant governor for 12 years, Fallin served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011.

Governor Fallin has signed bills to modernize and streamline government operations, responsibly cut the income tax, increase compensation for public employees, and address the state’s fiscally unstable pension system. The governor has also signed into law historic lawsuit reform and a complete overhaul of the state’s workers' compensation system.

At the governor’s direction, the state has increased funding for K-12 education by over $154 million, putting more money into the classroom and helping to boost student performance.

As the former chairman of the National Governors Association, Governor Fallin lead a nation-wide initiative --"America Works: Education and Training for Tomorrow’s Jobs" -- seeking to better align education with twenty-first century workforce needs.

The governor is a graduate of Oklahoma State University. She is married to Wade Christensen, Oklahoma’s first “First Gentleman.” The couple has six children between them.

Janeya T. Griffin

Technology Transfer Specialist
NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center

Janeya Griffin is a HBCU STEM graduate from Grambling State University and a certified Entrepreneurial Technology Commercialization expert in Technology Transfer. She is adept at utilizing her innovative and detailed oriented skill set in an environment that supports moving technologies from mind to market. Applying out of the box thinking intertwined with her science and entrepreneurial skills she is able to help private industry, universities and government entities excel in successfully creating and implementing strategies for both licensing and the commercialization of new technologies. Janeya is currently, the Lead Technology Transfer Specialist contractor for NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, where she focuses on licensing, commercialization and management of their intellectual property portfolio. Over the last 4 years, she has successfully aided in vetting over 100+ technologies for both patentability and commercialization potential. Ms. Griffin is also a member at large on the National Executive Board for the Federal Laboratory Consortium.

Casey Harness

Program Manager
Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science & Technology

Casey Harness manages OCAST's™ Small Business Research Assistance programs including the Oklahoma SBIR/STTR Collaborative Resources (OSCR) a state-wide public-private partnership to support Oklahoma innovation companies to compete more successfully for federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) funding. Casey joined OCAST in April, 2014 from its strategic partner, i2E where he held assignments (2008 - 2014) that included Director of the i2E Fellows Program, Liaison for the Oklahoma Bioscience Association, and External Relations Coordinator. At i2E, Casey coached entrepreneurs and worked to build relationships with local and national economic development professionals to design new programs, performed outreach for i2E programs and clients, and mentored college students in entrepreneurial activity. Prior to joining i2E, Casey was a Project Manager for Cole, Hargrave, Snodgrass & Associates, a nationally recognized polling, advocacy and survey research company.

Casey is a 2007 graduate of Yale University where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering (Molecular and Tissue Engineering Track).

Robert Heard

Co-Founder & Managing Director
Cimarron Capital Partners, LLC

Robert Heard is a Cimarron Managing Director and Founder. Over the past 20 years, he has founded 3 funds of funds and one direct fund. In 1994, Robert formed Edge Development Capital, Inc., the predecessor to Cimarron, specializing in partnership investing. 

Robert was a founding director of the National Association of Seed and Venture Funds (NASVF) and co-authored the National Governors' Association study, “The Experience of States with Seed and Venture Capital." He currently sits on the Advisory Committees of numerous private equity funds and is a member of the National Advisory Council of the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer. 

Robert earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Oklahoma and his MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. He makes his home in Oklahoma City.

Darren Hensley

American Drones, LLC

Flying radio control airplanes was always my second favorite thing to do with my time and it is this passion that would lead me to start my company American Drones L.L.C. When the tornado of 2013 came rolling through my side of town I was safe and sound, miles away working at KWTV channel 9. What I was watching there was a monster tornado headed for my daughter attending Briarwood Elementary and my wife at home just blocks away. I immediately left work and headed to the unknown. When I got as close as I could (3 miles) to the impacted area. I could see the tornado pushing out of town to the west and chaos ahead of me. On foot I had to cross the mangled path of the tornado to get to where my family should be. In the zone of destruction, I remember thinking how crucial the use of multirotor aircraft would be in providing assistance to “first responders” There were downed power lines which I had dangerously crawled under to get both into the affected area and once to the other side I would do the same. First responders using drones would be able to immediately access the area.
These and other hazards were a time consuming obstacle for fire and police responding to the area. My experience with multirotor aircraft made it quite clear to me that I would have to somehow put everything I have into making multirotor aircraft available to “first responders”. Six months later I founded my company and officially began my endeavor to navigate both public opinion and FAA regulations in order to put what are now referred to as “drones” in the hands of emergency services anywhere and everywhere I could.

American Drones LLC manufactures small multirotor UAS for use by emergency managers, fire rescue, police as well as photographers and end users in the agricultural industry. American Drones also provides aerial services to county emergency operations, real estate and the agricultural industry. American Drones has also established itself as the business to turn to when private owners have technical issues with their drones. We will attempt to repair just about anything that walks through the door.

Jamey Jacob

John Hendrix Chair and Professor Engineering
Oklahoma State University

Jamey D. Jacob the John Hendrix Chair of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering with funded research projects in aerospace applications from AFOSR, DARPA, NASA, NextGen Aeronautics, General Electric Aircraft Engines, Boeing, and others. Main research interests include aircraft design and aircraft configuration optimization, low speed aerodynamics, vortex flows, inflatable wings, and wind tunnel and flight testing and other experimental methods, including modern measurement techniques, particularly non-intrusive global methods such as digital particle image velocimetry. He is the author of over 50 papers and technical reports in the areas of aerodynamics, flow control, and fluid mechanics. He received his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Oklahoma in 1990 and his M.S and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley in 1992 and 1995, respectively. He was a National Research Council Summer Faculty Fellow in the Air Force Research Laboratory at WPAFB in both 2003 and 2004. He spent 10 years as a professor at the University of Kentucky in the Mechanical Engineering Dept. He currently serves on the Governor’s UAS Council. He is currently the Director of the Unmanned Systems Research Institute at Oklahoma State University.

Fred Judson GISP

Director of Programs for the Ohio/Indiana UAS Center
Ohio Department of Transportation

Sung Moon Kang

President/Senior Research Engineer
SySense, Incorporated

Dr. Kang became President of SySense, Inc. in 2013 but has been a technical and managerial leader of the company since 2009. He has been the principle investigator on several Department of Defense and NASA SBIR and STTR awards, including Phase II awards. These projects include the development of fault-tolerant navigation systems for spacecraft, a smartphone app, and an adaptive guidance algorithm to intercept ballistic missile in its ascent phase. He has also supervised the development of an adaptive control system for hypersonic glide vehicles for Air Force Research Laboratory. His primary research during his PhD and post-doctoral studies at University of California, Los Angeles, was focused on the development of modern systems theoretic control synthesis methods, such as Linear Quadratic Regulation and Linear Quadratic Gaussian synthesis, to reduce viscous drag in channel flows. Using nonlinear optimization, he discovered that traveling waves could induce steady-state channel flows whose viscous drag is below that of laminar flow. He further developed linearization techniques to enable the use of linear time-invariant (LTI) techniques to synthesize periodic optimal feedback controllers, to suppress the instabilities induced by the traveling wave in the channel flow. The overarching theme of his research efforts has been the application of control and optimization techniques to large-scale dynamical systems with severe limits on observability and controllability.

Dr. Kang is a graduate of Yale Unversity, Stanford University, and the University of California, Los Angeles.

Tom Kilpatrick

CloudDeck Media

Tom Kilpatrick is the Founder of Oklahoma City-based CloudDeck Media LLC, a commercial UAV ("drone") operations company involved with photography, videography, inspections, 3D modelling & analysis, training and education. Tom is Oklahoma's first fully-FAA-authorized commercial UAV operator, holding an FAA pilot's license, FAA Section 333 exemption, and N-numbers on all UAVs. Tom serves corporate, government, institutional and media clients with work experience in commercial real estate, network breaking news, litigation, law enforcement and public safety.

Stephen McKeever

Secretary of Science and Technology
State of Oklahoma

Stephen McKeever is the Oklahoma Secretary for Science and Technology. As Secretary he serves as Chairman of the Governor’s Science & Technology Council, and UAS Advisory Council. He also sits on numerous Boards. He is the former Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer at Oklahoma State University.

He is also a Regents Professor in OSU’s department of physics. He obtained his PhD and DSc degrees from the University of Bangor and after postdoctoral work at the universities of Birmingham and Sussex in the UK he joined the OSU physics faculty in 1983.

He has authored or co-authored over 200 scientific publications and 6 books, and has 6 US and 9 International patents in the area of radiation detection and measurements.

John Nowatzki

Agricultural Machines Specialist
North Dakota State University

Nowatzki regularly delivers educational presentations on various precision agriculture topics including farm data management, unmanned aircraft systems, LiDAR applications, variable rate fertilization of field crops, and sprayer boom section control. Mr. Nowatzki also conducts applied research collaborating with others NDSU faculty. Recent research topics include variable rate fertilization, optical sensors for in-season fertilization, and soil compaction. He is a principal coordinator for the annual Precision Ag Summit in Jamestown.
In 2014, Nowatzki is the principal investigator on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) application to agriculture. This project is a “proof-of-concept” demonstrating specific UAS applications in production agriculture. Project personnel are using UAS-mounted sensors to collect data of ongoing crop and livestock research projects during the 2014 crop season at the North Dakota State University Carrington Research Extension Center (CREC). Project personnel collaborate with NDSU research scientists conducting research at the CREC, and use UAS-mounted sensors to monitor research fields at specific times as identified by the individual researchers. The primary goal of this project is a proof-of-concept of the usefulness and effectiveness of UAS in crop and livestock management in North Dakota. Project personnel will demonstrate effective UAS applications in crop and livestock management, and demonstrate instances where UAS are not effective. We will also develop data processing methods and tools to convert image data to information that farmers, ranchers and consultants can use in their businesses.
Nowatzki recently completed a research project evaluating the effects of stubble height on soil moisture and temperature throughout the winter and spring seasons. The research helped crop producers in determining the optimum crop residue height left from a harvested crop to affect soil moisture and temperature for crop germination and growth on the following year’s crop. He is a contributing author to several NDSU conservation tillage publications including: Strip Till for Field Crop Production, Equipment, Production, Economics; Dry Bean Production Guide; and Bringing Land in the Conservation Reserve Program Back into Crop Production or Grazing.
Nowatzki is leading research on the impact of soil compaction caused by farm equipment on corn growth and yield. This research, begun in 2012, is conducted in fields across North Dakota. Mr. Nowatzki coordinates the demonstrations at the annual Big Iron Show in West Fargo each September that draws approximately 70,000 people North Dakota and the surrounding states. Recent field demonstrations include strip tillage and air seeder opener equipment demonstrations and tile drainage installation.

Kris Poulson

Vice President of Agriculture

Kris Poulson grew up on a family farm in rural North Dakota. After graduating high school, Kris attended North Dakota State University where he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Economics.

Kris started his own farming operation in 2004, which he would later merge together with his family’s farming operation. Kris has also started/operated and sold many successful small agriculture based businesses since graduating from college.

Kris is currently the Vice President of Agriculture for Sentera a Minnesota based global supplier of specialty sensors, software and drones. Kris oversees and manages the whole agriculture vertical for Sentera.

Kris currently lives in Casselton, North Dakota with his wife and two kids.

Lei Shi


Shi is a 2011-2015 Self Graduate Fellow pursuing a Ph.D. in electrical engineering. His research focuses on the development of an airborne collision-avoidance radar system for small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) more commonly known as drones. Shi believes this research will greatly enhance the safety of UAS as they integrate into the national airspace unlocking their commercial, economic, and societal benefits. The project has been funded by NASA’s LEARN program and Shi hopes to ultimately form a startup company centered on this technology. Shi was a former graduate research assistant at the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS) at KU, where he performed a leading role in the development and operations of the Multichannel Coherent Radar Depth Sounder (MCoRDS) over Antarctica. In 2012, Shi received a medal of service from the National Science Foundation for his services in Antarctica. Prior to returning to KU for graduate work, Shi was an electrical engineer at Honeywell FM&T in Kansas City, Mo. Shi received his B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Kansas in 2005.

Jim Troxel

Cowboy Technology Angels, LLC

Jim is a Founder of Development Capital Networks and manages its WBTangels initiative which includes funds in Oklahoma, North Dakota, and Wyoming. In his career he has inspired over 70,000 people in his seminars and workshops ranging from change management, to adult education and participative planning. Since 1997, Jim has led over 100 workshops on seed investing for angel investors and new entrepreneurs. As an expert in strategic planning, group facilitation, and organizational learning, Jim heads up the firm’s internal planning processes and new curriculum designs. He received his B.S. from Oklahoma State University and earned a master's degree with a concentration in organizational transformation from DePaul University in Chicago.

Seth Turnipseed

Commercialization Readiness Program (CRP) Transition Agent
Air Force

Seth Turnipseed is the SBIR Commercialization Readiness Program (CRP)
Transition Agent assigned to Tinker Air Force Base. Seth’s core function at
Tinker is to identify and accelerate SBIR Phase II technologies, and aid
stakeholders in developing a mutually beneficial plan for transition and
commercialization. He has been the SBIR/CRP focal point at Tinker AFB since
2011, and has facilitated over fifteen SBIR Technology Transition Plans,
totaling over $15M in additional SBIR funds being awarded to better ensure
SBIR successes.

Seth is a native Oklahoman, and lives in Oklahoma City with his wife,
Delana, and their daughter Mackenzie.

Gregory S Walden

Senior Counsel
Small UAV Coalition

Gregory Walden is a nationally recognized authority in the fields of aviation and government ethics, with extensive experience in government service and private practice. Mr. Walden counsels passenger and cargo airlines; air taxi operators; companies that buy sell, lease or own aircraft; fixed-base operators; airports; security companies; shippers; and citizens groups with matters pending before
the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the National Transportation Safety Board, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Customs and
Border Protection (CBP) and Congress. He also advises current and prospective presidential appointees, members of Congress and congressional candidates, companies and individuals on government ethics issues, including the Lobbying Disclosure Act; Foreign Agents Registration Act; House and Senate gift, travel and financial disclosure rules; and the Executive Branch Standards of Conduct.

Mr. Walden served as chief counsel of the FAA and as associate deputy attorney general with the U.S. Department of Justice, where he previously served as special assistant and counselor to the assistant
attorney general of the Civil Division. Mr. Walden also served as associate counsel to President George H. W. Bush as a member of the Interstate Commerce Commission. He served as transition ethics
counsel for then-President-elect George W. Bush.

With respect to his government ethics practice, Mr. Walden advises companies and individuals on the
meaning and application of various ethics laws, including provisions in Title 18, the standards of conduct for executive branch officers and employees, financial reporting requirements applicable to presidential
appointees and candidates for Congress, the Lobbying Disclosure Act and the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Mr. Walden has taught aviation law at George Mason University School of Law since 1998. He also
developed and teaches the university’s first post graduate course in transportation law for the School of
Public Policy. He is co-author of Aviation Law – Cases and Materials, published by Carolina Academic
Press (2006).

J.D., University of San Diego
School of Law, magna cum laude,
B.A., Washington & Lee
University, cum laude, 1977
U.S.C.A., D.C. Circuit
Bar Admissions
District of Columbia
Court Admissions
U.S.C.A., 4th Circuit
U.S.C.A., 9th Circuit
U.S.C.A., D.C. Circuit
U.S.D.C., District of Columbia 2

Charles Williams

Float Avionics