Salina, Kansas
August 21 – 22, 2019

UAS Tech Forum 2019 Speakers

Travis Balthazor

UAS Flight Operations Manager
K-State Polytechnic AARC

UAS Flight Operations Manager (Travis Balthazor) – Balthazor oversees flight instructors and pilots for UAS research, outreach, and flight training. He has extensive knowledge of current 14 CFR Part 107 regulations, Public and Section 333 Exemptions through Certificate of Authorizations. As Flight Operations Manager, he ensures that all flight operations are conducted in accordance with applicable regulations and routinely works with the FAA to gain operational approval for flights that are outside the regulatory constraints.

Balthazor received a bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Technology – professional pilot as well as a minor in aviation safety and an unmanned aircraft systems certificate from Kansas State University. Balthazor is currently pursuing a master’s degree with a focus on human factors in UAS. Balthazor has several manned flight ratings including commercial instrument multi-engine airplane and certified flight instructor instrument airplane. As a flight instructor, Balthazor trains and endorses students on check rides.

Balthazor routinely teaches outreach course offerings to the public. Through these courses, he instructs individuals, companies, and departments to integrate UAS within their respective industries. These courses span many industries but are often directly taught to law enforcement, academia, agriculture, and construction.

Mark Barker Ph.D.

Manager, Adv. Tech. Integration
John Deere Des Moines Works

Dr. Barker is Manager of Advanced Technology Integration for the John Deere Technical Innovation Center where he researches new technologies to develop customer solutions primarily focusing on planters, tillage equipment, and self-propelled sprayers. Most of his 20 plus year career has been in machine design, simulation, and testing. He has his Part 107 Remote Pilots license and researches the use of UAVs on the farm.

Mark grew up in Fort Scott, Kansas and earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Kansas. He has a MS in Engineering Design from Kettering University, an MBA from Drake University and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Iowa State University. He currently lives in the Des Moines area and works out of the John Deere Des Moines Works in Ankeny.

JaNae Barnard

Executive Director
Major County Economic Development Corporation

Kevin Barquinero

Program Manager
Federal Laboratory Consortium

Kevin is program manager for the FLC’s Technology Focus Area initiative.
He has over 35 years of experience as an innovation management/technology commercialization executive and entrepreneur. He is the former president and founder of Knowledge Sharing Systems, LLC, a software and consulting company supporting technology transfer offices in industry, academia, and government. Prior to starting KSS, Kevin was a technology transfer executive at NASA. He entered federal service as a Presidential Management Fellow.

Aaron Bergstrom MS

Advanced Cyberinfrastructure Manager
University of North Dakota

Aaron manages the High Performance Computing (HPC) and Big Data resources for the University of North Dakota (UND), providing education outreach and advisor services in the area of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure to UND researchers, graduate students, and their collaborators.

Bobby Brauer

Digital Phenotyping Lead
Bayer U.S. – Crop Science

Bobby grew up in rural Nebraska. He has a background in agricultural engineering and computer science, and has spent his 10 years at Bayer Crop Science in various R&D roles focused on field operations, logistics, software, geospatial science and engineering. He currently leads the digital phenotyping team in global breeding, focused on developing models and delivering insights and science at scale from imagery and sensor data.

Kurt Carraway

UAS Executive Director
K-State Polytechnic AARC

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.

Ignacio Ciampitti

Associate Professor
Kansas State University

Ignacio Ciampitti is an Associate Professor and Integrated Farming Systems/ Agronomist in the Department of Agronomy at Kansas State University. Dr. Ciampitti earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Buenos Aires, and his Ph.D. degree from Purdue University.

His research program focuses on integrating field, statistics, remote sensing and modeling research for understanding plant responses. Dr. Ciampitti has published several synthesis-analysis and review papers for corn, soybean, sorghum and canola crops.

Dr. Ciampitti has authored or co-authored + 70 refereed journal articles in the last 10 years. He was awarded with both Early Career Awards from Agronomy and Crop Science societies.

Dr. Ciampitti serves as an associate editor for Crop Science, Editorial Board for Field Crops Research, European Journal of Agronomy, and Remote Sensing. He is also an active member of the tri-societies, past-chairs for the C-3 Crop Ecology Division and Early Career Community.

Garry Clark

Executive Director
Greater Fremont Development Council

Clark has been in the economic development field for over 12 years. In early 2019, Clark published his first work as a published author, with the memoir, Unlikely Viking – From the D.C. Projects to Rural Nebraska. Clark currently works as the Executive Director at the Greater Fremont Development Council, in Fremont, Nebraska. Clark joined the Greater Fremont Development Council in September 2017. Prior to his GFDC role, Clark worked as the NIFA Opportunity Fund Manager out of the Omaha and Lincoln, NE offices and before that served as Cuming County Economic Development Director and Zoning Administrator for 5 years in Northeast Nebraska. Clark is the 2nd Vice President of the National Rural Economic Developers Association and has served as the Northeast Development Network Chair in 2015. In late, 2018, Clark was awarded the Midland Business Journal’s 40 under 40 award for his aggressive workforce housing efforts in Fremont, Nebraska. Garry received his BA in Sociology from Dana College, Blair, N.E. and his Master of Science in Urban Studies/Public Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Although his Alma mater (Dana College) is no more, Garry was inducted into the Dana College Hall of Fame for Track and Field in 2010 and received the Outstanding Young Alum Award in 2018. He holds 11 records (most ever in the school’s history) and was the first male National Champion for Dana College. Prior to his work in Nebraska, Clark started out as a City Planner-Mainstreet Manager and Economic Development Specialist in Florida and in Washington, D.C.

Paul D Colaizzi

Research Agricultural Engineer

Dr. Paul D. Colaizzi is a Research Agricultural Engineer for the US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), Conservation and Production Research Laboratory, Soil and Water Management Research Unit, Bushland, TX, since 2002. As part of a team of scientists and engineers at Bushland and other ARS locations, his focus is on energy and water balance research of irrigated crops, energy balance model advancement for remote sensing applications, sensor development and testing, crop water productivity under advanced irrigation systems (automated sprinkler, LEPA, drip), and high value crop and seed production with high tunnels. The overarching goal of the research program is to bring advanced irrigation water management technology to farm operations to increase crop water productivity. This is essential to keep farmers profitable in the face of declining available water resources, uncertainty of climate change, and volatile economies.
Dr. Colaizzi routinely advises commercial growers, consultants, and industry on irrigation design and management issues, and interacts with stakeholders through workshops, meetings, and committees. Dr. Colaizzi is collaborating with two US manufacturers on developing sensors and algorithms for real-time irrigation management through Cooperative Research And Development Agreements (CRADAs), and is collaborating with other universities and agencies in the US, Israel, and South Korea. Dr. Colaizzi majored in irrigation engineering and remote sensing / spatial analysis at the University of Arizona. Prior to joining USDA-ARS, Dr. Colaizzi was an extension irrigation engineer with Texas A&M University, irrigation manager for a large commercial farm in Arizona, and engineering consultant for a dealer of a major microirrigation manufacturer.

Madeline Cole

GIS Mapping Manager
Reagan Smith Energy Solutions & Land Scout

Madeline joined Reagan Smith Energy Solutions in July 2015 as an ArcGIS Specialist. Madeline graduated in the Spring of 2015 from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and a double minor in Geographic Information Science and Sociology.

Prior to working for Reagan Smith, Madeline interned for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission in the Oil and Gas Conservation Division. Madeline worked on the development of the Oklahoma Historical Aerial Digitization Project by georeferencing historic aerial photographs and gained valuable experience working for a state regulatory agency.

Madeline now uses her Geographic Information Science knowledge to graphically represent permitting, leasing, wildlife, federal lands, and environmental data while overseeing the mapping and database departments at Reagan Smith Energy Solutions. In her spare time, Madeline enjoys her role as the Fundraising Director for the Oklahoma Miss Amazing Organization, running her online retail store, Maye & Company, and spoiling her dog Ham.

Madeline is a member of the Oklahoma City Association of Professional Landmen, South Central Arc User Group, and Professional Petroleum Data Management.

Gregory Crutsinger PhD

Drone Ecologist
Scholar Farms

Dr. Greg Crutsinger is the founder of Scholar Farms, which specializes in using multi-spectral cameras & drones for vegetation mapping.  The company was founded from extensive experience in academic research and teaching, as well as the commercial drone industry. Prior to Scholar Farms Greg worked for some of the leading drone hardware and software companies. While serving academia, Greg was an Assistant Professor of Ecology at the University of British Columbia.  

Eric Deneault

Kansas Department of Wildlife,Parks & Tourism

Travis Desell

Associate Professor
Rochester Institute of Technology in New York

I am an Associate Professor specializing in Data Science, housed in the Department of Software Engineering in the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences (GCCIS). My research focuses on the application of machine learning to large-scale, real world data sets using high performance and distributed computing, with an emphasis on developing systems for practical scientific use. I'm interested in the intersection of evolutionary algorithms and neural networks, or "neuro-evolution", where evolutionary algorithms are used to automate and optimize the design of neural network architectures. I am actively developing the Evolutionary eXploration of Augmenting Convolutional Toplogies (EXACT) and Evolutionary eXploration of Augmenting Memory Models (EXAMM, formerly known as EXALT) algorithms, which are hosted on GitHub.

I am also active in the area of volunteer computing and citizen science, where I did the initial development of MilkyWay@Home, and more recently the Citizen Science Grid and NSF funded Wildlife@Home which has volunteer citizen scientists annotate hundreds of thousands of hours of video and millions of images to help in the development of computer vision algorithms. Recent work on Wildlife@Home has focused on the development of convolutional neural networks to detect various wildlife species in imagery collected from unmanned aerial systems.
My currently funded research projects include the National General Aviation Flight Information Database (NGAFID), used by general aviation institutions across the country to monitor and predict potential flight safety issues. We are actively developing an interface and methods to detect potential flight issues, trends and mine this massive database of over 800,000 hours of flight data. I am also working on Department of Energy Award #FE0031547, Improving Coal Fired Plant Performance through Integrated Predictive and Condition-Based Monitoring Tools, where we are developing neuro-evolution algorithms to evolve recurrent neural networks to predict coal fired power plant data.

I have also been a main contributor in the development of both the compiler and runtime of SALSA and SALSA Lite, a programming language based on the actor model of computation. SALSA enables easy development of concurrent and transparently distributed applications by following actor semantics.

Lindsey Dreiling

Deputy Director of Aviation and UAS
Kansas Department of Transportation

Lindsey Dreiling has spent over 15 years immersed in aviation. She earned Bachelors' degrees in Professional Piloting and Aviation Technology Management; as well as, a Master's in Counseling and Student Development from Kansas State University. There Lindsey served as a flight and ground school instructor for Kansas State and coordinated professional advising for over 700 students on campus.

In 2016, Lindsey transitioned to the Kansas Department of Transportation as their Aviation Marketing Manager, was promoted to the Chief of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) policy a year later, and most recently was announced as the new Deputy Director of Aviation and UAS for the state of Kansas. As Deputy Director, Lindsey drives strategies to grow and support aviation and UAS industries in Kansas. She serves as a liaison between aviation stakeholders across the state and the nation, while engaging in tactical activities addressing industry issues. Lindsey has assisted with the implementation of the first statewide Unmanned Air Traffic Safety program for the entire state of Kansas. Additionally, during her time at KDOT she developed a national award-winning outreach program to educate the public about aviation and grow understanding for UAS industry.

Lindsey sets the pace for aviation engagement as she serves as the President of the Kansas Commission on Aerospace Education (KCAE), Secretary of the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum Board, an FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) Representative and a member of multiple international aviation organizations. She holds a commercial fixed-wing pilot certificate with certified flight instructor (CFI) and instrument ratings (CFII); and recently achieved a multi-engine instructor (MEI) rating. At home, Lindsey enjoys relaxing on her deck with her loving husband and 3 wonderful children.

Kraettli Epperson

Vigilant Aerospace Systems, Inc.

Kraettli L. Epperson is the CEO and Co-Founder of Vigilant Aerospace Systems, which provides airspace management and autonomous collision avoidance software for unmanned aircraft based on a patent exclusively licensed from NASA. Mr. Epperson has a 20-year career as a serial entrepreneur and investor in technology startups in both the US and Europe. He is a frequent expert speaker at major UAS industry conferences such as InterDrone, Xponential, the UAS Summit & Expo, and more addressing topics such as unmanned aircraft detect-and-avoid, and UAS flight safety and airspace management systems for commercial operators, fleet managers, and unmanned airfields. Mr. Epperson is the co-author, with NASA Senior Research Engineer Ricardo Arteaga, of multiple industry research papers on autonomous systems and is an FAA certified Part 107 UAS pilot.

Michael Ferguson

Aerial Influence, Inc.

What started as a hobby turned into a passion, which then became a business. That’s how Aerial Influence was started more than 3 years ago, when two best friends from the Midwest bought a used DJI Phantom 3 quadcopter.

From there, the ideas started churning. While drones can create amazing video and photography, they have countless uses beyond cinematography in the business world!

So, Michael (an entreprenuer) and David (a former television producer) set out to learn as much as they could about how these flying machines were about to change the world.

Based in Chicago’s west suburbs, Aerial Influence’s headquarters sits on 15 acres of land and is one of the country’s first facilities dedicated to drone research and development and to furthering the use of drones in agriculture and in the business world.
As a DJI Enterprise dealer, Aerial Influence is one of the first companies in the US to work with a drone that can both spray crops and spread seed.

Matthew Halton

Salina Police Department

Matthew Halton has been with the Salina Police Department for 20 years. He has served as a Patrol Officer, Detective and now as a Patrol Sergeant. Along with his regular patrol assignment, he also supervises the Salina Police Department sUAS program. Matthew holds a Part 107 certification. He has attended sUAS Commercial Pilot and UAS Law Enforcement training through Kansas State University Polytechnic.

Phil Heard

Portfolio Manager
Cimarron Capital Partners

Matt Isenbarger


Matt Isenbarger manages Customer Success and Inside Sales at AeroVironment. Growing up near a small Indiana airport his passion for flight started at a young age. This passion led to studies of aviation and unmanned systems at the United States Air Force Academy, Purdue University, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

After school, Matt helped to enable rapid growth at several companies with a focus on business development and management. At DJI, Matt helped to enable both the consumer and commercial drone markets. In his current role, Matt closes the loop between customers, engineers, and management with a focus on enabling success for our customers.

Jamey Jacob

Oklahoma State University

Jamey D. Jacob is the John Hendrix Chair and Professor in the School Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering and Director of the Unmanned Systems Research Institute at Oklahoma State University. He is the author of over 100 papers and technical reports in the areas of unmanned systems, aerodynamics, flow control, and inflatable structures. 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 Aerospace and Autonomous Systems Council and as president of the Unmanned Systems Alliance of Oklahoma.

AshLee Lattner

Development Manager
Kansas Farm Bureau

AshLee Lattner is the development manager for Kansas Farm Bureau where she establishes partnerships related to rural development, food systems, and agricultural policy. Prior to joining the KFB staff, she worked on beef cattle and environmental thought sustainability research. Broad agricultural industry experience including ag credit, cattle and hog production, and milling inform her approach to enhancing the capacity of farmers, ranchers, and communities throughout the state to remain viable and innovative.

Although AshLee is originally from the northeast, Manhattan has quickly become home for herself, her two dogs, and her rodeo habit. She holds a BS in agricultural economics and philosophy from Kansas State University and is currently finishing a MS in community development.

Devin Lee

Regional Sales & Business Development

Devin Lee is the Director of Sales and Business Development in the Western and Central U.S. for AgileMesh, Inc., a manufacturer of rapidly deployable  surveillance solutions.   AgileMesh is based out of Plano, Texas.   Devin joined the AgileMesh team in 2010.   Prior to that, he was the Director of U.S. Law Enforcement Sales for Atlantic Signal (formerly New Eagle) based out of Topeka, KS from 1993-2010.   Atlantic Signal manufactures tactical communications solutions for specialized teams across law enforcement and the military.   Devin has been dedicated towards building and supporting long-term valued relationships across the Public Safety sector for approximately 26 years.  
Devin is a lifelong Kansan who grew up in a small farming community outside of Topeka, KS.   He is a 1991 graduate of Kansas State University receiving a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration.

Jason Lee

Fenix Space

Jason Lee is President of Fenix Space, Inc., a private California-based company deploying a game changing space flight system for agile small satellite delivery.

Previous to Fenix Space, Inc. Mr. Lee headed operations at Kelly Space & Technology, Inc. managing R&D and test programs in the aerospace and defense sectors. Prior to this, he was Vice President of Asia-Pacific Space Center, an Australian spaceport project on Christmas Island where he led project development and international launch services activities. Mr. Lee holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of New South Wales.

Joe Lienemann

Vice President
Impossible Aerospace

Joe Lienemann – Vice President of Sales - Impossible Aerospace - Public Safety Industry Professional for 20+ years.. Retired Game Warden. Joe still works part time law enforcement in Kansas. Joe has a passion for bringing new technology to his fellow first responders to help them do their jobs safer and smarter. He resides in Atchison, KS. Joe can be reached at 913-426-1991 or

Benjamin Lindner

George Butler Associates

Ben Lindner is a FAA Certified Commercial pilot and remote Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) pilot. Ben is the Advanced Robotics and Remote Sensing (AARS) group leader for GBA. He has developed internal robotics training and has used his knowledge to educate groups and firms across the US. Ben has worked with several of GBA’s departments such as our Survey group to develop photogrammetry, and Transportation group to develop sonar and infrared imagery that has been international recognized by AUVSI and nationally by ACEC. Ben is an accomplished imagery expert who has used his skills in multiple industries, producing content for national television networks, feature-length films and live concert events. He has valuable experience in advanced robotics, remote sensing, and artificial intelligence processing of unstructured data.

Trever Linn

UAS IPP Program Manager
Kansas Department of Transportation

Trever Linn currently serves as the Chief of UAS and Program Manager for the FAA UAS IPP for KDOT where he is responsible for the coordination and execution of an industry, state, and federal effort to advance national UAS integration. Trever is a Commercial Pilot, Certified Flight Instructor - Instrument (CFII), and active Representative with the Wichita (FAASTeam) with over 5 years of industry experience. He holds Bachelors' in Molecular and Cellular Developmental Biology (MCDB) from the University of Colorado and Aeronautical Technology from Kansas State University and serves on the board of the Kansas Commission on Aerospace Education.

Roger Marshall

U.S. Congressman
Kansas' 1st District

Dr. Roger Marshall, Congressman for Kansas' Big 1st District, is a physician, devoted father and husband. He and his wife, Laina, have been married for 32 years and are the parents of four children, and have two grandchildren. As a physician, Dr. Marshall has delivered more than 5000 babies, giving him a deep appreciation for the sanctity of life, and an intimate understanding of the healthcare system. 
Marshall graduated from Kansas State University with an undergraduate degree in biochemistry before attending University of Kansas Medical School. He received his Medical Doctorate in 1987 and moved on to his residency in St. Petersburg Florida. In his final year of residency, he was not only named Teacher of the Year by all other residents and faculty, but also received the Resident Research Award. Following his residency, he returned to Kansas where he began his practice in Great Bend.

Coming to Congress to represent Kansas' 1st District, Dr. Marshall will utilize his depth of medical and family experience, and much more. He brings seven years of Army Reserve experience, where he helped train a mobile hospital support unit and rose to the rank of Captain. His life began on a Kansas farm, and he preserves his deep agricultural appreciation and understanding through participating in a cattle feeding operation.

Community has been a pillar of Marshall's life, and is a focus to this day. He is a board member of Farmer's Bank and Trust, the community bank that has served central Kansas for 100 years. He has been an Elder, Deacon, and twice board chair of his church. He has also coached in his community youth sports programs, and spends as much time as possible at Quivera National Wildlife Refuge and Cheyenne Bottoms.

In Congress, Dr. Marshall serves on the House Ag Committee, the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, and the House Small Business Committee.

Sean McClung

Chairman of the Board
Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Colorado

Sesan McClung is co-founder and Chairman of the Board, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Colorado, a non-profit business league promoting the safe integration and use of UAS throughout the state for the benefit of the public since 2014. A retired Air Force Colonel, Sean has years of systems development, planning, and operations experience. Sean serves on the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade Advanced Industry Accelerator Grant Review Team which has provided millions of dollars in grants for new aerospace businesses in Colorado. He is also a founding member and Co-Chair of the Colorado Springs Chamber and Economic Development Corporation Aerospace and Defense Team which advocates and promotes the health and well-being of the Colorado Springs regional aerospace industry. Sean previously served on Governor Hickenlooper’s “Colorado Blueprint” Steering Committee, determining the future direction for the aerospace industry in Colorado, the results of which were published by Brookings Institute as “LAUNCH! – Taking Colorado’s Space Economy to the Next Level.” Sean holds a BS from the University of Florida, and an MA from International University London, England, He is a veteran of Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, operations Desert Shield / Storm and the Cold War.

Brian McCornack

Associate Professor
Kansas State University

Dr. Brian McCornack has an integrated research program that facilitates the discovery and application of tangible solutions to emerging pest issues. He has co-developed a wide range of pest management tools for use on large commercial farms, including widely adopted economic injury levels and thresholds for invasive species, binomial sequential sampling plans for grain sorghum pests, and improved best management practices for economically important pests. More recently, he has been integrating the use of small unmanned aircrafts (sUAS) for early pest detection and monitoring to better inform pest management decisions on the farm.

Brian Metzger

Senior Technology Manager

Brian joined TechLink in 2014, bringing over 18 years of Silicon Valley industry experience in new product development with tech companies, LSI Logic and Applied Materials. He has a doctorate in physical chemistry, and specializes in licensing technologies involving advanced materials, photonics and sensors, and electronics. He is an integral member of the Innovation Discovery Process, helping to host events at DoD labs across the country. Brian is a renaissance man with wide-ranging interests in seemingly unconnected things: ecommerce, sports, psychology, entrepreneurship, creativity, spirituality, fitness, and philanthropy.

Joseph N Miniace

Central Region Regional Administrator
Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA)

Bronwyn Morgan

Xeo Air

Morgan is a sUAS Part 107 certified pilot and teaches FAA Part 107 classes. She is the Founder of tech startup Xeo Air, a drone services platform for mission management that connects B2B clients in telecom, insurance, catastrophic response, oil and gas, civil infrastructure with a crew of vetted Part 107 pilots. In addition, she is Founder of Airversity Drone Pilot Training Academy, a training school for both Part 107 prep and drone flight. Morgan’s past includes being Head of Subkulture Innovation Lab, an innovation and advanced tech solutions firm focused on future proofing organizations by developing strategic business models and disruptive strategies, where she has developed upstream innovation strategies for Fortune 500 organizations and startups. Her clients include companies such as Delta Airlines and Airbus Aerial. Morgan is also the Founder of Black Women In STEAM, an organization dedicated to galvanizing the efforts of women in STEAM fields.

Morgan has over 20 years of senior level management experience in sales management, strategic planning, national product and customer marketing, innovation, large team management, emerging tech ventures, corporate innovation, IP commercialization, and business development with global companies on projects in Asia, Europe, and South America. She has worked for companies such as P&G, Coca-Cola and with major labels and studios in the entertainment industry, as well as, Silicon Valley based tech companies. Morgan is also a former Associate Director of Georgia State University’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation Institute.

Huy Nguyen

Sales Manager, Aerospace & Defense

Tom Nickell

Mobile Recon Systems

Tom Nickell is an entrepreneur who for 25 years has turned ideas into success for Fortune 500 companies, non-profits, and start-ups in manufacturing, chemicals, impact investing, software and web tech.

Tom joined the founders of Mobile Recon in 2018, excited by their innovative designs that set new bars for payload capacity and functional flexibility, enabling high value services currently out of reach for UAVs.

Prior to that, he was founder and CEO of CreteDefender, Inc., a specialty chemical company that focuses on prolonging the life of concrete for its customers and was instrumental in the launch of startups in mobile marketing and photography accessories. He honed his expertise in the internet and digital communications as President and CEO of Lightworks New Media, Inc. For eight years there he guided the development of a business providing Web-based services to faith-based organizations, gaining over 2,000 clients and garnering multiple national awards. In the process, he became a nationally recognized expert in online communications, with a focus on faith-based organizations.
During eight years at Lexmark International, a Fortune 500 global developer, manufacturer, and supplier of printing solutions, he created two new printer supplies businesses within the corporation and successfully brought several new product lines to market.

Mr. Nickell began his career as an international development consultant and is proud to still be involved in that field, currently serving on the board of Heifer International.

Tom has an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management, an MA from the University of Kentucky Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce, and a BA from Principia College. He currently serves on the board of the Heifer International Foundation.

David Plummer

Aerial Influence, Inc.

What started as a hobby turned into a passion, which then became a business. That’s how Aerial Influence was started more than 3 years ago, when two best friends from the Midwest bought a used DJI Phantom 3 quadcopter.

From there, the ideas started churning. While drones can create amazing video and photography, they have countless uses beyond cinematography in the business world!

So, Michael (an entreprenuer) and David (a former television producer) set out to learn as much as they could about how these flying machines were about to change the world.

Based in Chicago’s west suburbs, Aerial Influence’s headquarters sits on 15 acres of land and is one of the country’s first facilities dedicated to drone research and development and to furthering the use of drones in agriculture and in the business world.
As a DJI Enterprise dealer, Aerial Influence is one of the first companies in the US to work with a drone that can both spray crops and spread seed.

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 was one of the original founders of Sentera and currently serves as the Director of Business Development and Strategy. Sentera is a Minnesota based global supplier of specialty sensors, analytics, software and drones. Kris oversees all corporate business development and strategy for Sentera.

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

Anthony Reitz

Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism

Patti Ripple

Director, Military Aviation and Aerospace
Greater Oklahoma City Chamber

Patti L. Ripple is the Director for Military Aviation and Aerospace for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. In this capacity, she engages with and supports the key program needs of leadership for Tinker Air Force Base, local Federal Aviation Administration organizations, and other aerospace entities in the Oklahoma City area. Patti retired as a civilian employee of the U.S. Air Force with over 33 years of service. Her experience included serving as a Political-Military Planner and advisor for the Joint Staff and Office of the Secretary of Defense leadership. Prior to her assignment in the Pentagon, she was the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center Chief of Staff and Deputy to the Commander for Support, as well as the Director of the 76th Maintenance Support Group and the Chief of the Process Improvement and Quality Assurance Division.

In June 2010, Patti completed a Master of Science in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University. She also has a Master of Business Administration from the University of Central Oklahoma and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Oklahoma.

D. Mitch Robinson CEcD

Executive Director
Salina Community Economic Development

Suman Saripalli

Vice President, Business Development
KalScott Engineering

Cliff Stone

Vice President, Product Life Cycle Sustainment
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.

Clifford Stone serves as Vice President of Product Life Cycle Sustainment for General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI). Mr. Stone is responsible for enabling cost effective mission success through world class sustainment of GA-ASI’s products over the entire life cycle. Mr. Stone’s department is accountable for providing logistics personnel, products, services, tools, and processes that deliver the 12 elements of Integrated Logistics Support.

Prior to joining GA-ASI, he accumulated 27 years of military aerospace and defense experience at Pratt & Whitney, Military Engines, a division of United Technologies Corporation.

Mr. Stone has experience leading large defense programs in the domestic and international fighter jet engine marketspace, including engines for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, F-22 Raptor, F-16 Fighting Falcon, and F-15 Eagle, among others. He has led programs in all phases of the life cycle, including development, production, and sustainment.

Mr. Stone also has experience growing the logistics and sustainment business, having managed both the international and domestic business development functions.

During his tenure at Pratt & Whitney, he served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of 1-Source AeroServices company in Athens, Greece, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Middle East Propulsion Company in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Stone began his career as an aerospace engineer specializing in jet engine test and performance simulation.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo, a Master’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Florida Atlantic University, and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Connecticut. His leadership training includes programs from INSEAD Graduate Business School, the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, and Rensselear Polytechic Institute.

Clinton Strong

Center Manager, Unmanned Systems Training
FlightSafety International

Clint Strong is a self-described “drone nerd” having started in the RC industry at 16. He is a retired EMT, Law Enforcement Sheriff and Chief of Police. He started a small UAS business in 2005 focused on photography, videography, and disaster response services for local real estate, civil organizations, TV stations, film crews and emergency personnel.

Clint started at FlightSafety in 2008 and has held several positions including Instructor, Program Manager, Assistant Director of Training, and Assistant Center Manager. Clint is currently the Center Manager for Unmanned Systems Training.

Clint is a type rated pilot, instructor and examiner with 3000 hours in manned aircraft. He holds an Associate’s degree in Professional Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration from Mountain State University and a Masters of Business Administration from Delta State University where he received the Presidential Scholars Award.

Christopher Todd

Executive Director
Air International Response Team (AIRT)

Christopher Todd serves as the executive director of the Airborne International Response Team (AIRT®), a Florida-registered 501(c)3 non-profit, non-governmental organization that provides unmanned aviation capabilities to help people prepare for, respond to, and recover from complex emergencies and major disasters. Chris also serves as a member of the Florida Region 7 All-Hazards Incident Management Team (FL-AHIMT-7)

Additionally, Mr. Todd is the founder and president of Airborne Response®, a Miami-based provider of Mission Critical Unmanned Solutions℠ for government and industry. Airborne Response captures aerial imagery and data in the world’s most challenging environments and prepares remote pilots to operate UAS for public safety, emergency management, and critical infrastructure security missions.

As a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM®) and FAA-certified Remote Pilot, he excels at leading complex industrial, critical infrastructure, and disaster response flight missions. He has flown day and night UAS operations during hurricane response and recovery operations, structure collapses, aircraft accidents, and many other types of incidents. Mr. Todd is one of the few remote pilots who has operated UAS in tandem with both manned air rescue helicopters and FEMA USAR teams.

Mr. Todd is the Director of AUVSI Miami. He is a member of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), the Florida Emergency Preparedness Association (FEPA), the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), and InfraGard, the public-private partnership between U.S. industry and the FBI.

Chris holds a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from Drake University. He has completed graduated work focused on crisis communications and integrated marketing communications at the Medill School at Northwestern University.

in 2008, Mr. Todd was awarded the Coast Guard Auxiliary Commendation Medal by Adm. Thad Allen, Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, at Ft. McNair, Washington DC.

Sallie Traxler

Co-Founder and Director
DronePort Network

Jim Troxel

UAS Angels

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.

Owen C. Unangst

Director – Technology Sector
Cherokee Nation Technology

Before joining Cherokee, Owen was employed with USDA for over 37 years, first as a natural resource conservationist and for the last 27 years as an information technology (IT) project manager, Associate Chief Information Officer (ACIO) for Electronic Government, Director of USDA’s Innovation and Emerging Technology Division, Director of USDA’s HSPD-12 program and ACIO for Network Services.

Additionally, during his tenure at USDA, Owen led the development of USDA’s “Operational Cyber Security Blueprint” which included policies, procedures, people (skills), technologies and budgets for:
a) Fixed and mobile end point devices,
b) Networks, including both wired and wireless WAN’s and LAN’s,
c) Data Centers, including network, server and data handling hardware/software,
d) Applications and databases,
e) Authentication and authorizations, including single sign-on, and
f) Security Operations (SOC).

Since joining Cherokee, Owen has climbed the corporate ladder and currently holds the position of Executive General Manager, responsible for managing 6 tribally-owned companies comprised of over 900 employees. These companies specialize in technologically-based solutions involving IT infrastructure, cyber security, GIS/remote sensing (including international drone work), facility and physical security, defense & intelligence and other innovative technical areas.

Deon van der Merwe

Senior R&D Researcher
GD Animal Health

Dr. Deon van der Merwe currently serves as an R&D Researcher at GD Animal Health in the Netherlands, and holds appointments as adjunct faculty at Oklahoma State University and Kansas State University. He also serves the UAS community in the role of consultant.

Prior to joining GD Animal Health, Deon was a practicing veterinarian and researcher in South Africa. He moved to the USA to continue graduate research and spent 12 years at Kansas State University with agricultural and environmental applications of UAS as a research focus. He helped develop applications based on UAS-borne multispectral and thermal sensors in crop evaluation, biomass assessment in grasslands, green roof monitoring, water quality assessment, air quality assessment, livestock health assessment and more. He received the K-State Research and Extension Services Team Award (Western Kansas UAS and Crop Canopy Imaging Team). As a consultant, Deon assists various clients in commercial UAS applications, research projects at universities, crop producers, agricultural service providers and remote sensing service providers.

Deon holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Veterinary Sciences and an Honors degree in Wildlife Management from the University of Pretoria, and a PhD in Comparative Biomedical Sciences from North Carolina State University. He has mentored over 25 graduate students and has authored over 35 peer reviewed scientific publications, 14 book chapters and numerous scientific abstracts.

Matt Varney

Agent in Charge/sUAS Program Manager
Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs

Matt Varney has 17 years of law enforcement experience at the municipal and state level of government. Varney began his law enforcement career in 2002 with the Enid Police Department where he held positions as a patrolman, narcotics detective, and SWAT operator. In 2012, Varney joined the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN) where he held assignments in the Enforcement, Diversion, and Professional Standards. Varney currently serves as an Agent In Charge (AIC) of the Professional Standards Unit with OBN. While at OBN, AIC Varney created, implemented, and manages the sUAS program. AIC Varney is also a firearms instructor and member of OBN’s policy development committee.

Gabrielle Wain

Head of Public Policy
Iris Automation, Inc.

Gabrielle Wain is Head of Public Policy at Iris Automation, working on safely enabling truly autonomous flight for drones using Iris' detect and avoid technology. Originally from the UK, she has a background in policy development and international government affairs but has been working in the US drone industry for the last 18 months.

Iris Automation is building an AI-based collision avoidance system that helps drones see the world how pilots do. By enabling Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) to fly Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight (BVLOS), Iris is the critical missing piece that takes commercial drone operations from theoretical to functional. The company is based in San Francisco and is led by a team with experience at NASA, Boeing, and Nvidia, including PhDs in computer vision. Iris is a key partner on multiple FAA UAS Integration Pilot Programs (including Kansas), a participant of NASA’s Unmanned Traffic Management program and a participant of Transport Canada's BVLOS Technology Demonstration Program. For more information, visit

Randall Warnas

Global sUAS Segment Leader
FLIR Systems, Inc.

Randall manages FLIR’s sUAS business globally, and has a singularly unique perspective of the drone industry. From pioneering drone retail in 2014, he went on to develop the initial stages and foundation of DJI’s Enterprise business. Now working for FLIR, he has engaged with tens of thousands of end-users in both the consumer and commercial space, helped consult and develop hundreds of business around the use of drones, and has worked with most drone manufacturers, software providers, and industrial service companies.

Through interfacing with such a wide variety of participants in the drone space, Randall uses this lens to help grow and promote the industry throughout the world. With aerial thermal imaging being one of the most proven applications of drones in the commercial space, his exposure to a variety of use-cases allows him to evaluate and validate potential opportunities with this technology. He also enjoys using his network to bring together different parties to take their aerial aspirations to new heights.

Randall has a Masters in International Affairs from the American University in Washington DC, and a Bachelors in Political Science from the University of Utah. Before drones, Randall was involved in the intelligence community, malaria diagnostics, and foreign currency exchange

Paul Weckler

Oklahoma State University

Dr. Paul R. Weckler, P.E. is a professor in the Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Department at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. He teaches both undergraduate and graduate engineering courses, and conducts interdisciplinary research and development in sensors, instrumentation, automation, water system engineering, and food and crop processing. He also consults on engineering projects in agriculture, energy, food, and aerospace, which include airborne remote sensing, patent litigation, energy efficiency analysis, product liability and safety reviews, and new product development.

Before joining Oklahoma State University, he was on the faculty of California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo. Dr. Weckler's post-graduate industry experience includes significant engineering positions with the Electro Optical Systems Division of Litton Industries and with L-3 Aeromet Inc. involving the design, fabrication, calibration, field deployment and data reduction of airborne optical sensor systems. Paul was a defense/aerospace industry leader in remote sensing during his time at Litton Industries and L-3 Aeromet Inc. After graduating with his B.S. in agricultural engineering, he was a staff irrigation engineer with Hydratec Inc. in Delano, Calif. His areas of expertise include: electro-mechanical system design, electro-optical sensor systems, machine automation, instrumentation, sensors & controls, digital image/signal processing, food & crop processing, irrigation engineering, and complex system integration & testing.

A 31-year member of ASABE, Weckler has been extensively involved as a member and leader within the ASABE Information Technology, Sensors and Control Systems, Education, Outreach and Professional Development, and Machinery Systems Technical Communities. Additionally, Weckler maintains memberships with the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers. Weckler is also a member of the editorial board of Information Processing in Agriculture and a member of the external advisory committee of the Engineering and Physics Department at Abilene Christian University. In his role as the senior advisor of the Oklahoma State University Engineers Without Borders chapter, Weckler leads engineering students in the practical application of their skills to meet needs in developing regions of the world.

Weckler is author or coauthor of more than 200 peer-reviewed articles, conference proceeding papers, and other publications. Throughout his career, Weckler has received many teaching awards including serving as an invited facilitator/mentor for the Oklahoma Educators Leadership program's Outstanding Professors’ Academy sponsored by the Oklahoma Regents for Higher Education. He was named the Outstanding Oklahoma State University Service Learning Faculty for 2012, received the Merrick Foundation Teaching award in 2010, and was awarded the Petoseed-Seminis, Inc. Agriculture faculty award in 2000. He received an ASABE Superior paper award and an Outstanding paper award in 2015 and 2010.

Steve Willer


Steve Willer is the Business Development Manager at AirMap, where he works with airports, regulators, and airspace stakeholders to improve drone safety and situational awareness.

Prior to joining AirMap, Steve spent 10 years at Esri assisting aviation organizations across the globe with their implementation of geospatial technology.

Steve is a graduate of Saint Louis University with degrees in Aviation Science and Aviation Management. For the past 18 years, he's been an active commercial pilot and flight instructor.

Trevor Witt

UAS Data Analyst
Kansas State University

Trevor’s experience in the small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) industry started in August 2013 at Kansas State University Polytechnic to pursue an undergraduate degree in Aeronautical Technology. In December 2016, he graduated from the program Suma Cum Lade, and in addition to his studies, Trevor worked in K-State’s Applied Aviation Research Center (AARC) as the sUAS remote sensing specialist. While a student, Trevor was actively involved in many of the AARC’s research projects including those in collaboration with Westar Energy, Bureau of Land Management, and K-State’s Department of Entomology.

Trevor now works full time at the AARC as the UAS Data Analyst and UAS Instructor Pilot. Currently, he plays an integral role in a multitude of projects for a variety of industries. This includes a UAS remote sensing comparison study for crime scene reconstruction funded by the National Institute of Justice, an NSF funded ag big data project, and he teaches a 3-day professional short course on UAS remote sensing.

Doug Wood

Riley County Police Department

Sgt. Doug Wood was appointed as the inaugural Riley County Police Department UAS Team Leader in November 2017. He has served with the Riley County Police Department since March 1996 and is currently the Court Services Unit supervisor. He has been assigned to Patrol, Investigations, Civil Process, and prior to his current assignment was the supervisor of the Criminal Intelligence Unit. He is an experienced firearms, defensive tactics, and use of force instructor and previously served on the Department’s Underwater Search and Recovery team. Sgt. Wood also retired in 2008 from the U. S. Navy (Reserve) as a First Class Master at Arms after serving for 23 years in various assignments, primarily Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection. In 2014 he received a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Central Christian College, McPherson, KS.

Sgt. Wood is a member of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), the National Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor’s Association (NLEFIA), the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association (LEEDA), the National Rifle Association, Kansas Peace Officers Association (KPOA), and the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 17.