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UAS Cluster Initiative
UAS Tech Forum 2020 Speakers
CEO & Founder
Drones iVue LLC
With a passion for aviation, people, and technology from a young age, Jacob Andrews founded Drones iVue as an idea to be able to remotely experience more of the world with the use of personal utility drones and robots. Drones iVue has since grown into a research and development directed holding company with a vision and a mission to virtually and physically make the world more accessible by creating a seamless media content, mobile robotics, and internet software ecosystem.
Jacob now spends his time building teams and products to continue growing Drones iVue’s three subsidiary companies:
iVue Media LLC | On-Demand Media Production
iVue Robotics LLC | Mobile Robotics Hardware & SoAware
Worlds iVue LLC | Multipurpose 3D World Spatial Web Platform
Jacob has designed each of Drones iVue’s subsidiaries and their operations to play a key role in making the world more accessible to all people.
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.
Don Berchoff is a co-founder and CEO of TruWeather Solutions, a micro weather and data analytics company focused on building weather resiliency into the UAS ecosystem. Don is an Air Force Veteran with 35 years-experience in the weather industry and logistics systems, including a year serving as the Expeditionary Base Commander at Manas AB, Kyrgyzstan. He was Emergency Operations Center Director at Manas and obtained his EOC Director certification. He led the National Weather Service Directorate for Science and Technology from 2008-2012 where he executed a $130 million S&T portfolio. Don has provided aviation weather services nearly everywhere across the globe, including as an airborne meteorologist with over 300 flight hours, and led AF Weather Centers that supported over 200,000 flights in his career. In 2001, his team developed an award-winning aviation weather risk management process for the Tanker Airlift Control Center at Scott AFB. Don has deep expertise synthesizing complex weather data sets into simple decision insight for operators for the Unmanned Autonomous System (UAS), ground transportation and logistics industries, and the emergency management community.
System Maintenance Supervisor
Pedernales Electric Cooperative Inc.
After leaving the Military as a Paratrooper he attended the Northwest Lineman College. He has been with PEC for over 10 years moving from Operations as a Journeyman Lineman into Technical Services and now System Maintenance where he is the Principal for the UAV Department. He Has been developing and implementing the UAV program at PEC since the section 333 days. His program has done everything from flying pull line during storm response in the Memorial Day Floods back in 2015 to Hurricane response for multiple named storms. Focusing his efforts currently on system reliability with drones…. (and the crowd goes wild!!!)
Co-founder and CTO
Holding a master's degree in aerospace engineering focused on guidance, navigation and controls systems, Alexandre has a proven track record in developing innovative solutions. As a three-time North American International Aerial Robotics Competition winner, and having placed as a finalist in the 2016 DJI Developer Challenge, Alexandre has a wealth of experience in cutting edge drone technology. A true entrepreneur, Alexandre previously headed a drone startup that trained the Kenya Red Cross Society on the use of drones for emergency response. He strongly believes in the need and the potential of drones for good and is now committed to create technology that rises to this challenge.
Director of Aviation
Kansas Department of Transportation
Bob Brock, a Kansas native, is an alumnus of Pittsburg State University and Texas Christian University with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Development from Webster University. Prior to joining KDOT, Bob served as Senior Business Developer for Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories following a 22-year career in the Air Force. As a military officer his background includes a wide variety of supervisory roles, highlights of which include: Officer-In-Charge of Aircraft Maintenance, Chief of Flight Safety, Helicopter Instructor Pilot, Combat Flight Lead/MH-53 Helicopters, Director of Operations, and culminating as the Flying Squadron Commander for 3rd Special Operations Squadron. An instrument-rated commercial fixed-wing and helicopter instructor pilot, he now serves as the Director of UAS and Deputy Director of Aviation for Kansas Department of Transportation.
Geoff Bruder is a Co-Founder and Incaendium Initiative's Chief Technology Officer and an aerospace engineer with more than a decade of experience in developing power systems for harsh environments. Having held previous positions at NASA Glenn Research Center, a Silicon Valley energy startup, and in the biotech industry, Geoff has established himself as an innovator with several publications and 18 patents or applications in a variety of fields. Prior work includes focuses in acoustics, thermal energy conversion, high efficiency linear actuators, and design for operation in hot and caustic environments.
Technology Transfer and intelletual Property Specialist
Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division
Carey Cannon serves as the Chief Engineer of Innovation on Bell’s Innovation team. Carey joined Bell in 1986 as an electrical engineer in the Electrical Power Distribution and Avionic systems group.
Early career projects for Carey included V-22 Osprey and Eagle Eye UAV, Design and Flight Test. His more recent positions included Chief Engineer for MQ-8C (Fire Scout) and Chief Engineer for the development and certification of the Bell 505.
Carey received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the DeVry Institute of Technology.
Department Head UAS Program & Executive Director, AARC
K-State Polytechnic Campus
AAfter serving 25 years with the United States Air Force, retired Colonel Kurt J. Carraway is the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Executive Director of the Applied Aviation Research Center (AARC) and UAS Department Head at Kansas State University’s Polytechnic Campus. 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 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.
Before arriving at Kansas State Polytechnic, 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 the University of Missouri 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 22 and 17.
Founder and CEO
University of Oklahoma
Phil obtained a BS in Physics from Clemson University in 1985, an MS in Physics (ultra-low temperature physics) from the University of Florida in 1990, and a PhD in Physics (atmospheric physics) from Clemson University in 1993. He spent one year in Germany on Fulbright Scholarship (1985-1986) working in nuclear solid-state physics. Phil completed a postdoc in Germany at the Max Planck Institute for Aeronomy (currently the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research) during 1994-1997. He then worked as a research scientist at the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (1997-200). Phil returned to the US to assume a research scientist position at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences (2000-2004). He has been with the University of Oklahoma since 2005 as a Professor in the School of Meteorology and with the Advanced Radar Research Center.
Metro Technology Centers
Aaron Collins was recently selected as superintendent and CEO of Metro Technology Centers. Metro Technology Centers is a career and technology education district with four campuses serving the greater Oklahoma City metropolitan area offering a variety of training and career programs to high school students, adults and business and industry. Over 80 full-time programs and hundreds of short-term and online courses are available, as well as customized training for business and industry.
Collins has over 20 years’ experience in education serving as a teacher, coach, building administrator, and most recently for the last seven years as superintendent at Fulton County Schools in Kentucky.
Before joining Metro Technology Centers, Mr. Collins worked extensively in Workforce Development in West Kentucky, and was instrumental in creating the state and nationally recognized Four Rivers Career Academy; training local community members for job opportunities, as well as creating a Welding Certificate program for Fulton County Detention Center inmates. For his efforts, he was awarded the Regional Educators President's Award from West Kentucky Community and Technical College in February.
Mr. Collins is a 1999 graduate of Oklahoma Christian University and received the School of Education Distinguished Alumni Award in 2014. He holds an Education Specialist and Masters of Science Degree in Instructional Leadership from Tennessee Technological University.
Vice President of Energy Solutions
Since joining PrecisionHawk in 2012, Tyler Collins has played an instrumental role in both the company's growth and the development of drone operations. Early in his career, Collins led PrecisionHawk’s involvement in the FAA’s PathFinder program resulting in the first Nationwide Beyond Line of Sight Waiver. He also invented LATAS, leading to several patents around air traffic control systems for drones. After the PathFinder program's success, Collins led the development of LATAS, an airspace safety system for drones.
As the Vice President of Energy Solutions at PrecisionHawk, Collins helps electric utility and oil & gas customers better understand the value of machine learning and geospatial technology.
“Artificial intelligence accelerates, automates, and amplifies asset data analysis, and that is what matters to our utility customers.”
Collins’s primary focus is to help customers deploy technology to keep essential operations running smoothly. “We’re using artificial intelligence to help companies execute highly accurate, routine inspections that help them keep the power on and the hydrocarbons moving.”
Amanda A. Conner
Aviation Business Development Manager
North Carolina Department of Transportation
Amanda Conner serves as aviation business development manager for the North Carolina Department of Transportation Division of Aviation. In this role, she leads strategic planning and statewide efforts to expand North Carolina’s aerospace sector.
Conner partners with airports, government agencies, economic and workforce developers, higher education and industry to expand aerospace business recruitment, retention and expansion; align regional and state assets and business plans; and strengthen the networks and infrastructure required to support aerospace companies.
She brings to this work nearly 15 years of experience in economic development and STEM education.
Conner worked two years as business development specialist at the North Carolina Global TransPark in Kinston. She helped the TransPark develop and implement an economic and workforce development strategy to expand its impact and build the state’s aviation economy.
She worked nearly four years as an economic development specialist for Lenoir County Economic Development Department. Before that, she worked for seven years as a public-school educator for Lenoir Public Schools, earning certifications in STEM concentrations.
The Lenoir County, N.C. native graduated from East Carolina University in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in middle grades education and a concentration in mathematics and science. She earned national certification in Project Lead the Way – Pathway to Engineering at Duke University in 2012. Conner attended and received certification in Basic Economic Development from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2014.
Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Specialist
Safety Critical Avionics Systems Branch NASA Langley Research Center
Tomas Diaz de la Rubia
Vice President for Research & Partnerships
University of Oklahoma
Tomás Díaz de la Rubia is a science and technology leader, strategist and administrator with extensive experience in government, academia and the private sector. At present, Tomas is the Vice President for Research and Partnerships at the University of Oklahoma. In this capacity, he leads OU’s efforts to enhance the scale and scope of the university’s research enterprise, and to develop a new strategic framework for research to propel the university forward, particularly in the areas of national security, energy and sustainability, and the life sciences.
Prior to this assignment, Tomas was the Chief Scientific Officer and Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives at Purdue University. In that capacity, he helped the university pursue major new research initiatives and contracts, and led Discovery Park, a transdisciplinary complex of centers, institutes and facilities focused on turning new ideas and discoveries into disruptive innovations with global impact on society. During Tomas’ tenure at Purdue from September 2015 to September 2019, Discovery Park’s focused strategically on the development of real world solutions to major global challenges in health and the life sciences; sustainability and the nexus of energy, food, water, climate and the environment; and national security and defense. Over the same period, Discovery Park saw growth in research funding from industry, government, foreign institutions and philanthropic organizations of over 120%. Tomas was also responsible for the success of the Burton Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship and the Purdue Foundry, a hub to nurture and launch new start-up companies based on faculty and student intellectual property (IP) into the market. Over 100 new companies have been created over the last four years.
Prior to Purdue, Tomas worked for Deloitte Consulting, LLP where he was the innovation leader and a Director in the energy and resources industry practice. Based in Washington, D.C, he advised C-Suite executives at major multinational Oil and Gas companies and electrical utilities on ways to identify and capitalize on new technologies such as Internet of Things, additive manufacturing, robotics, augmented reality and wearable technologies, and predictive analytics.
Prior to joining Deloitte, Tomás was the Deputy Director for Science and Technology (DDST) at the U.S. Department of Energy Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California, where he served as the Laboratory’s Chief Research Officer (CRO) and oversaw a $250M program of basic and applied research in support of the Laboratory’s missions in science and technology, nuclear security, defense, counterterrorism, energy and technology commercialization.
In addition to these leadership roles, Tomas is a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Intelligence Community Studies Board, which was tasked in 2016 by the U.S. Director of National Intelligence and discusses science and technology issues of importance to the nations’ intelligence community. He is a board member of the National Defense Industry Association, and of CRFD Global. Among his hobbies, he is a member of the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, a worldwide group dedicated to promoting the virtues of the wines and foods of Burgundy.
NASA Langley Research Center
President & CEO
Matt Dunlevy is the CEO, president, and founder of SkySkopes, a highly professional drone flight operator focused on bringing innovative solutions to the energy industry headquartered in Grand Forks, ND. Under Dunlevy’s leadership, the business grew from a group of four employees to more than 20 in less than three years. SkySkopes is the latest in a series of several successful technology startups he has founded. Dunlevy studied mechanical engineering and history at the University of North Dakota. During that time, he became interested in entrepreneurship and founded several startups before ultimately combining a lifelong passion for aviation with his drive for business to form SkySkopes. Over the years Dunlevy has hundreds of flights on powered aircraft, gliders, and unmanned aircraft.
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.
Director of Communication
Wichita State University - NIAR
Tracee Friess, director of communication, has more than 15 years experience in communications; specializing in public relations, news and copywriting, event planning and social media. She is adept at grasping complex technical details and communicating them to a broad audience. Tracee’s industry experience and knowledge of university resources allow her to skillfully navigate both arenas.
She has worked with the Kansas Department of Transportation’s Division of Aviation for two years, managing community outreach and education for the Integration Pilot Program, working with multiple IPP partners including Airmap, Evergy, GBA, Iris Automation and K-State Polytechnic. She joined NIAR in 2005 as a marketing assistant. She was previously employed as a marketing assistant for Foulston Siefkin LLP.
Tracee graduated magna cum laude from the Wichita State University Elliott School of Communication with a B.A. in communication and print journalism.
Director of UAS R&D
Dr. Gaeta has over 30 years of experience as an aerospace engineer and aeroacoustic researcher and over 12 years in the UAS technology field. He has worked at GE Aviation as a gas turbine engine aero and heat transfer engineer as well as Senior Research Engineer at the Georgia Tech Research Institute. His work focused on experimental research in aeroacoustics and flow control for NASA, DARPA, and other DoD groups. Dr. Gaeta has had a 10 year relationship with Oklahoma State University, first as an adjunct research professor and then as an assistant professor in the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Most recently he has transitioned back to an adjunct research professor while taking a position with the Martin Defense Group as VP of Engineering Midwest and Director of their UAS R&D office. He has directed the technical development and management of two UAS platforms for the DoD with an emphasis on minimizing the acoustic signature. Dr. Gaeta holds a B.S in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, a M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Cincinnati, and a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
David Gonzales II
Co-founder & CEO
Aerial Vehicle Automation (AVA Propulsion, Inc)
Founder and CEO
Jon is the Founder & CEO of Kittyhawk, the leading provider of unmanned software and airspace systems. Kittyhawk’s patented technology is used in today’s leading recreational and enterprise drone applications.
Jon is a certified commercial drone pilot as part of FAA Part 107 and a founding member of the FAA UAS Safety Team. He’s a self-taught iOS developer, writes about drone topics for technology news outlets including VentureBeat, TechCrunch, and Forbes, and regularly speaks at industry events such as Commercial UAV Expo, 2B Ahead Future Congress Germany, and DJI AirWorks. Jon graduated from TCU with a major in finance and received his MBA from Thunderbird Global School of Management (ASU).
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Dr. Adam Houston joined the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) faculty as an assistant professor in the Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences in 2006. Prior to this he served as a visiting instructor at UNL in the 2005-2006 academic year and served as both a visiting assistant professor and postdoctoral research assistant in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Purdue University in the 2004-2005 academic year.
Dr. Houston received his Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his B.S. in Meteorology from Texas A&M University.
Unmanned Systems Research Institute, 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.
Integrated Product Team Manager
Kratos Defense & Security Solutions
Jeremiah is an experienced Program Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the airlines/aviation industry. Skilled in sales, aircraft maintenance, customer satisfaction, airports, and commercial aviation, Jeremiah has worked in the industry for nearly 16 years for various aviation and aerospace companies, including First Wave, AAR Corp. and Kratos Defense & Security Solutions. He attended Oklahoma State University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Marketing/Marketing Management, General.
Fred Judson GISP
Ohio Department of Transportation
UAS Business Development Manager
FLIR Systems, Inc.
Sr. UAS Coordinator
Mike began his career with Evergy working in the Transmission Maintenance department assisting with creating proactive maintenance strategies, contributing to restoration efforts during outages, coordinating with maintenance crews during normal and emergent operations, and building an internal UAS program as time allowed.
Since the merger between Westar Energy and KCP&L which created Evergy, Mike has transitioned into his current role within the company focusing on the management and further development of internal UAS operations to assist in proactive maintenance strategies, outage response, surveying & photogrammetry and other applications that benefit the company. Mike earned his Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Technology – Unmanned Aircraft Systems before beginning his career at Evergy, and applies his depth of knowledge of UAS to help create a safer, more efficient and cost effective working environment within the utility industry.
Future Point of View
Throughout his career, Scott Klososky has stood on the nexus between technology and humanity. He has worked to define and help organizations discover the ideal blend of technology and human effort. He is widely recognized for his ability to forecast how technology will impact organizations, industries, and our world. He is the founder and principal at FPOV as well as a renowned consultant, speaker, and author.
Scott’s unique perspectives on technology, business culture, and the future allow him to travel the globe guiding senior executives in organizations ranging from the Fortune 500 to universities, nonprofits, and countless professional associations and coalitions. He has worked with organizations such as American Fidelity Assurance Company, Roche, IBM, General Motors, Georgia Pacific, Legrand, International Franchise Association, and Great Clips. He regularly speaks in front of major conferences helping leaders in countless industries improve the way they integrate technology into their organizations. He is the author of four books including his latest title Did God Create the Internet? The Impact of Technology on Humanity.
Scott began his career fresh out of high school, where his job as a delivery boy was a springboard into the world of technology. He became division head of a computer sales division and then purchased it as his own company. It was eventually built into a twelve-store operation in three states.
His next endeavor was as founder and CEO of Paragraph, Inc., a Soviet/American joint venture founded in 1988, despite international tensions. Half of the company was sold to Silicon Graphics, and the other half is still expanding today (Parascript, Inc.).
Scott then collaborated with H.R. Haldeman to publish a diary of his years as an aide to President Nixon, which was a bestseller (Putnam Publishing), and involved Sony Interactive in the release of a book companion CD-ROM.
The evolving Internet ushered in a world of opportunity for inspiring pioneers, and Scott was not left behind. He was founder and CEO of webcasts.com, an early producer of webcasted media ranging from corporate and government communications to sporting events and entertainment. He sold webcasts.com in 1999 for $115 million. His expertise in leadership and his creative approach to business direction inspired Critical Technologies to hire him as a turnaround CEO, where he completely rebuilt the underlying products and brought the company to profitability.
Director, Economic Development & Finance
North Dakota Department of Commerce
Edward "Ted" Lester
Edward “Ted” Lester directs the technology roadmap, leads research projects, and manages external UTM-related partnerships at AiRXOS. He also engages with standards committees, including ASTM F38 UTM-related working groups and the RTCA SC-228 Detect and Avoid working group. Prior to AiRXOS, Ted worked on UAS airspace integration for the US Air Force and FAA at The MITRE Corporation. Ted holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Middlebury College majoring in physics and an S.M. from MIT in Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Director of Airspace Integration
Trever Linn currently serves as Director of UAS Integration for Iris Automation. He previously served as Chief of UAS and Program Manager for the FAA UAS IPP for the Kansas Department of Transportation where he was 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 holds bachelor's degrees in Molecular and Cellular Developmental Biology from the University of Colorado and Aeronautical Technology from Kansas State University.
Phoenix Air Unmanned
Will Lovett is the Managing Director of Phoenix Air Unmanned, LLC, a specialized UAS operations company based in Cartersville, Georgia. Phoenix Air Unmanned was established in 2014 as sister company to Phoenix Air Group, which is a FAA Part 135 Airline and DOD contractor for over 30 years. Will adopted the high standards of PAG and is committed to implementing best practices in unmanned flight.
Will has maintained an active role in civil and military aviation as a fixed-wing and rotor-wing aviator.
During his 24 years with the US Army, Will flew domestic and international missions for Med Evac, Combat Support, and Operational Support Airlift. Will is type rated in CE-500, BE-200, S-70 and completed the Army UAS Command and Staff Course. Will retired in 2015 as CW5 after his last assignment with the US Army Aeronautical Services Agency.
Will’s professional background includes 20 years in leadership and management positions within the aviation insurance and risk management industry, including AIG Aviation, Allianz, and Willis Global Specialties.
Will received his Bachelor of Science degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 1991. He has served on the boards for the Atlanta Aero Club, ERAU President’s Advisory Board, and the Aviation Insurance Association. He is an active volunteer for the Veterans Airlift Command and Army Aviation Heritage Foundation.
Director, Safety & Integration
Federal Aviation Administration
Joe Morra is the Director for the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Office’s, Safety & Integration Division. This division is a conduit for UAS initiatives serving as a liaison and facilitator for safety risk management, enabling operational approvals, education / outreach / support, standards efforts and special programs between responsible organizations both within the FAA and to external stakeholders.
Before joining the UAS Integration Office, Mr. Morra was a General Aviation Operations Inspector for the Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) in Teterboro, New Jersey and, more recently, served as a Subject Matter Expert in the Flight Standards Headquarters General Aviation and Commercial Division. Prior to working for the FAA, Mr. Morra owned and managed flight training and other small businesses for over 10 years.
Mr. Morra is a flight instructor and maintains his airline transport pilot (ATP) Certificate.
With initial experience in the UAS industry working for a manufacturer selling high end drones to Fortune 1000 companies, Nick understands the differing requirements needed for specific end uses.
His experience working for a service provider more recently, working on projects delivering the full end-to-end solution from data collection to processing data ensures his understanding and importance of high-end imagery and data collection methods our expanding range of customers demand.
John “JD” Parkes
Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer
Skydweller Aero Inc,
John Parkes is the Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Skydweller Aero Inc, an aerospace company developing renewably powered aircraft capable of achieving perpetual flight. Mr. Parkes also acts as Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Parry Labs alongside Dr. Robert Miller, where he is responsible for business development, sales, strategy, and co-management of day-to-day operations. Prior to Parry Labs, Mr. Parkes was Airborne Mission Lead at the Office of Strategic Capabilities within the Department of Defense. He acted as commercial and government business unit lead at the largest Google Earth partner for Fortune 500 and government customers, worked in Strategic Planning, Corporate Development and M&A at United Technologies (formerly Goodrich), and was an image scientist on classified programs at Harris (formerly Exelis). Mr. Parkes holds a BS from Rochester Institute of Technology in Imaging Science.
Head of Public Safety Integration
Fritz Reber is the Head of Public Safety Integration at Skydio. He works closely with public safety agencies to help them utilize Skydio in their operations while providing product development feedback that helps Skydio provide the tools and capabilities critical to first responders. Prior to his career at Skydio, Fritz was a Police Captain with Chula Vista PD, and retired after 27 years in May of 2018. He was their UAS Team Commander and was the visionary behind Drone as First Responder (DFR) Operations. He authored the DFR Concept of Operations for the FAA IPP submission, and co-authored the CVPD BVLOS waiver. He is an author of the recent FAA Tactical BVLOS waiver in partnership with CVPD and Skydio. He is the visionary and co-inventor of Live911, a revolutionary technology that reduces response times and provides better data to first responders. He remains a part of the San Diego City IPP Team, is a Technical Expert for Droneresponders, and he continues to work closely with Chula Vista PD on their DFR Program and their effort to fully integrate Skydio 2’s into their everyday patrol operations.
Vice President, Strategic Business Development
New York Empire State Development
Head of US Operations
Wes Shover is the Head of US Operations for Flytrex, a drone technology company providing comprehensive, on-demand drone delivery solutions that enable any business, from SMBs to e-commerce giants, to integrate instant, autonomous drone delivery into their offering. With nearly 15 years of experience in the aviation and Department of Defense sectors, Wes is leading the Flytrex team as part of the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft System Integration Pilot Program in tandem with the North Carolina Department of Transportation to help make drone deliveries a reality across the US.
Matt started his career working in Emergency Medical Services as both an EMT, supervisor, and then Chief of Resources and Planning for Emory EMS in Atlanta, which housed CDC’s global headquarters, major research facilities, three hospitals, and a nearly 50-thousand-person population.
He then took his passion for public health to the journalism world, spending 14 years working in various capacities at CNN. Most notably, Sloane spent 10 years as a producer in the health, wellness and medical news unit, working alongside chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
In his role as a producer, Sloane criss-crossed the globe, chasing the latest stories on disease cures, wellness trends, and breaking news; including Hurricanes Katrina, Irene and Sandy, the Virginia Tech massacre, the Boston Marathon bombing and the Terry Schiavo case. He was nominated for three Daytime Emmy awards, and won a New York Festivals award for his work covering Diana Nyad’s historic swim from Cuba to Key West.
After leaving CNN in early 2014, he founded Skyfire to bring expertise on the growing drone trend to police, fire and emergency management agencies around the country.
Since that time, Sloane has earned his manned aircraft pilot’s license, and a seat on the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) technical committee on unmanned aircraft systems.
He was recently appointed to the technology council for the International Association of Fire Chiefs, and has lectured to hundreds of public safety officials on the topic of drones in public safety.
Sloane has penned articles in Fire Engineering Magazine and Police Magazine, and has been featured in various publications as a thought leader in the drone space. He most recently appeared on CBS This Morning talking about the importance of drone technology in the public safety space.
Alan Woodward Snyder
Manager, RPA-UAV Systems Training
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.
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 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Director of Logistics
General Atomics Systems Integration (GA-SI)
VP Global Business Development
Carl Thoemmes is the VP of Global Sales & Business Development at Silatronix. In this role he coordinates customer, collaborator, and strategic partner engagements. Carl joined Silatronix from Flextronics, where he led a business unit in the Industrial & Engineered Products segment focused on IoT and SmartGrid applications. Prior to that, Carl worked at Inventus Power (fka ICCNexergy), a globally recognized Li-ion system integrator. In this role, Carl worked to expand ICCNexergy’s global position in medium to large format Li-ion systems as well as lead-to-lithium conversion applications.
Aerospace & Defense Recruiter
Oklahoma Dept. of Commerce
Ryan Tillison joined the Oklahoma Department of Commerce in late 2018 to be part of the newly formed Aerospace Commerce Economic Services (ACES) program team. As a division of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, ACES is a specialized aerospace team with dedicated resources exclusively focused on the development and advancement of Oklahoma’s aerospace industry. As the Aerospace & Defense Recruiter, Ryan leads ACES Unmanned Systems initiatives across the state; focusing on increased public/private partnerships, collaboration and R&D, supply chain recruitment, government contracting, public information and policy reform.
Vice President, Business Development & Operation
Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance
Kinnee Tilly is vice president of the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance. She coordinates a field staff of 20 with offices in communities across the state, while developing relationships with numerous sponsors, partners and stakeholders. Tilly has a deep knowledge of the manufacturing industry and is uniquely qualified to help us build collaborative relationships and advance the economic development mission of the Manufacturing Alliance.
Tilly has served as Interim CEO and President of the Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corporation. Previously she served the organization as senior vice president of economic development. Before that, she was vice president of business retention, expansion and small business for the Tulsa Regional Chamber. Among the highlights of her time in Broken Arrow, Tilly directed the expansion and relocation of more than 30 companies to the city. Her business retention strategies were instrumental in the creation of more than 4,300 jobs at manufacturing and high-tech firms.
Tilly earned a master's degree from the University of Oklahoma and her bachelor's degree from Lindenwood College in St. Charles, Missouri.
Marc Tower ED.D
Executive Director, Assistant Professor of Professional Practice
Oklahoma State University
Agent in Charge/sUAS Program Manager
Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics
Matt Varney has 18 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 Office of Professional Standards with OBN. While at OBN, AIC Varney created, implemented, and manages the sUAS program. AIC Varney is also a firearms instructor, member of OBN’s policy development committee, and accreditation manager.
Technology Transfer Coordinator
USDA Agricultural Research Service
Jeff Walenta is the Scientific Technology Transfer Coordinator for the Plains Area Directorâs Office at the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Fort Collins, CO. He coordinates Technology Transfer matters, including collaboration agreements, at 21 research locations in a 10-state region – Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming.
Jeff has over 25 years of innovation and technology transfer experience at Federal Labs, economic development organizations, and biotechnology companies. Prior to ARS, Jeff spent 12 years at the Office of Technology Transfer at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Prior to the NIH, he worked with early stage companies at the Nidus Center for Scientific Enterprise, a Life Science technology company incubator in St. Louis MO. Prior to Nidus, he was at Nexstar Pharmaceuticals and Synthecell Corporation on product development and product production teams respectively. At ARS and the NIH, Jeff has reviewed applicants for innovation grants offered by economic development programs in the states of Colorado, Maryland, and Virginia. Jeff was also a co-instructor at the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences NIH graduate school for Biomedical Business Development for Scientists and Building a Biotechnology Company: Business Leadership and Management Strategies.
Jeff received his B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of Maryland and his M.B.A. from Washington University in Saint Louis.
Director of Safety
Northern Plains UAS Test Site
President & CEO
Brian Wynne is president and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of unmanned systems and robotics. AUVSI represents corporations and professionals from more than 60 countries involved in business and government and who work in the defense, civil, and commercial markets.
Wynne is an influential unmanned systems industry thought leader. In 2017, he was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to a three-year term on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Management Advisory Council (MAC), which provides counsel to the FAA on policy and regulatory matters, as well as the agency’s management and spending. He is also a member of the Drone Advisory Committee (DAC), a federal advisory committee of key decision makers formed by the FAA to support the safe introduction of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) into the nation’s airspace.
Additionally, Wynne is a member of the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team (UAST), which is comprised of stakeholders from government and the aviation industry that gather and analyze data to enhance UAS safety and operations. He also served on the FAA’s UAS Registration Task Force and Micro UAS Aviation Rulemaking Committee. He was recently selected to serve on the Aviation Advisory Committee at MITRE, a not-for-profit company that operates multiple federally funded research and development centers that are dedicated to solving problems for a safer world.
Wynne brings in-depth experience in transportation and technology applications gained through leadership roles with industry associations and public-private partnerships. Prior to joining AUVSI in 2015, he was president and CEO of the Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA), a trade association that promotes battery, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell electric drive technologies and infrastructure.
Before being selected to lead EDTA in 2004, Wynne was senior vice president for business and trade at the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITSA). Previously, he was CEO of the Association for Automatic Identification and Mobility (AIM). He has also served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations. He started his career as a legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. Charles Percy of Illinois.
Wynne earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Scranton and a master’s degree from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. He was also a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Cologne in Germany.
He has been an instrument-rated, general aviation pilot for more than 20 years and flies a Socata Trinidad. He recently received a commercial pilot certificate and holds a remote pilot certificate to operate small Unmanned Aircraft Systems, also known as drones.
Regarded as the anchor event for the Unmanned Aerial Systems Cluster Initiative (UASCI), a program funded through a contract with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
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