The Unmanned Aerial Systems Cluster Initiative (UAS Cluster Initiative) and DronePort Network are pleased to announce that Phillip "Craig" Mahaney was recently named as Executive Director.
Mr. Mahaney brings to the role decades of experience in aviation, unmanned aerial systems, air traffic management, policy and strategic planning. He served for 16 years with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), most recently in the position of Senior Advisor and Chief of Staff within the FAA's Office of Aviation Policy and Plans. In 2020 he was selected as a Georgetown University Capitol Hill Fellow where he served as a policy advisor and professional staff to Senator James Lankford (R-OK). Before joining the federal government, Mahaney spent five years in the U.S. Navy as an Air Traffic Control Specialist and completed multiple deployments to the Middle East. He is a certified private pilot, graduate of the FAA's Aircraft Accident Investigation Course and has a Bachelor's of Science degree in Aeronautics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. Mahaney and his family plan to make Oklahoma City, OK their home.
The UAS Cluster Initiative of Oklahoma was among five Regional Innovation Clusters (RICs) recently selected by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to drive innovation and support small business growth. SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said, "These RICs will help our entrepreneurs connect to knowledge, networks, and capital so they can be successful in developing their innovations and commercializing them to deliver the products and services that will improve lives around the globe."
The UAS Cluster Initiative, which began in 2015, is now entering a Growth Phase that will catalyze development of sustainable UAS companies, products, and jobs. The major focus areas include increased training and knowledge exchange within the network; B2B Demo Days matching drone service providers with end-users; one on one small business counseling, consulting and mentoring; and facilitating technology transfer and access to capital and other resources. These efforts, combined with the creation of a UAS Private Industry Advisory Council, co-chaired by Jamey Jacob, Director, Unmanned Systems Research Institute at Oklahoma State University and Kraettli Epperson, CEO of Vigilant Aerospace Systems, Inc., will foster a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The UAS Cluster Initiative is committed to the continued growth of the unmanned aerial systems industry in Oklahoma and recognizes that the state's early adoption and leadership in this emerging aerospace technology will be hugely impactful for how the region and nation live, work and travel for decades to come.
The UAS Cluster Initiative and DronePort Network are programs of Development Capital Networks (DCN), headquartered in Oklahoma City, OK. DCN is a specialized firm that seeds the growth of entrepreneurs by attracting technology, capital, and talent to help communities build innovation economies. The UAS Cluster Initiative is funded by private industry and the U.S. Small Business Administration.
About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations.
To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.
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