Speakers

2018 SPEAKERS

See the speaker lineup from Drone Focus Conference 2018 below. If you or someone you know is interested in being a speaker at Drone Focus Conference, feel free to get in touch with us by emailing dronefocus@emergingprairie.com.

Session A

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Senator John Hoeven

Senator John Hoeven

Topic:

On January 5, 2011, John Hoeven was sworn in as North Dakota’s 22nd U.S. Senator, following ten years of service as the state’s governor.

Senator Hoeven’s priorities in the Senate include working to implement national policies similar to the ones driving North Dakota’s economic success. He is committed to creating a business climate that fosters job growth and robust economic activity. Equally important to the senator are measures to reduce the nation’s budget deficits and debt. He believes a commonsense approach that fosters free enterprise and empowers people to innovate and invest will strengthen our national economy and create jobs for our country in a sustainable, ongoing way.

As a senator, Hoeven has been leading efforts to develop a comprehensive national energy plan similar to North Dakota’s EmPower North Dakota, a comprehensive plan that encourages an all-of-the-above approach to development and includes both traditional and renewable resources. Hoeven believes such an approach will lead to jobs, economic growth and true energy security for America. The senator’s work includes serving as the leading advocate for approving the Keystone XL pipeline and advancing measures that will eliminate outdated and unnecessary regulations that are prolonging the approval process and discouraging investment and innovation.

In addition, as a member of both the Agriculture Committee and the conference committee that negotiated the 2014 final farm bill, Hoeven played a crucial role in crafting and passing a long term farm bill that provides the nation’s producers with the certainty they need to plan for the future, as well as new tools to manage risk with enhanced crop insurance. The senator continues to work to make sure the farm bill is implemented in a timely and effective way.

Prior to his election to the Senate, Senator Hoeven served as governor of North Dakota for a decade. Under his leadership, the state expanded and diversified its economy and gained thousands of new jobs. North Dakota’s wages and personal income today continue to grow faster than the national average, and in recent years the state has led the nation in export growth. North Dakota regularly balances its budget, has set aside more strong reserves for the future, cut taxes, and invested in priorities like education, law enforcement and infrastructure.

As governor, Hoeven also placed a strong focus on developing North Dakota’s vast energy resources. Beginning in 2002, he initiated EmPower ND, a comprehensive energy plan for the state that includes all energy resources as well as a conservation component. Today, North Dakota stands as an energy powerhouse and one of the largest energy producing and exporting states in the nation. Currently, North Dakota produces more than one million barrels of oil a day and ranks as the second largest oil-producing state in the country.

Senator Hoeven was born in Bismarck. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College in 1979 and a master’s degree in business administration from Northwestern University in 1981. He served as executive vice president of First Western Bank in Minot from 1986 to 1993, and served on many civic, community, and economic development groups. From 1993-2000, he served as president and CEO of the Bank of North Dakota, which grew from $900 million to $1.6 billion under his leadership.

Hoeven and his wife Mical (Mikey) live in Bismarck. They have two children, Marcela and Jack, and four grandsons, Crew, Jaxen, Nash and Kip.

Nicholas Flom

Nicholas Flom

Topic: Enabling Commercial Operations

Nicholas Flom is the Executive Director for the Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site, one of seven sites designated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to conduct critical research into the certification and operational requirements necessary to safely integrate UAS into the national airspace system. Nicholas has over 15 years in the aviation industry and was previously the Director of Safety of the Test Site. 

Representing the Test Site, Nicholas actively participates in RTCA Special Committee 228, Working Group 1 that is developing the minimum operational performance standards for detect and avoid. As an industry subject matter expert, Nicholas is also a member of ASTM and is a voting member of Committee F38 on Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Nicholas also represents the Test Site on the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team.

Nicholas holds an Airline Transport Pilot certificate for single and multi-engine land with over 4,000 flight hours

Jennifer Naaden

Jennifer Naaden

Topic: Drones Swarm Public Policy

Jennifer Naaden is the Government Relations Director for Duetto Group, a Washington, DC, based public policy shop that specializes in disruptive technologies. She is responsible for providing strategic counsel to unmanned robotics organizations, defense companies and high-tech start-ups. As Duetto Group’s lead Capitol Hill-based government relations strategist, she provides strategic counsel to nationally and internationally recognized UAS organizations, including the Northern Plains UAS Test Site. Having begun her career in the office of U.S. Senator John Hoeven, she provides clients valuable expertise in the workings of Capitol Hill and the Administration. Jennifer graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from North Dakota State University, and has a Master of Arts degree from the University of Notre Dame.

Governor Doug Burgum

Governor Doug Burgum

Topic:

Doug Burgum took office as the 33rd governor of North Dakota on December 15, 2016.Doug brings a business leader’s approach to diversifying the economy, creating 21st century jobs, and revitalizing our main streets.

Burgum’s small-town upbringing and agricultural roots laid the foundation for his shared values of respect for the past, gratitude for the present and inspiration for the future.

Driven by a strong belief in North Dakota’s people and a powerful dream, he returned to his home state and helped lead Great Plains Software from a small startup company in 1983 into an award-winning tech firm that employed thousands of team members from more than 220 cities across North Dakota.

Burgum led Great Plains as CEO through its initial public offering in 1997 and acquisition by Microsoft Corp. in 2001. He remained at Microsoft as senior vice president through 2007, helping the company stake a leading position in the global business applications software industry.

In 2006, Burgum reaffirmed his passion for North Dakota by founding Kilbourne Group, a real estate development firm committed to creating smart, healthy cities through vibrant downtowns. The company’s substantial impact on revitalizing downtown Fargo inspired his Main Street Initiative.

In 2008, Burgum co-founded Arthur Ventures, a venture capital firm that invests in ambitious, mission-driven software companies. The success of those people and businesses guided by Burgum’s leadership and inspiration has created billions of dollars of shareholder wealth and thousands of jobs.

In 2009, then-Gov. John Hoeven awarded Burgum the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award, North Dakota’s highest citizen honor. The award recognized Burgum for his business leadership and numerous philanthropic efforts, including the Doug Burgum Family Fund, which focuses its charitable giving on youth and education.

Born August 1, 1956, Burgum grew up in Arthur, N.D. He has maintained his commitment and connection to his roots through family farm partnerships, by serving as a member for Arthur Companies, Inc., a diversified agribusiness company founded by his grandparents in 1906, and through a ranching partnership in the Badlands of western North Dakota.

Burgum graduated with a bachelor’s degree in university studies from North Dakota State University in 1978. He earned a master’s of business administration from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business in 1980.

He was elected governor on Nov. 8, 2016, in his first run for political office.

Burgum is married to Kathryn Helgaas Burgum and has two sons, Joe and Tom, and a daughter, Jesse.

Derek Kan

Derek Kan

Topic: Overview of Administration's Thoughts on UAS

Derek Kan is the Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy. In this role, he serves as a principal advisor to the Secretary and provides leadership in the development of policies for the Department, generating proposals and providing advice regarding legislative and regulatory initiatives across all modes of transportation. The Under Secretary coordinates the Department’s budget development and policy development functions. Mr. Kan also directs transportation policy development and works to ensure that the Nation’s transportation resources function as an integrated national system.By statute, the Under Secretary is third in the Department’s order of succession.

Prior to his appointment at the Department of Transportation, Mr. Kan served as the General Manager for Lyft in Southern California.He has also served on the Board of Directors of Amtrak since 2015, for which he was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate.Previously, he was Director of Strategy at a startup in Silicon Valley and worked as a management consultant at Bain & Company. Earlier in his career, he was a policy advisor to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and chief economist for the Senate Republican Policy Committee.

Before coming to Capitol Hill, Mr. Kan served as a Presidential Management Fellow at the White House Office of Management and Budget. Mr. Kan received a B.S. from the University of Southern California, an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics, and an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he was an Arjay Miller Scholar. He and his wife have three children.

Session B

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Tyler Sautter

Tyler Sautter

Topic: Large UAS Platforms

Tyler Sautter is a UAS Operations Expert for AVIAN LLC. He has years of experience in the operations of UAV’s from Group 1 – Group 3. Tyler fielded the first military UAS system in the state of Colorado in 2008 and immediately deployed with that system to Baghdad, Iraq. Upon returning, Tyler attended and graduated from the U.S. Army’s Instructor Pilot school and went to work for Textron Systems as a lead Standardization Pilot. During his work with Textron Systems, he went to Iraq as a civilian contractor, running standardization programs for GOCO (Government owned, Civilian operated) sites in direct support of Joint Special Operations Command. In 2011 Tyler took a position as a Sr. Training Instructor with General Dynamics at the U.S. Army’s UAS National Training Center in Ft. Huachuca, AZ. Tyler entered the UAS commercial market in 2015 writing training programs for commercial UAS manufacturers as well as managing a team of UAS instructor pilots while delivering training over 6 continents. In 2017 he joined the Avian LLC team to assist in building a commercial UAS services division. He currently works for Avian as a commercial technical advisor, and operational pilot.

Jessica Moody

Jessica Moody

Topic: Drones in Big Business

Jess Moody is a Senior Manager at Skyward, A Verizon company, a leading drone operations management platform. Jess works with customers from small businesses to enterprises to tell the stories of drone program expansion, and help them grow their operationssafely and efficiently and hosts an industry leading webinar series. She has experience in public affairs and marketing in mining, oil and gas, and corporate social responsibility. Jess is a an FAA-certified Part 107 drone pilot and enjoys using her Mavicto capture the Pacific Northwest backcountry from the aerial perspective.

Bob Edmonds

Bob Edmonds

Topic: Adapting Large Scale UAS for Digital Agriculture

Bob reports to the President and CEO of Elbit Systems of America, a diversified, global aerospace and defense provider of high performance, innovative solutions for the defense, homeland security, commercial aviation, and medical instrumentation markets. He is responsible for the growth of the company, leading all marketing activities, which includes integrating and aligning business development, strategy, corporate development, and strategic communications. His team works closely with the lines of business supporting growth.

Prior to joining Elbit Systems of America, Bob was a Vice President at Exelis, Inc. where he led the business development and government relations functions as well as the Air Force programs for this $3.5B aerospace and defense company prior to its acquisition by Harris. He joined Exelis from Syndetics, a management consulting firm specializing in strategy, capture, and proposal management in the government aerospace & defense sector. Previously, he was a senior member of Aerospace, Defense, and Aviation practice at Heidrick & Struggles International, a global executive recruiting and leadership consulting company.

Bob joined Heidrick after a successful career in the United States Air Force, culminating with the rank of Brigadier General. He is a command pilot with over 2500 flight hours and 300 combat hours, having led 42 combat missions during Operation Desert Storm. During his career, Bob commanded at the F-15 flight, squadron, and wing level and also served in multiple senior operations and policy positions in the Pentagon. In addition, he has worked in the White House as a White House Fellow and on Capitol Hill as the lead for Air Force congressional affairs for both the House and the Senate as the Deputy Director for Legislative Liaison.

Bob was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. After graduating from the Air Force Academy with a BSCE, he earned a MSCE as a Guggenheim Fellow from Columbia University. He also received a Masters in National Security Strategy from National War College, and completed an executive education program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Bob is a Falcon Foundation Trustee and a past president and board member of the White House Fellows Foundation and Association.

Russell Schell

Russell Schell

Topic: Utilizing Drones and IR Technologies for Energy Efficiencies and Building Inspections

Russell Schell is the President of RJ Energy Solutions. RJ Energy Solutions provide services that improve the health and energy efficiencies of home, commercial or industrial facility. With the use of thermal imaging (IR) to detect energy loss or actual leaks from the infrastructure or the roof. Combining IR technology and a drone they are able to fly above or around a building to identify areas that energy is leaking out. Using this technology bring better accuracy, efficiency and safety.

Dale Sayers

Dale Sayers

Topic: AI: Life on the Edge

Dale is a Microsoft Data & AI Technical Solutions Professional specializing in IoT, machine learning, and cognitive services. He has over 25 years’ experience in the IT industry serving in various consulting, technical, and management roles. HIs passion is helping customers with their digital transformation journey, leveraging AI to empower their businesses and employees, drive new efficiencies, lower expenses, and develop new business models.

He’s been building and flying drones since 2015. When he doesn’t have an eye on the sky, he enjoys spending time with his family, camping trips, hiking, and outdoor grilling. Dale is a native North Dakotan and lives in West Fargo, ND.

Edgar G Waggoner

Edgar G Waggoner

Topic: NASA Flight Research in Support of Routine UAS Integration into the NAS

Dr. Waggoner is responsible for the overall planning, management and evaluation of the directorate’s efforts to conduct experimental flight research, and to test the most promising concepts and technologies from across the ARMD portfolio at an integrated system level. He supports the ARMD associate administrator in a broad range of mission directorate activities, including strategic and program planning, budget development, program review and evaluation, and external coordination.

Previously, Waggoner was director of the Integrated Systems Research Program. He was also was on assignment from NASA to the former Joint Planning and Development Office in Washington, DC, where he served as director of the Interagency Architecture and Engineering Division responsible for technical leadership in the development of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) Enterprise Architecture, Concept of Operations, and Integrated Work Plan. While on this assignment, he served as a co-author of the Mobility chapter for the National Aeronautics Research and Development Plan.

Waggoner began his NASA career in 1982 as a researcher in the theoretical aerodynamics discipline at NASA’s Langley Research Center. He eventually held management positions in Langley’s transonic and subsonic aerodynamics branches responsible for planning and supervision of applied computational and experimental research directed at developing aerodynamics technology for advanced civil and military vehicles. Prior to NASA, Waggoner was a researcher and project engineer with Vought Corporation in Dallas, Texas, where he worked on advanced wind tunnel testing techniques and performed foundational work in the emerging field of computational fluid dynamics.

He has been awarded several NASA Group Achievement Awards and NASA Special Act or Service Awards and has authored or coauthored 44 NASA technical papers, journal articles and conference publications on computational and experimental aerodynamics, and advanced airspace systems concepts. He is an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Waggoner received a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Auburn University, a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Southern Methodist University, and master’s and doctoral degrees in engineering management from George Washington
University.

Kraettli L. Epperson

Kraettli L. Epperson

Topic: How to Manage Integrated Airspaces: Real World Experiences Flying with NASA

Kraettli L. Epperson is the CEO and Co-Founder of Vigilant Aerospace Systems, which provides fully 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. He is also the co-founder of R7 Solutions, which provides mapping and workflow systems for utilities, pipelines, wireless, solar, wind and rail systems, including software to manage the land data forHouston METRO’s $1 billion regional rail expansion.

Previously he co-founded Questia Media which built the world’s largest academic digital library and was acquired by Cengage Learning in 2010. Mr. Epperson recently presented “FlightHorizon: Fully Autonomous Detect-and-Avoid for Unmanned Aircraft Systems –Current Capabilities and Future Trends” at the 2017 meeting for the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI).

As CEO and co-founder of Vigilant Aerospace, Mr. Kraettli L. Epperson is often called upon to make presentations at major conferences and events about the state of the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) industry. He especially focuses on flight safety, situational awareness, integration of unmanned aircraft into the national airspace and beyond visual line-of-sight flight of unmanned aircraft. Mr. Epperson is also a licensed unmanned aircraft pilot.

Matt Dunlevy

Matt Dunlevy

Topic: The State of UAS Operations

Matt Dunlevy is the President, CEO, and founder of SkySkopes, a nationally leading unmanned aircraft systems flight operations company based in Grand Forks, ND. SkySkopes is North Dakota’s first unmanned aircraft startup certified by the Federal Aviation Administration to fly commercially and offers aerial inspections, energy audits and other services from office locations in Grand Forks, ND and Minot, ND. Under Dunlevy’s leadership, the business grew from a group of four employees to an organization of national recognition and numerous UAS industry accolades in under three years.

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.

Dunlevy has taught numerous courses at the University of North Dakota, including UAS in Business, UAS in Engineering Design and Applications, and UAS Ethics. Dunlevy’s aviation experience includes logging hundreds of flights on powered aircraft, gliders, and hobbyist unmanned aircraft since his teens.

Session C

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Patrick Novak

Patrick Novak

Topic: Case Study: UAS for Line Inspection

Patrick has been with Border States since December 2000. He held a variety of positions including Strategic Business Relationship Specialist, Utility Sales and Marketing Coordinator, Electric Utility Marketing Manager, Utility Market Manager and most recently Director of Marketing.

Patrick joined the Executive Council in 2013. He is also a Board Member of the North American Association of Utility Distributors.

Matthew Rose

Matthew Rose

Topic:

Mr. Matthew K. Rose, also known as Matt, has been an Executive Chairman of Burlington Northern Santa Fe, LLC since March 2002. Mr. Rose served as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BNSF Railway Company (formerly Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Co., Burlington Northern Railroad Co.) from December 2000 to January 1, 2014. He served as the President of BNSF Railway Company until November 1, 2010. He served as Chief Executive Officer and President of Burlington Northern Santa Fe, LLC from December 2000 to January 2014 and since March 2002 respectively. He served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of American Airlines Group Inc. since December 2000. Mr. Rose served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp., since December 2000 and served as its Chief Operating Officer from June 1999 to December 2000; Senior Vice President from August 1997 to June 1999 and Senior Vice President of Merchandise Business Unit from May 1996 to August 1997. Mr. Rose joined Burlington Northern Railroad in 1993 and served as its Senior Vice President of Merchandise Business Unit since May 1996. Prior to Burlington Northern, he served as Vice President of Transportation at Triple Crown Services, a Norfolk Southern Railroad subsidiary. He served various positions with Schneider National and International Utilities, a trucking conglomerate. Mr. Rose started his railroad career in 1981 with Missouri Pacific Railroad. He has been an Executive Chairman of BNSF Railway Company since January 1, 2014. He served as the Chairman of American Coalition For Clean Coal Electricity. He served as the Chairman and Director of Southwest Region at Boys & Girls Clubs Of America, Inc. Mr. Rose serves as Chairman of the Board at Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas since January 2018. He has been Vice Chairman of Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas since January 1, 2015 and has been its Independent Director since January 1, 2014. He has been an Independent Director of AT&T Inc. (alternate name AT&T Advertising & Publishing) since September 24, 2010 and Fluor Corporation (alternate name Cibolo Creek Infrastructure JV) since April 30, 2014. He serves as a Lead Director of AT&T Inc. He has been a Member of the Board of Managers at Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp., since 2000. He serves as a Director for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He serves as a Director of Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co. He serves as a Director of the Association of American Railroads and Center for Energy & Economic Development. He serves as a Director of BNSF Railway. He serves as a Trustee of Texas Christian University. Mr. Rose serves as a Director of American Airlines, Inc. since November 17, 2004. He served as a Director of Centex LLC (formerly, Centex Corp.) since July 2006. Mr. Rose served as a Director of American Airlines Group Inc. since November 17, 2004. He served as a Member of Board of Governors at Boys & Girls Clubs Of America, Inc. and BNSF Railway. Mr. Rose serves as a Member of the Texas Governor’s Business Council; a Member of Northwestern University Transportation Center’s Business Advisory Committee; a Member of Business Roundtable; a Member of The Business Council; a Member of the Board of National Association of Manufacturers and a Member of the Boy Scouts of America National Executive Board. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and minored in Logistics from the University of Missouri.

Henrik Bache

Henrik Bache

Topic: Artificial Intelligence in infrastructure inspections

Mr. Bache currently serves as VP Sales & Marketing for eSmart Systems in North America, based out of Seattle, WA. He has more than 10 years of experience from management, complex solution sales and business development in the financial, technology and energy markets. Prior to his current role, Mr. Bache served as Managing Director in Asia for eSmart Systems based out of Singapore. He holds a Bachelor of Sciencedegreein Business Administration from the Norwegian School of Management BI.

Jeremy Straub

Jeremy Straub

Topic: Cybersecurity

Jeremy Straub is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the North Dakota State University. He holds a Ph.D. in Scientific Computing, an M.S. and an M.B.A. and two B.S degrees. Straub’s research spans the gauntlet between technology, commercialization and technology policy. It has recently focused on robotic command and control, aerospace command and 3D printing quality assurance. Straub is a member of Sigma Xi, the AAAS, the AIAA, SPIE and other technical societies.

Ron Ness

Ron Ness

Topic: Hi-Tech Bakken Opportunities

Ron Ness is President of the North Dakota Petroleum Council. He has held that position since 1999; his primary function is governmental relations in North Dakota. He serves as the industry spokesperson and manages the association which represents more than 500 companies involved in all aspects of North Dakota’s oil and gas industry.

Ness was previously President of the North Dakota Retail and Petroleum Marketers Association. Prior to that he spent ten years with the State of North Dakota, most of which as the Deputy Commissioner of Labor.

Ness is a Tolna, North Dakota native, a graduate of North Dakota State University in Business and Economics, and received his masters in management from the University of Mary.

Ness was appointed by Governor’s Schafer, Hoeven, Dalrymple and Burgum to the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, the Oil and Gas Research Council, the Empower North Dakota Commission and the Governor’s Revenue Advisory Committee.

Ness also serves as the Chairman of the Board for the Energy Environmental Research Center’s Foundation. He is on the Board of Directors for the Mule Deer Foundation, Sanford Health Bismarck, the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance, the North Dakota Kids First Foundation, the Missouri River Advisory Council and the Board of Regents at the University of Mary. Ness is also a partner in Bismarck Partners, a commercial real estate group.

Ness and his wife Becky have three children and are avid outdoorsmen, who enjoy golfing, fishing and hunting.

Session D

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Dr. Tim Mahoney

Dr. Tim Mahoney

Topic:

Dr. Tim Mahoney was elected Mayor of Fargo in early 2015. Immediately prior to that election, he served as a Fargo City Commissioner for ten years.

The Mayor feels the most challenging part of his job is making sure voters’ voices are heard and planning for their long-term needs and dreams.

Mahoney enjoys meeting residents and learning more about the issues that will affect the City’s future. “The citizens of Fargo are wonderful and want to make it a better place to live,” Mahoney said.

Marlo Anderson

Marlo Anderson

Topic: Emcee & National Autonomous Vehicle Day

Marlo Anderson, a serial entrepreneur and futurist is best known for being the founder of National Day Calendar. Trending over 450 times on Twitter last year, with a FaceBook reach in the hundreds of millions, National Day Calendar is followed daily by more than 20,000 media outlets including Elvis Duran, Ellen Degeneres, Fox & Friends and Good Morning America. With over 10 million people following Marlo online, National Day Calendar is the most popular trending topic of all time. He has appeared in most major newspapers from the Wall Street Journal to the Fargo Forum. This social media phenomenon is also the host of the radio show The Tech Ranch and affectionately known to his followers as “The Guru of Geek.” This unique platform has given Marlo first-hand knowledge in emerging technology trends and hardware.

With a passion for start-ups Marlo has been directly involved in the creation of Pakkage, Talking Trail, Zoovio, Awesome 2 Products, 3sixty5 and National Day Calendar. His community projects include 1 Million Cups ND, the North Dakota Automated Vehicle Collaborative, The Old Ten Scenic Byway, North Dakota Music Hall of Fame and the Mandan Independence Day Parade to name only a few. Marlo resides in Mandan, ND.

Trent Williams

Trent Williams

Topic: Pathway to Startup

Trent Williams is the CEO/Founder of The Drone Repair Shop which he started at the age of 15 in 2015. His love for flying and aviation began at a very young age. He attends Aviation Career Enrichment (ACE); this is where he first discovered a UAV during a field trip where a UAV flight demonstration took place.
Summer 2016 Trent interned with Detroit Aircraft Corporation as a UAV Technician where he was able to build, code, and fly and speak with youth groups about the opportunities for them in the UAV field.
At the age of 17, Trent completed his first solo in August 2017 and earned his FAA Certified Remote Pilot (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) in November 2017 before graduating from Benjamin Banneker HS on May 19, 2018. He attended Fulton Schools College and Career Academy in the Flight Operations Program where he was the Flight Operations/UAV Teacher Assistant.
Trent has received several awards and is a member of several Aviation/UAV Associations. He is pursuing a degree in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Operations while working to pay for his college tuition as a UAV Operator/Contractor. His biggest supporter Trent Mother was inspired by her son and recently earned her FAA Certified Remote Pilot (Unmanned Aircraft Systems).
Trent Williams is a Youth Entrepreneur, Youth Speaker, and Youth Drone Instructor.

Eugene LaDoucer

Eugene LaDoucer

Topic: Autonomous Vehicle Consumer Survey

Gene LaDoucer manages AAA’s public relations, corporate community involvement, traffic safety, legislative affairs, and corporate communications efforts in North Dakota. Within the area of traffic safety, Gene serves as an advocate and spokesperson to help AAA achieve its goals of improving mobility and enhancing the safety of the traveling public. He is involved with numerous traffic safety coalitions and organizations in both North Dakota and Minnesota, including the steering committee for North Dakota’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan. Gene has worked for AAA since 2004 following retirement from the U.S. Air Force. He has a bachelor’s degree in business from Excelsior College, Albany, NY, and an MBA from Webster University, St. Louis, MO.

Finch Fulton

Finch Fulton

Topic:

Finch Fulton is Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy. He served as a member of the President’s Transition Team, focusing on Transportation and Infrastructure Policy, and with the Department of Transportation as a Special Advisor to the Secretary on Transportation Policy.b

He has served in the House of Representatives under Congressman Jim McCrery and Congressman John Fleming, M.D. and in the Senate for Senator Jeff Sessions. In addition, he has worked in public affairs at VOX Global, devising and executing integrated policy and advocacy campaigns.

He is a native of Mobile, Alabama, a graduate of the University of Alabama, received his MBA from Johns Hopkins University and was most recently a resident of Dallas, Texas

Brent Sanford

Brent Sanford

Topic:

Brent Sanford was elected North Dakota’s 38th lieutenant governor on November 8, 2016, and took office on December 15, 2016.

A Watford City native and third-generation business owner, Sanford served as mayor of his hometown from 2010 to 2016 and as a city councilman for four years before that.

Sanford brings a strong background in business and finance to the lieutenant governor’s office, coupled with a deep understanding of the importance of local control and the need to keep property taxes low.

Under his leadership as mayor, Watford City experienced a period of rapid expansion that saw its population skyrocket from about 1,500 to 7,000 amid the state’s oil boom. Major investments were made in community infrastructure, including a new high school, events center, airport terminal, hospital and law enforcement center, all while limiting property tax increases to 3 or 4 percent.

Sanford earned a degree in accounting from the University of North Dakota in 1994 and is a certified public accountant. He worked at Eide Bailly in Fargo for eight years before being hired as chief financial officer for Transwest Trucks, a multi-location truck dealership, financing and manufacturing operation with more than 400 employees headquartered in Brighton, Colorado.

In November 2004, Sanford became owner and president of S & S Motors in Watford City, an auto dealership founded by his grandfather in 1946. He steered the stagnant former Ford dealership to 10 consecutive years of sales increases and created a unique custom vehicle procurement service in an isolated western North Dakota community.

As a board member with the McKenzie County Job Development Authority, Sanford helped the region manage the economic swings of the Bakken oil play. He also is a founding board member of a community-owned nonprofit that established a 62-unit affordable housing complex for essential service workers and a 190-child daycare facility to help meet the area’s workforce and childcare needs.

As lieutenant governor, Sanford serves as president of the state Senate, leads the North Dakota Trade Office and chairs the State Investment Board, the Capitol Grounds Planning Commission, the Higher Education Challenge Fund Commission, the Early Childhood Education Council and the Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems Authority. Sanford also serves as an ex-officio member on the EmPower Commission, chairs the state Hiring Council and serves on the interim Tribal Taxation Issues Committee.

Sanford and his wife, Sandi, have three children, Sydney, Nicolas and Erin.

Jim Piavis

Jim Piavis

Topic: MSR AirSim a

Jim has been involved with some aspect of aviation for over 20 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in Math/Computer Science from The Citadel and served primarily as an aircraft maintenance officer with the US Air Force. Since then, he’s held various ProgramManagement roles in IT and consulting, as well as simulations and games within defense and high-tech industries. He is currently the UAS Operations Manager at Microsoft Research in Redmond, WA, where he manages the day to day flight activities of a multi-faceted UAS lab.

Session E

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Jorge Castiblanco

Jorge Castiblanco

Topic: Rantizo: The Future of Agriculture

Mr. Castiblanco is the Director of Operations at Rantizo, where he works with department heads to ensure business at the company runs smoothly and in accordance with guidelines. Before joining Rantizo, Mr. Castiblanco worked as a business consultant with early-stage and medium-sized firms in a diverse set of industries including agriculture, drone, real estate, nanotechnology, and electric power.

Mr. Castiblanco holds a master’s degree in Applied and Computational Mathematics from the University of Minnesota, and a master’s degree in Applied Economics from Montana State University. He is an experienced certified drone pilot and has substantial programming experience working as an analyst at a leading financial engineering firm in the agricultural field as well as being the cofounder of a virtual reality big data company.

Dr. Noel Anderson

Dr. Noel Anderson

Topic:

Noel Anderson is part of the advanced technology group at John Deere Electronic Solutions in Fargo, ND. He has been working in the areas of precision agriculture, autonomous off-road equipment, and UAVs for over 25 years. Many of his 107 US patents are in these fields. Prior to joining John Deere in 2000, he worked at Case Corporation and Concord Inc. He was on the faculty of North Dakota State University after receiving BS, MS, and PhD degrees in computer engineering from Iowa State University. Noel and his wife are 30 year Fargo residents.

Joel Ifill

Joel Ifill

Topic: The Unit Economics of Drone Delivery (main stage) Integrating UAV's into Humanitarian missions (workshop)

Joel Ifill is a career Engineer, inventor and entrepreneur. He received his undergraduate in Welding Engineering from Pennsylvania College of technology and has spent 10 years in a variety of engineering roles for diverse industries like Aerospace, Nuclear reactors, and architectural installations. He specializes in Manufacturing and Quality Systems, with a focus on automation and safety critical systems. As an entrepreneur he designed and launched several consumer products before founding DASH Systems in 2016.

Orlando Saez

Orlando Saez

Topic: Purposeful Agriculture Automation - aspirations, myths and realities.

Orlando is the Co-founder & CEO of Aker, a precision cropdiagnostic dataand service company based in the Midwest. Orlando started his career in the telecommunications industry as a software developer. Orlando has held C-level roles in several early stage companies with a combined exit of over $50M including BoingoWireless, the largest WiFi hotspot in the world.

Orlando admits that his life and career took a completely new dimension when he met his co-founder Todd Golly about four years ago. On a trip with Todd to his home country Dominican Republic, he was reminded how destructive pest can be to farmland and how much agriculture has relied on advanced in technology. They decided to come back to the Midwest and create relevant technologies that farmers would actually use.

The answer became Aker, a leader in the evolution of crop scouting andpestdata with users in 21 countries. Aker is the first company to create technology that effectively automates ‘ground truthing’ or the process of collecting pest, and crop damage INSIDE the canopy of crops during the growing season. Aker provides geo-referenced real observed data and crop diagnostic tools, not inferred or approximated by current crop models. Top brands such as BASF, Bayer, Helena Chemical, and Winfield-UNITED already rely on Aker service and software tools to bring their newest products to market.

Orlando lives in Chicago and is passionate about technology, STEM and improving farming practices around the world.

Ben Kellie

Ben Kellie

Topic: Deploying sUAS Across Remote Alaska

Ben Kellie, co-founder and CEO of K2 Dronotics, was raised as a bush pilot, trained as a mechanical engineer, and began his career helping SpaceX launch and land rockets on both US coasts. Based in Anchorage, K2 Dronotics deploys drones and expertise across Alaska to increase safety, lower costs, and make new discoveries. K2 Dronotics also provides consultation and design to the emerging small rocket industry in Alaska and across the US.

Justin Kyser

Justin Kyser

Topic: Automating The Busy Work - The Schedudrone Story

Justin Kyser has been in the drone industry since 2014 when he Co-Founded Nebraska’s Largest Commercial Drone Service Provider, Digital Sky. After experiencing the struggles of growing Digital Sky, he learned to automate many of the tasks were required to be repeated
before taking on each new project such as gathering location information, generating estimates and proposals, drafting contracts and lining up insurance paperwork. Schedudrone was born out of the idea that drone service providers spend too much time doing these repetitive tasks, and not enough time flying. We help pilots do what they really love to do! Fly!

Justin holds degrees in Professional Flight and Business Administration, and is a Licensed Commercial Pilot.

Anthony Molzahn

Anthony Molzahn

Topic: Stewards of the PIxel [The intersection of data management and delivery]

There are two mantras Anthony chooses to live by: create unique experiences and learn something every day.

One typically leads to the other.

That aside and if you really want to get to know Anthony, then send him a message, give him a high five, or ask to share a discovery over a cup of coffee.

His collegiate journey from computer science to art and photography invariably led him to pursue his passion of professional golf in California. He’ll tell you the good bits when you meet him, but he never made it.

His stint as a server at a seafood restaurant turned out to be the best way to get hired within the precision agriculture industry as a Director of Technology and Design.

After seven years serving under this title, he and his co-founder formed Project Phoenix and built an application, AegisFlow, for commercial drone pilots to sell photos and be contracted to fly.

Session F

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Peter Tyson

Peter Tyson

Topic: Workforce Development and Training

Peter Tyson served in the US Navy for over 20 years as a helicopter pilot, developmental test pilot, and test pilot instructor, including 8 years as an acquisition professional. He has piloted 37 different aircraft models during 3500+ flight hours and spent nearly 2 years deployed at sea. In 2011, Peter joined AVIAN LLC to develop and deliver workforce training courses for the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) University and Colleges of Test & Evaluation, Program Management, and Logistics/Industrial Operations. In the classroom, Peter is known for telling stories from his naval career that brings course material to life. Peter travels to NAVAIR locations throughout the US instructing professional knowledge and skill training on topics such as test planning and reporting, cyber warfare awareness, critical thinking, project management, simulator evaluation, and defense contracting with small businesses. He has taught courses to industry teams, military groups, and government teams including manned and unmanned system development teams such as Google Projects Loon and Wing, X-47 Unmanned Combat Airborne System test team, MQ-4C Triton and MQ-8B FireScout test teams, and both US Navy and US Coast Guard Small Tactical Unmanned Airborne System program management teams. Recently, Peter has introduced a case study for the US Navy acquisition workforce that covers the details and lessons learned from a military target drone accident, focusing on organizational culture, risk management, and decision-making.
In 2013 Peter started his company, P H Tyson & Associates, LLC, to provide programmatic and engineering consulting support for the US Navy’s jet trainer, the T-45 Goshawk, while continuing to work part time for AVIAN. His company also creates and provides customized training solutions in areas of communication, leadership, image, and personal development. Through this, Peter seeks to add value to others as he helps them learn how to instruct in the classroom, to present in the conference room, and to succeed in public speaking. Additionally, Peter facilitates meetings, strategic off-sites, and team-building exercises for both military and civilian organizations.
Peter is a certified John Maxwell Team coach, teacher, trainer, and speaker. He enjoys seeing people’s reactions when something that is complicated becomes simple; when they see the forest through the trees; and when the big picture comes into focus.

Mark Kennedy

Mark Kennedy

Topic: Staying Ahead

Mark Kennedy is the 12th President of the University of North Dakota. Under his leadership, UND launched its OneUND Strategic Plan and the Research Institute for Autonomous Systems (RIAS). Kennedy previously led George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management and taught at the Johns Hopkins University.

Kennedy is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He served three terms as a U.S. Congressman and as a presidential trade advisor under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Kennedy has actively engaged academic, business, civic, diplomatic and military leaders around the world for three decades.

Kennedy is the founder of the Economic Club of Minnesota. He served as treasurer of Macy’s and helped Pillsbury buy Haagen-Dazs. In his book Shapeholders – Business Success in the Age of Activism (Columbia Business School Press – 2017), Kennedy updates the rules for business engagement with society reflecting the rise of activism and expanded political involvement in commercial affairs.
Mark is a frequent commentator in media including BBC, CNN, Financial Times, Foreign Policy, FOX, MSNBC, NPR, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post.

Kennedy earned a B.S. degree at St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota, and an MBA with distinction at the University of Michigan.

Jacquene Curlee

Jacquene Curlee

Topic: Youth and Unmanned Future

Jacquene Curlee, is a Drone Technology Instructor who is the CEO and founder of Kids Drone Zone (KDZ). Since 2015, she developed hands-on drone education curriculum for grades 3 through 12. As an instructor, Jacquene not only teaches young scholars howto build, code, and fly simple to complex drones, but also mission planning, data acquisition and data analytics and provides a platform for scholars to pursue drone technology careers. KDZ drone fleet consist of over 60 commercial and hobbyist drones. KDZ heavily invest in community outreach to educate youth about unmanned systems technology. Since August 2015, KDZ has exposed and provided hands on aviation experience to over 106,000 students.

Jacquene Curlee has facilitated Drone Technology Pavilions at the following: 2017 Presidential Inauguration STEM Summit in Washington, D.C., Women In Aviation International; National Conference at Disney World, Orlando; Atlanta Hartsfield Airport for Delta, Air Show’s, Maker Faire’s, Georgia Tech STEM Summit, and the FAA Southeast Headquarters to name a few. Jacquene has been featured in Drone Life Magazine, Women In Aviation International: Girls In Aviation Magazine, and spoke at University Of Georgia Drone Summit and the Ride conference on Drone Education.

Focused Lunches

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DRONE SERVICE BUSINESSES

Travis Desell

Travis Desell

Topic: Drone Service Businesses

Dr. Desell is an associate professor of computer science at the University of North Dakota. He previously received his Ph.D. and performed postdoctoral research at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His research focus has been on collaborative computational science using large-scale distributed and high-performance computing environments, with a particular focus on evolutionary algorithms, neural networks, computer vision, and simulation. Recent research has involved applying these big data and machine learning approaches to unmanned aerial systems data in collaboration with wildlife biologists and industry.

Pete Karl

Pete Karl

Topic: Drone Service Businesses

Pete Karl is a UND graduate who took the jump into the drone world in January of 2017 after working for 20 years in the technical publications industry. His current favorite drone is the Phantom 4 Pro.

Joey Schmit

Joey Schmit

Topic: Drone Service Businesses

Joey Schmit was a metal worker, professional disc golfer and teacher before becoming a problem solver with drones.Since 2011, Joey has been building, flying and softly landing drones.He is currently the president of Flight Pros, a drone service company in Fargo, ND mainly serving construction, engineering, aggregate and real estate businesses. Flight Pros uses drones to make the lives of their customers easier to help complete projects with more efficiency and richer data. Each mission, from planning to completion, is a joint effort with the Flight Pros team and the customer.

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AUTONOMOUS SYSTEMS IN AGRICULTURE

John Nowatzki

John Nowatzki

Topic: Future of UAS Applications in Field Crops – Sensors and UAVs

Nowatzki regularly delivers educational presentations on various precision agriculture topics including farm data management, unmanned aircraft systems, LiDAR applications, variable rate fertilization of field crops, and sprayer boom section control. Mr. Nowatzki also conducts applied research collaborating with others NDSU faculty. Recent research topics include variable rate fertilization, optical sensors for in-season fertilization, and soil compaction. He is a principal coordinator for the annual Precision Ag Summit in Jamestown.

Nowatzki is the principal investigator on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) application to agriculture.This project is a “proof-of-concept” demonstrating specific UAS applications in production agriculture. Project personnel used UAS-mounted sensors to collect data of ongoing crop and livestock research projects during the 2014 crop season at the North Dakota State University Carrington Research Extension Center (CREC). Project personnel collaborated with NDSU research scientists conducting research at the CREC, and used UAS-mounted sensors to monitor research fields at specific times as identified by the individual researchers. This project is expanded in 2015 to fly UAS over five NDSU Research Extension Centers across North Dakota. The primary goal of this project is a proof-of-concept of the usefulness and effectiveness of UAS in crop and livestock management in North Dakota. Project personnel are demonstrating effective UAS applications in crop and livestock management, and demonstrating instances where UAS are not effective. Project personnel are developing data processing methods and tools to convert image data to information that farmers, ranchers and consultants can use in their businesses.

Todd Golly

Todd Golly

Topic: Autonomous Systems in Ag

Todd Golly is an owner operator of Golly Farms, a 6,000 acre corn and soybean farm located near Winnebago, MN. Todd graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering. Since then he has been applying his education and technology experience on his family farm for over 25 years. Todd is also the co-founder and current Chief Operating Officer of the agtech start-up Aker Technologies, Inc. Aker is a software and services company that uses proprietary software and hardware to monitor crop stresses, such as insects and diseases, under the canopy of the crop. Aker software and data solutions are used by thousands of users, from over 20 countries, ranging from individual growers to ag retailers to large chemical suppliers.

Joel Wipperfurth

Joel Wipperfurth

Topic: Autonomous Systems in Ag

Joel Wipperfurth leads the field team of Winfield United Technology Managers delivering decision ag tools through retail owners, and Digital Technology Managers driving digital marketing capabilities to retail owners. He also works on the pipeline of new technologies that Winfield United is bringing either in proprietary tools, or best in class industry partners through Answer Tech. He splits his time between the WinField United office in Shoreview, Minn., and out in the country working with WinField United owners.

Previously, Joel served as a WinField United master agronomy advisor and team lead in southern Minnesota, and prior to that as a district sales manager for CROPLAN® seed. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota in agricultural industries and marketing. Joel grew up on a Holstein dairy farm in southern Wisconsin that also produced corn and alfalfa. He currently resides on a small acreage in Owatonna, Minn., with his wife and three children.

Orlando Saez

Orlando Saez

Topic: Purposeful Agriculture Automation - aspirations, myths and realities.

Orlando is the Co-founder & CEO of Aker, a precision cropdiagnostic dataand service company based in the Midwest. Orlando started his career in the telecommunications industry as a software developer. Orlando has held C-level roles in several early stage companies with a combined exit of over $50M including BoingoWireless, the largest WiFi hotspot in the world.

Orlando admits that his life and career took a completely new dimension when he met his co-founder Todd Golly about four years ago. On a trip with Todd to his home country Dominican Republic, he was reminded how destructive pest can be to farmland and how much agriculture has relied on advanced in technology. They decided to come back to the Midwest and create relevant technologies that farmers would actually use.

The answer became Aker, a leader in the evolution of crop scouting andpestdata with users in 21 countries. Aker is the first company to create technology that effectively automates ‘ground truthing’ or the process of collecting pest, and crop damage INSIDE the canopy of crops during the growing season. Aker provides geo-referenced real observed data and crop diagnostic tools, not inferred or approximated by current crop models. Top brands such as BASF, Bayer, Helena Chemical, and Winfield-UNITED already rely on Aker service and software tools to bring their newest products to market.

Orlando lives in Chicago and is passionate about technology, STEM and improving farming practices around the world.

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INNOVATIONS IN UAS INFRASTRUCTURE INSPECTION

Robert McCoy

Robert McCoy

Topic: Innovations in UAS Infrastructure Inspection

Robert McCoy is the Operations Quality Assurance Manager at Crown Castle. He also manages Crown Castle’s SCAN program, which employs alternative technologies such as Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and laser surveying for data acquisition. Robert leads a team of Quality Assurance Engineers responsible for development of and compliance to operational and industry standards and procedures for internal employees, contractors, and vendors. Robert and his team train and audit groups responsible for over 45,000 annual inspections, ensuring the integrity of Crown Castle’s assets.

Robert serves on the National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) UAS Committee, which has a strong voice in the vertical communications infrastructure industry. He is seeking to support the industry through proper understanding and application of this technology, as it exists today, and as it transforms the future.

Prior to starting at Crown Castle, Robert compiled a decade of engineering and climbing experience through construction, modifications, inspections, mappings, and audits. Robert regularly consults on industry panels including National Wireless Safety Alliance, TIA TR-14, the Wireless Industry Safety Task Force, and leads a TIRAP initiated committee on shunt-type tension meters for guy wires.

Sam McGuire

Sam McGuire

Topic: Innovations in UAS Infrastructure Inspection

Sam is the Business Development Manager for Red Mountain Scientific where they are using drones to collect data and conduct analyzes on high infrastructure assets. Sam has spent the majority of his career managing technical operations for early stage software startups spanning a wide range of industries.

Prior to joining RMS, Sam traveled the country climbing towers and conducting inspections for one of the world’s largest tower ownership groups. Having learned the dangers of tower climbing first hand, he was excited to see how much safer drones could make field work in the tower industry. Sam is excited to be part of this brand new industry and passionate about bringing these groundbreaking technologies to the forefront.

Sam holds a degree in Corporate Finance from Colorado State University and is an active member of the NATE UAS Committee, UAS Colorado, and the Commercial Drone Alliance.

Danny Pelczarski

Danny Pelczarski

Topic: Innovations in UAS Infrastructure Inspection

Danny Pelczarski is a Project Lead and UAS pilot working for Needmore Towers Inc. out of Yankton SD. His primary use of UAS’s is serving the Communication industry, inspecting and analyzing communication towers and similar structures. Although the communication industry is Needmore Towers primary market they have also completed many large scale mappings for GIS, worked in the civil industry, as well as the wind industry with Danny Pelczarski as the company’s primary pilot and photogrammetrist. His start in the tower industry was as a climbing tower tech, years later he transitioned into his current role. Danny was born and raised in Chicago until he joined the United States Marine Corps at 18 where he found an interest in all forms of aviation, He served with the 4th Marine Air Wing. He studied Manufacturing Processes and Welding Technologly at College of DuPage IL, and Outdoor Leadership at University of Utah. Currently Danny, his wife Holly, and daughter Autumn reside in Rapid City SD.

Todd Schlekeway

Todd Schlekeway

Topic: Innovations in UAS Infrastructure Inspection

Todd became the Executive Director of the National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) in June of 2012. As Executive Director of NATE, Todd provides overall leadership and vision working in concert with the Associationstaff, Board of Directors, volunteer Standing Committees and approximately 810 member companies.

Prior to joining NATE, Todd worked for seven years as the founder and principal of a public affairs and communications firm called Full Court Strategies Group, LLC. Todd also has extensive policy experience having served for two terms in South Dakota state legislature where he represented a Sioux Falls, South Dakota legislative district in both the State House and the State Senate.

Todd received his undergraduate college degrees from the University of Sioux Falls (USF) with a B.A. in History/Political Science and a B.S. in Exercise Science. He also earned a Master’s degree in Education (M.Ed.) from USF. While at the University of Sioux Falls, Todd also participated in collegiate athletics as a member of the USF basketball team. Todd currently resides in Sioux Falls, SD with his wife Jill and three sons Gavin, Grant andJett.

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POLICIES, SAFETY & THE FUTURE

Dave Blair

Dave Blair

Topic: Policies, Safety and the Future

Dave brings a diverse marketing background and networking ability. He assists with pursuing the right contacts, client, and customers for the Government Relations Portfolio. Dave is tasked with networking with a multitude of industry, community and government contracts to discover needs. He acts as a liaison between clients and project teams to clearly communicate expectations.

Dave brings more than five years of Tribal liaison and relationship management. He has worked with Tribes across the plains, often serving as the main point of contact not only between KU and the Tribe but also multiple account clients and the Tribes. Dave has dedicated years of his professional career to developing trust and respect with Tribal Leaders.

Finch Fulton

Finch Fulton

Topic:

Finch Fulton is Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy. He served as a member of the President’s Transition Team, focusing on Transportation and Infrastructure Policy, and with the Department of Transportation as a Special Advisor to the Secretary on Transportation Policy.b

He has served in the House of Representatives under Congressman Jim McCrery and Congressman John Fleming, M.D. and in the Senate for Senator Jeff Sessions. In addition, he has worked in public affairs at VOX Global, devising and executing integrated policy and advocacy campaigns.

He is a native of Mobile, Alabama, a graduate of the University of Alabama, received his MBA from Johns Hopkins University and was most recently a resident of Dallas, Texas

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COUNTER UAS

Prakash Ranganathan

Prakash Ranganathan

Topic: Counter UAS

Dr. Prakash Ranganathan is currently an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering, and leads the Data and Cyber Security for Research Institute for Autonomous Systems (RIAS). He is also the Director for Cyber Physical Systems and Data Sciences Laboratory at the UND. He has active grants on counter UAS, smart grid, and data security related topics. He has been PI or Co-PI on over $1 million of externally funded awards. His research involves identifying solution to challenges on topics such as c-UAS, smart grid, cyber security, uncertainty quantification, co-ordination of UAS in swarm environments, and verification and validations techniques. Dr. Ranganathan also plays leadership role on cyber educational and research initiatives for North Dakota University System (NDUS). More recently, Dr. Ranganathan received the College of Engineering and Mines (CEM) Dean’s Outstanding Faculty Award in May 2018, North Dakota Spirit Faculty Achievement Award in 2013 from UND Alumni Foundation recognizing his significant contribution in teaching, research, and service. He is also a recipient of Public Scholar Award in 2014 from center for Community Engagement. He received his PhD in Software Engineering from North Dakota State University (NDSU) in 2013, and MS in Electrical Engineering in 2005 from NDSU.

Mark Askelson

Mark Askelson

Topic: Beyond Visual Line of Sight: Challenges and Opportunities (workshop); Counter UAS (luncheon)

Dr. Askelson is a Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of North Dakota and currently serves as the Interim Executive Director of the Research Institute for Autonomous Systems (RIAS). He has over 20 years of research and applications experience with weather radar, including advanced applications involving radar polarimetry and phased array technologies. His areas of expertise include radar meteorology, numerical weather prediction, data assimilation, and unmanned aircraft systems (UASs). His current foci include the use of radars in aircraft deconfliction systems for UASs and the use of cooperative information to enable deconfliction of unmanned aircraft with other aircraft. Dr. Askelson has led multiple UAS research efforts, including multimillion-dollar research efforts focused on integration of UAS into the National Airspace System using both ground-based phased-array radars (development of the Ganged Phased Array Radar-Risk Mitigation System; GPAR-RMS) and cooperative data (the Limited Deployment-Cooperative Airspace Project; LD-CAP). He is also a lead in the ASSURE “Small UAS Detect and Avoid Requirements Necessary for Limited Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) Operations” effort.

Nicholas Flom

Nicholas Flom

Topic: Enabling Commercial Operations

Nicholas Flom is the Executive Director for the Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site, one of seven sites designated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to conduct critical research into the certification and operational requirements necessary to safely integrate UAS into the national airspace system. Nicholas has over 15 years in the aviation industry and was previously the Director of Safety of the Test Site. 

Representing the Test Site, Nicholas actively participates in RTCA Special Committee 228, Working Group 1 that is developing the minimum operational performance standards for detect and avoid. As an industry subject matter expert, Nicholas is also a member of ASTM and is a voting member of Committee F38 on Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Nicholas also represents the Test Site on the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team.

Nicholas holds an Airline Transport Pilot certificate for single and multi-engine land with over 4,000 flight hours

Workshop Speakers

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Mark Patrick Collins

Mark Patrick Collins

Topic: The Future of Large Unmanned Cargo Aircraft in the National Airspace System

EXPERIENCE
Business owner & entrepreneur 2003 to present, Atlas Air – Cargo Airline – Purchasing Manger
1993- 2003, AAR Allen Aircraft – Site Representative 1995- 1999, Army Illinois National Guard 1990-1996

EDUCATION
M.S. Aviation & Transportation 2017, B.S. Industrial Engineering 1995, A.S. Aviation Maintenance 1993

FAA CERTIFICATIONS
Remote drone pilot, private pilot, airframe, & power plant technician

John Nowatzki

John Nowatzki

Topic: Future of UAS Applications in Field Crops – Sensors and UAVs

Nowatzki regularly delivers educational presentations on various precision agriculture topics including farm data management, unmanned aircraft systems, LiDAR applications, variable rate fertilization of field crops, and sprayer boom section control. Mr. Nowatzki also conducts applied research collaborating with others NDSU faculty. Recent research topics include variable rate fertilization, optical sensors for in-season fertilization, and soil compaction. He is a principal coordinator for the annual Precision Ag Summit in Jamestown.

Nowatzki is the principal investigator on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) application to agriculture.This project is a “proof-of-concept” demonstrating specific UAS applications in production agriculture. Project personnel used UAS-mounted sensors to collect data of ongoing crop and livestock research projects during the 2014 crop season at the North Dakota State University Carrington Research Extension Center (CREC). Project personnel collaborated with NDSU research scientists conducting research at the CREC, and used UAS-mounted sensors to monitor research fields at specific times as identified by the individual researchers. This project is expanded in 2015 to fly UAS over five NDSU Research Extension Centers across North Dakota. The primary goal of this project is a proof-of-concept of the usefulness and effectiveness of UAS in crop and livestock management in North Dakota. Project personnel are demonstrating effective UAS applications in crop and livestock management, and demonstrating instances where UAS are not effective. Project personnel are developing data processing methods and tools to convert image data to information that farmers, ranchers and consultants can use in their businesses.

Brian Leventhal

Brian Leventhal

Topic: Crash Reconstruction with Drones

Brian Leventhal is a Collision Reconstructionist who specializes in the implementation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems as a tool for investigating crashes throughout North Carolina. Brian joined the North Carolina State Highway Patrol (NCSHP) as a Trooper in 2006, having previously served as an Officer in both the Concord and Burlington Police Departments, the former being where he first discovered his interest in the field of collision reconstruction. In 2013, Brian officially joined the NCSHP Collision Reconstructionist Unit, an esteemed group of individuals who, through the mapping of crash scenes and implementation of alternative investigative techniques, can recreate the sequence of events before the collision resulting in complete comprehensive investigations of a crash.In 2017, the NCSHP Collision Reconstruction Unit, in partnership with the North Carolina Department of Transportation, Aviation Division, acquired drones to expedite the on-scene investigative process in the most efficient manner withoutsacrificing accuracy. Brian was among the first in his Unit to receive his Part 107 Remote Pilot license and has since become one of the Patrol’s frequently called upon drone operators, as well as a presenter and panelist representing the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems in Government entities. Recognizing the importance of interagency collaboration, Brian continuously seeks opportunities to engage in partnerships with other industry professionals.Brian holds a BS in Criminal Justice from Appalachian State University.

Jim Cieplak

Jim Cieplak

Topic: Beyond Visual Line of Sight: Challenges and Opportunities

Jim Cieplak is a Senior Manager at Harris Corp. and performs business development, strategy, and aviation system engineering activities relating to advanced aviation technology implementation. His current work includes applying Harris’ surveillance, communications, critical network infrastructure, and other capabilities to facilitate unmanned aircraft system (UAS) integration into the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS).

Jim has over 25 years developing and implementing advanced aviation systems technology. This includes early work on the Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), and supporting the development and initial implementation of “NextGen” air traffic control technologies. He has served on various aviation standards committees, both within the U.S. and internationally.

Mr. Cieplak holds a Bachelor and a Master’s Degree in Aviation Safety from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, is a commercial rated pilot and owner of a general aviation aircraft. He recently earned his FAA remote pilot certificate and also owns and operates a small UAS.

Eileen Lockhart

Eileen Lockhart

Topic: Beyond Visual Line of Sight: Challenges and Opportunities

Program Manager Eileen Lockhart has headed up Xcel Energy’s Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) program since its inception in 2015. Under her leadership, Xcel Energy became one of the first utilities to obtain FAA approval to fly UAS missions and the first U.S. utility to receive FAA approval to fly beyond visual line of sight UAS missions. She also leads Xcel Energy’s multidisciplinary UAS team and business-focused UAS operations.

With Lockhart at the helm, Xcel Energy is successfully executing drone missions on an enterprise-wide basis for electric transmission and distribution facilities, high pressure natural gas transmission and distribution lines, and generation operations. Through these missions, the company has demonstrated that UAS technology can successfully improve safety and productivity across a number of businesses.

Lockhart joined Xcel Energy in 2011. She represents Xcel Energy on the Energy Drone Coalition’s Advisory Board, EEI Unmanned Aircraft Systems team, IEEE UAS team, and is involved in EPRI’s UAS-tailored collaboration project. When she is not developing UAS missions and governance, she enjoys spending time outdoors and with her family.

Mark Askelson

Mark Askelson

Topic: Beyond Visual Line of Sight: Challenges and Opportunities (workshop); Counter UAS (luncheon)

Dr. Askelson is a Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of North Dakota and currently serves as the Interim Executive Director of the Research Institute for Autonomous Systems (RIAS). He has over 20 years of research and applications experience with weather radar, including advanced applications involving radar polarimetry and phased array technologies. His areas of expertise include radar meteorology, numerical weather prediction, data assimilation, and unmanned aircraft systems (UASs). His current foci include the use of radars in aircraft deconfliction systems for UASs and the use of cooperative information to enable deconfliction of unmanned aircraft with other aircraft. Dr. Askelson has led multiple UAS research efforts, including multimillion-dollar research efforts focused on integration of UAS into the National Airspace System using both ground-based phased-array radars (development of the Ganged Phased Array Radar-Risk Mitigation System; GPAR-RMS) and cooperative data (the Limited Deployment-Cooperative Airspace Project; LD-CAP). He is also a lead in the ASSURE “Small UAS Detect and Avoid Requirements Necessary for Limited Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) Operations” effort.

Trevor Plett

Trevor Plett

Topic: What to know before selecting a drone contractor or doing it yourself

Trevor Plett was born and raised in Rapid City, South Dakota. He has two bachelor degrees in Economics and Political Science, both from Iowa State University, and a MBA from Black Hills State University. He is also a Part 107 licensed drone pilot.
Trevor took an interest in drones in 2016 upon realizing the strong business case for using them across a variety of industries to increase safety and reduce costs. He co-founded Rushmore Drones with John Herrera to provide professional drone services in agriculture, engineering, energy and telecommunications.
Plett and Herrera made a strategic decision in 2017 to have Rushmore Drones partner with Measure to obtain professional training and cutting-edge data processing. This allows Rushmore Drones to provide state-of-the-art drone solutions across the northern Great Plains. Rushmore Drones serves as your local Measure affiliate in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming under the name of Measure of the High Plains, LLC.

Mark Stunder

Mark Stunder

Topic: Drone Weather Forecasting Challenges

Mark is director of Versar’s Weather Center and has over 30-years of meteorological experience. This includes both United States and overseas experience. He is responsible for supervising meteorologists in forecasting and in weather training for clients. Mark provides key forecasts and weather support to U.S. Government agencies as well as commercial clients. Mark provides both boundary layer (lowest mile) forecasts as well as upper air forecasts and warnings for key flight operations. These forecasts are used to determine threats to assets and positioning of equipment. He has an M.S degree. from North Carolina State and a B.S degree from Penn State. Asked about his favorite weather Mark says: “I know drones don’t like it, but there is nothing like a good thunderstorm to show both the beauty and the physics of the atmosphere, and to scare you half-to-death, all at the same time!”

Nicholas Flom

Nicholas Flom

Topic: Enabling Commercial Operations

Nicholas Flom is the Executive Director for the Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site, one of seven sites designated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to conduct critical research into the certification and operational requirements necessary to safely integrate UAS into the national airspace system. Nicholas has over 15 years in the aviation industry and was previously the Director of Safety of the Test Site. 

Representing the Test Site, Nicholas actively participates in RTCA Special Committee 228, Working Group 1 that is developing the minimum operational performance standards for detect and avoid. As an industry subject matter expert, Nicholas is also a member of ASTM and is a voting member of Committee F38 on Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Nicholas also represents the Test Site on the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team.

Nicholas holds an Airline Transport Pilot certificate for single and multi-engine land with over 4,000 flight hours

Allyson Petersen

Allyson Petersen

Topic: Legal Issues Related to Unmanned & Manned Autonomous Vehicles

Allyson Petersen is a litigation associate with Nilan Johnson Lewis PA, where she defends clients in product liability and commercial matters, including contract disputes and product liability issues involving recreational power sports, asbestos exposure, FELA matters, and OSHA citations. She is experienced in drafting dispositive motions, responding to fact and expert discovery disputes, and participating in complex settlement negotiations. Allyson also devotes time to advising clients on new areas of emerging law such as the legal implications of autonomous vehicles from product liability, cybersecurity, and insurance standpoints, as well as the risks involved in using commercial drones Allyson understands the importance of pro bono work, and is dedicated to volunteering with VLN and representing individuals in criminal matters. Prior to joining Nilan Johnson Lewis, Allyson served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable James A. Cunningham, Jr., in Anoka County District Court.

Roger Royse

Roger Royse

Topic: Legal Issues in Agricultural Data:  Ownership, Use, Privacy, and Security. One hour

Roger Royse, the founder of the Royse Law Firm, works with companies ranging from newly formed tech startups to publicly traded multinationals in a variety of industries. Roger regularly advises on complex tax structuring, high stakes business negotiations and large international financial transactions. Practicing business and tax law since 1984, Roger’s background includes work with prominent San Francisco Bay area law firms, as well as Milbank, Tweed, Hadley and McCloy in New York City.

Roger is the author of Dead on Arrival: How to Avoid the Legal Mistakes That Could Kill Your Startup and sits on the boards of advisers and mentors several funds, accelerators and tech companies and takes an active role in the strategic planning decisions of his clients.

Roger has been a participating instructor of corporate law for the Center for International Studies (Salzburg Austria) and is an adjunct Professor of Taxation (Property Transactions and International Taxation) for Golden Gate University School of Law. Roger is the founder of the philanthropic organization “Team Motion to Dismiss Cancer” which conducted high profile auctions of meetings with venture capitalists to raise money for charity and has been recognized for his efforts on behalf of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society by being named the 2012 San Francisco Bay Area Chapter Man of the Year.

Roger is a Northern California Super Lawyer, is AVPeer-Rated by Martindale Hubbell, has a “ 10.0 Superb” rating from Avvo.

Darshan Divakaran

Darshan Divakaran

Topic: Government Agency Integration of Drone Programs

Darshan Divakaran in an unmanned aviation expert with expertise in unmanned flight operations, flight safety, remote sensing, geospatial analysis and project management. He is the subject matter expert for the North Carolina Governor’s office, legislature and public safety agencies. In this role, he co-leads efforts to work with other state agencies, local government, industry, universities, and community colleges to integrate a statewide UAS program in North Carolina. A key focus of his efforts has been to provide state agencies and local governments the appropriate tools to create and manage UAS programs to support their specific operational needs.

Coming from a state government and university research background, Darshan has experience developing best practices and procedures for safe and efficient unmanned aviation operations. An FAA certified remote, he has extensive flight experience with several fixed wing and rotary UAV systems. In addition, Darshan has also worked with several remote-sensing platforms, photogrammetry and GIS systems. He is also an FAA certified commercial Pilot with multi-engine rating.

Darshan holds a Master of Geospatial Information Science and Technology degree from North Carolina State University and BS in Professional Aeronautics (with minor in Aviation Management) from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Michael Downie

Michael Downie

Topic: Limitations of Creativity in UAS Film

Michael Downie is the creator and host of the YouTube channel, DownieLive. His passion is capturing unique, behind-the-scenes experiences, but as a frequent traveler and adventure seeker you can count on him to have his camera and drone close by no matter where he is.

Michael’s home base is Vancouver, Canada, and when he’s not busy collaborating with local BC businesses on their drone and videography needs, you’ll find him creating, filming, or editing the next DownieLive video.

Sheila Kerwin

Sheila Kerwin

Topic: Legal Issues Related to Manned and Unmanned Autonomous Vehicles

Sheila Kerwin is an experienced lawyer with the Minneapolis-based law firm of Nilan Johnson Lewis. She helps businesses navigate risk and manage programs associated with UAS commercial usage, including regulatory compliance, risk analysis and avoidance, and litigation.

Sheila represents small, midsize, and large businesses across multiple industries, and currently manages the national drone program for a large utility company. Her background in transportation and product liability law—combined with her trial experience—adds additional depth and breadth to her drone practice. She’s spent decades conducting risk assessments and is intimately familiar with regulatory compliance and mitigating litigation risk. Sheila speaks regularly at conferences across the country on topics such as transportation laws, risk management, and compliance.

Joel Ifill

Joel Ifill

Topic: The Unit Economics of Drone Delivery (main stage) Integrating UAV's into Humanitarian missions (workshop)

Joel Ifill is a career Engineer, inventor and entrepreneur. He received his undergraduate in Welding Engineering from Pennsylvania College of technology and has spent 10 years in a variety of engineering roles for diverse industries like Aerospace, Nuclear reactors, and architectural installations. He specializes in Manufacturing and Quality Systems, with a focus on automation and safety critical systems. As an entrepreneur he designed and launched several consumer products before founding DASH Systems in 2016.

Emcees

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Greg Tehven

Greg Tehven

Topic: Emcee

The Executive Director of Emerging Prairie, Greg is a social entrepreneur and connector of people across the midwest. Greg co-founded Students Today Leaders Forever while an undergrad at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. From there, Greg joined the Kilbourne Group and worked on a variety of projects to stimulate growth and entrepreneurship in Downtown Fargo. Greg has been a leader in organizing and managing numerous entrepreneurial events in the FM area, including TEDxFargo, Startup Weekend, and more.

Marlo Anderson

Marlo Anderson

Topic: Emcee & National Autonomous Vehicle Day

Marlo Anderson, a serial entrepreneur and futurist is best known for being the founder of National Day Calendar. Trending over 450 times on Twitter last year, with a FaceBook reach in the hundreds of millions, National Day Calendar is followed daily by more than 20,000 media outlets including Elvis Duran, Ellen Degeneres, Fox & Friends and Good Morning America. With over 10 million people following Marlo online, National Day Calendar is the most popular trending topic of all time. He has appeared in most major newspapers from the Wall Street Journal to the Fargo Forum. This social media phenomenon is also the host of the radio show The Tech Ranch and affectionately known to his followers as “The Guru of Geek.” This unique platform has given Marlo first-hand knowledge in emerging technology trends and hardware.

With a passion for start-ups Marlo has been directly involved in the creation of Pakkage, Talking Trail, Zoovio, Awesome 2 Products, 3sixty5 and National Day Calendar. His community projects include 1 Million Cups ND, the North Dakota Automated Vehicle Collaborative, The Old Ten Scenic Byway, North Dakota Music Hall of Fame and the Mandan Independence Day Parade to name only a few. Marlo resides in Mandan, ND.

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