WBT Open Innovation 2015: Unmanned Aerial Systems Speakers

Ryan Aasheim

Praxis Strategy Group

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

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

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

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

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

Alvin A Brunner III

Aviation Safety Inspector
Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Alvin Brunner is an Aviation Safety Inspector for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Flight Standards Division, Southwest Region, Fort Worth TX. His Inspector duties primarily focus on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) integration into the National Airspace System. This includes a variety of duties ranging from policy formation, risk mitigation for Certificates of Authorization, to public relations.

Inspector Brunner has a degree from Texas A&M University in Aerospace Engineering and a Master of Aeronautical Sciences from Embry-Riddle University. He is a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel having served 26 years as a pilot and engineer. He joined the FAA in 2010 as one of the initial cadre of regional UAS Inspectors.

Shawn S Bullard

Duetto Group

Shawn S. Bullard is president of Duetto Group, LLC, and serves as the lead federal government advisor in Washington, DC, for North Dakota's Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft SystemsTest Site. He is a Capitol Hill-based government relations strategist, consultant and lobbyist, who specializes in public policy impacting innovative and disruptive technologies.

For more than two decades Mr. Bullard has driven public policy at the highest levels of government. He began his career in Washington, DC, as a senior congressional staff member to a long-serving member of the House Armed Services Committee and House Transportation Committee.

As vice president of government relations in Washington, DC, for one of the nation's oldest and most prestigious public relations firms, he developed legislative and public policy initiatives for many of the most recognizable brands in America, such as Coors Brewing Company, Toyota's HINO Motors and NASA. Mr. Bullard has served as a trusted resource to scholars at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, as a representative on the Y2K White House Task Force, and as an advisor to delegates on the federal Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce.

He regularly lectures at universities on the intersection of public policy, politics and technology and sits on multiple boards and advisory committees, including those related to UAS. Mr. Bullard holds a Masters degree from George Mason University's School of Policy, Government and International Affairs, serving on the school's alumni board, which is the largest school of its type in the nation.

Brett Chilcott

CEO + Founder
AgEagle LLC.

Bret founded AgEagle in 2013 as a spin off of Kansas State University research project. Prior to founding the Company, Mr. Chilcott held sales and marketing positions with Cessna Aircraft and Cobalt Boats. In addition, he led product Development & Engineering for Snap-on for 12 years.

R. Scott Dann

Director, Strategic Development
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.

With over 30 years experience in aviation, engineering and management, Scott Dann is currently Director of Strategic Development for General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI). In this position, Mr. Dann is responsible for promoting opportunities for the company’s full line of remotely piloted aircraft systems and mission systems to domestic non-DoD government customers, NASA, and leads airspace integration and certification initiatives.

Most recently, Mr. Dann served as Director for Domestic Programs where he managed domestic and commercial Department of Homeland Security U.S. Customs and Border Protection, NASA, and NOAA business areas. He also formally headed many of GA-ASI’s advanced development programs, including Altus II, Predator B, and Altair IR&D efforts.

Prior to joining GA-ASI in 1998, Mr. Dann worked for such leading aviation firms as Douglas Aircraft Company, San Diego Aircraft Engineering, Bombardier Learjet, and Bombardier Aeronautique. He was an integral member of the design teams for the Douglas MD80, MDX Helicopter, Learjet 60, Learjet 45, and Bombardier CRJ-700 aircraft programs.

Mr. Dann holds a Bachelor’s degree in Aircraft Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a Master’s in Business Administration, and is an FAA certified Commercial Pilot.

Richard Douglas

Military Sales Manager
GE Aviation

Rick Douglas is a Sales Manager supporting GE Aviation Systems Navigation & Guidance and Mission Systems Product Areas. In this position, he is responsible for customer engagement to best understand customer needs and develop innovative and unique solutions along with opportunities for funding new product development work.

Most recently, Mr. Douglas served as the Director of Commercial Operations responsible for internal proposal processes and managing teams located in Grand Rapids, MI and Cheltenham, UK. His teams supportedover 500 proposals annually, while driving sales analytic activities, and overall sales support.

Prior to this role, Mr. Douglas lead the Products and Programs Sourcing group supporting new product
development and Engineering needs for Aviation Systems North America with an annual
spend of over $50MM. Prior to joining GE Aviation in 2008, Mr. Douglas served 4 years as a United States Naval Logistics Officer onboard 2 different surface combatants, USS Dale (CG-19) and USS
McInerney (FFG-8), along with 12 years at Steelcase, Inc. At Steelcase, he held leadership positions in Industrial Engineering, Finance, Materials Management, and the last 4 years focused on Supply Chain Management developing relationships with Southeast Asian suppliers.

Mr. Douglas earned his Bachelors of Science in Finance from Miami University, and Masters of Business Administration from Western Michigan University.

Michael Gallagher

Executive Subject Matter Expert (SME)
The Padina Group, Inc.

Mr. Gallagher (former FAA Senior Executive) is an executive Subject Matter Expert (SME) on aircraft airworthiness and can contribute extensive experience and insights into the aviation industry. He is also very well connected with mid-level and executive-level managers within the FAA and international regulatory bodies. He is a member of RTCA SC-203 and was involved in the Access 5 Policy IPT.

Dyan Gibbens

Trumbull Unmanned

Dyan leads Trumbull Unmanned (oil and gas) and Unmanned Cowboys (UAV technology and solar panel integration), and brings a decade of aerospace integration and technical engineering experience supporting acquisitions and program management within the Department of Defense. The Society of Petroleum Engineers selected Dyan as a Distinguished Lecturer for a global tour to speak on “How to Save Time, Money, and Reduce Personnel Exposure Using UAS” (2015-2016).

For several years, her work and research focused on UAS integration. She earned a BS in Civil Engineering with an emphasis on mechanical and environmental engineering from the USAF Academy, an MBA from OSU, and she is a PhD candidate and Distinguished Graduate Fellow in Industrial Engineering and Management focusing on UAS integration, also from OSU. Additionally, she earned Georgetown's Change Management Advanced Practitioner (CMAP) and Stanford Certified Project Manager (SCPM) certifications. Dyan is a pilot and former USAFA Parachute Team member.

Jim Halligan

Oklahoma State Senator -District 21

USAF Intelligence--Bulgarian Interpreter. Doctorate in Chemical Engineering -- Iowa State University. Process Engineer -- Humble Oil Company. Professor of Chemical Engineering -- Texas Tech University. Dean of Engineering -- Missouri University of Science and Technology -- Rolla. Dean of Engineering -- University of Arkansas. Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs -- Interim Chancellor -- University of Arkansas. President -- New Mexico State University -- 10 years. President -- Oklahoma State University -- 9 years. Fulbright Fellowship -- Germany. Teaching assignments -- Thailand, Bulgaria. Presently -- Oklahoma State Senate -- District 21.

James P Hughey

Managing Partner
NEXA Capital Partners, LLC

Jim is a seasoned private equity professional with financial, operational and strategic expertise in the transportation, logistics, and technology sectors, where his roles have ranged from consulting to venture capital.

With ten years of transportation/supply chain experience, he supports NEXA's clients in growing enterprise value, with transaction execution in asset finance, leveraged leasing, and public-private partnerships. Jim also develops optimal equity and debt capital strategies while connecting clients with complementary investment partners from NEXA's extensive syndicate.

Prior to joining NEXA, Jim worked in a management consulting role with Accenture, where he advised both government and commercial clients on logistics and technology projects involving asset management, revenue strategy, and enterprise resource planning.

As an industrial engineer with UPS he directed process and workforce planning and supervised the implementation of its industry-leading technology through standardization and optimization of delivery operations.

Jim holds his Masters of Business Administration from The Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia as well as dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Industrial Engineering and Manufacturing Engineering from Northwestern University.

Jim holds qualifications of an Investment Banking Representative (Series 79) under the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Gary Jones

Washington DC Liaison
Federal Lab Consortium for Tech Transfer

Gary Jones is the Washington DC Liaison for the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC), a position he has held since 2005. As the DC Representative, Mr. Jones is responsible for providing FLC coordination in the DC area with Federal Agencies and their laboratories, Congressional staff, and trade, professional and other organizations. In addition to his time with the FLC, Mr. Jones’ more than thirty years of experience includes seven years in academia and over sixteen years in industry and government. Most recently, Mr. Jones was on the faculty of American University’s Washington Semester Program, where he served as an Academic Director for International Business & Trade. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at University of Maryland University College, Graduate School of Management & Technology. Prior to his academic experience, Mr. Jones’ career included work as an exploration geophysicist in the energy industry, a policy analyst supporting the U.S. Department of Energy, and a researcher with the Virginia Department of Economic Development. He holds an M.B.A from University of Richmond, a B.S. in Geophysics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and has studied technology management and international business at the post-graduate level.

Tom "Tommy" K. Kenville

VP of Development and Chairman
UND Center for Innovation and Unmanned Applications Institute

Tom Kenville graduated from the University of North Dakota in 1988 with a Bachelors Degree in
Marketing. He then accepted a job at the UND Aerospace Foundation (UNDAF) as Director of
Student Services. Tom remained at UNDAF for fifteen years, traveling to 32 countries, with
success in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, serving as the Vice President of Business Development. He created working alliances between the University of North Dakota and the Aerospace foundation, as well as secured major contracts and created great returns for the Foundation both in contracts and philanthropy.

In 1999 Tom established T-Kort LLC, which still operates today. This property development
company renovates old apartments into luxury New York Stylelofts. Tom managed construction, finances projects, and controls leasing of all units. Kenville also serves as Managing Member for University Hotel Development LLC, he raised $4.8 million in equity and returned principle one year early. His entrepreneurial success is proven time and again. In 2002 Kenville founded Tglobal Inc., a company focused onconsulting logistics support and Warehousing (www.tglobalinc.com) for startup businesses.
As president and owner, he purchased a 14,000 sq ft warehouse in 2007. Kenville was able to raise equity capital of $1.2 million for the Valley Angels investment fund which he currently chairs. The Valley Angels were the first fund of its type in North Dakota. Kenville also assisted with the launching of funds in Fargo, Fosston, and Wahpeton.

Since 2006 one of Tom’s primary consulting contracts is with Center for Innovation as Rainmaker and VP of Development. Tom’s ability to communicate and form business alliances are key elements to his success today. Tom is passionate about Entrepreneurs and helps to
inspire innovation and ideas by serving as a mentor and business plan judge, Innovate ND, Idea Fest in Northwest Minnesota, an school competitions. He enjoys spending time supporting Sioux athletics and fundraising for his alma mater. Tomis a strong team player with a desire to help others grow and maximize their potential. Equity,debt and investment raised in the last decade is over $20 million.

In 2010 Tom founded (Unmanned Applications Institute International) UAI as the first Institute for research, testing, and consulting in the UAV industry. UAI was co-organizer of the UAS Summit in North Dakota and founding partner of the annual AUVSI IARC competitions and founding member of the Great Plains Chapter of AUVSI. Tom assisted in raising over $ 3 million in equity/debt for UAV manufacturer to locate in North Dakota.

The North Dakota Airspace Integration Team was Tom’s idea and when presented to Senator Hoeven in Washington DC the idea became reality. Tom put up a list of industry experts to participate on the team and to have the first state with ONE VOICE concept. UAI has been
consulting for the Department of Commerce, and was also the primary person when North Dakota decided to have the TEAM NORTH DAKOTA booth at AUVSI in 2007. Tom has been doing excellent team work in the region with NCTC, NDUASTS, NDSU and Department of commerce.

Stephen McKeever

Secretary of Science and Technology
State of Oklahoma

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

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

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

Rick Nagel

Managing Partner
Acorn Growth Equities

As the Managing Partner of Acorn Growth Companies, Rick Nagel leads the strategic direction of the firm and its portfolio assets.

He first served Acorn as an Advisory Board Member and in 2004 joined as a partner, launching the firm¹s private equity practice. Since, he has led and is responsible for the current geographic footprint, fund operations, fundraising activity, investment deal generation, portfolio integrations and company performance improvement initiatives.

Prior to joining Acorn, Nagel served as a managing director and member of the operating team of Los Angeles-based Platinum Equity, where he led several revitalization and transformation strategies that spanned high growth enterprises and successful turnarounds. In this capacity, he managed and helped lead several companies in Platinum¹s information technology and telecommunications portfolio, which included DCA Services, Matrix Telecommunications, and numerous bolt-on acquisitions. He joined DCA in 1995 before WorldCom divested it to Platinum in 1997 and was named
president of DCA in 1999.

Nagel is a current member of the Board of Governors for the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), the Oklahoma Aerospace Association, and the US Air Force Association. He serves on the Board of Directors for the State Chamber of Oklahoma, is involved with numerous civic organizations, locally and nationally, and is the state president of the Oklahoma Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs.

He is the treasurer for US Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK, Appropriations & Rules), a position he also served for former US Congressman JC Watts. Nagel is also a former Finance Chairman for the Oklahoma Republican Party.

A Phillips 66 Scholar, Nagel holds a B.S. degree from the University of Oklahoma's College of Engineering in Environmental Science.

Nagel, his wife and their three children reside in Norman, Oklahoma.

Lisa Navrkal

Stillwater Chamber of Commerce

Lisa Navrkal is the current President/CEO of the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce. She has been in Chamber management for over twelve years. Being from Illinois originally, she relocated to the Tulsa area in 1999 where she led the Bixby Metro Chamber of Commerce growing their Chamber by 260%. Growing up in a small college town attracted her to Stillwater and she joined this Chamber in late 2011. Her mission is to transform the Chamber focusing her efforts on the development of business advancement.

The Stillwater Chamber is the lead economic development entity partnering with the City of Stillwater to promote primary company recruitment and business, retention and expansion. In her just over 2 years with the Chamber Lisa has assisted in recruitment of over 1,400 jobs to the Stillwater area. The Stillwater Chamber is currently 815 members strong and represents over 22,000 employees.

Michael A. Tharp

Managing Director
Cimarron Capital Partners

Michael Tharp, CFA, is a Cimarron Managing Director and Founder. Mike served as the President of the Oklahoma Capital Investment Board from 1994 to 2000 and Vice President from 1989. His career has focused on creating and managing investment programs for institutional investors. 

Prior to co-founding Cimarron as a separate entity in 2002, Mike was a Vice President and Private Equity Specialist for Prudential. He currently serves as the point person for Cimarron's Arkansas fund of funds program. Mike holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation and is a member of the CFA Institute as well as the Oklahoma Society of Financial Analysts. He has served as the Program Chairman for the Institutional Limited Partners' Association and as National Board Member and Treasurer of the Council of Development Finance Agencies. 

Mike earned his undergraduate degree from Southern Illinois University and his Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Wisconsin. Mike resides in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Warren Thomas

Managing Partner
Tinker Business & Industrial Park

Mr. Thomas has more than forty years of experience in private sector business including banking, oil & gas, real estate investments and technology commercialization.

His banking experience included interests in four commercial banks, one of which, with another investor, comprised majority ownership in a downtown Oklahoma City bank, where he served as Chairman of the Board and CEO. He has also served on numerous Executive and Loan Committees.

Mr. Thomas excels at creatively engineering complex financial strategies with an emphasis on enhancing shareholder's value and mitigating risks. He has started and/or acquired numerous companies over four decades and led them to successful growth and incremental value creation. Thomas was a founding partner of Acorn Growth Companies, now AGC Aerospace, a private equity firm with over $200 million under management. AGC companies are primarily engaged in composite materials, sensors, "NDI" and "ISR" activities, all related to the Defense and Commercial Aviation industries.

He is a licensed real estate broker (over 40 years) and a seasoned commercial and industrial real estate developer with recognized expertise in sector-specific development, i.e., industry clusters like the Tinker Business & Industrial Park (TBIP), which is adjacent to Tinker Air Force Base. TBIP was conceived and developed by Thomas in 1985 and today serves as a working model of cluster development within a targeted industry - defense and aviation/aerospace - and consistently exceeds $1 billion in annual contracts with Tinker and the Department of Defense.

Mr. Thomas enjoys a 29-year partnership with the 100 (plus) year old Flintco Companies of Tulsa, OK. He also serves as Managing General Partner of TBIP, home to more than 30 prominent defense contractors such as Rockwell Collins, Pratt & Whitney, General Electric, Rolls-Royce, General Atomics, Lockheed, Spirit Aero Systems, DRS, Wylie, and Chromalloy among others. This highly-synergistic aviation/aerospace cluster includes strategic relationships with Oklahoma's research universities, community colleges and Oklahoma's CareerTech for targeted job creation and workforce development. Jobs at TBIP average over twice the state's per capita income consistent with the goal of creating high-value, high-paying jobs. Upon completion, TBIP's master-planned, one-million square foot campus has been forecast to exceed $100 million in asset value. Today it represents the largest aggregation of technology companies in the State of Oklahoma.

Thomas is also a principal in and founding partner of Oklahoma's new "Unmanned Systems Innovation Center" (USIC). Located within the TBIP aerospace campus, the facility includes an emphasis on research and development, technology commercialization, education, certification and training, and entrepreneurship linked to its own multi-tier capital facility. As Managing Equity Partner in Design Intelligence Incorporated (DII), he is again helping to shape the emerging unmanned systems industry's evolution, not only in Oklahoma but also in the surrounding region and on the national platform.
In 2004, Mr. Thomas was appointed by Governor Brad Henry to the Oklahoma Science and Technology Commission. He is now in his third term after being reappointed by Governor Mary Fallin. The Commission reports to the Secretary for Science and Technology and is charged with formulating a blueprint for advancing scientific and technology-related policy initiatives and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education for the State of Oklahoma. In his original capacity on the Commission, Thomas was charged with overseeing the Center for Aviation Systems Support & Infrastructure (CASI), a consortium of Oklahoma's higher education institutions organized for the purpose of supporting the State's aerospace sector. Previously, he was selected to serve on the Base Commander's Executive Advisory Committee for the Tinker Air Logistics Center. He is currently a Foundation Trustee for the Oklahoma School for Science and Mathematics. He also stood as a Director of the Oklahoma Aerospace & Defense Alliance.

In 2013, Mr. Thomas was selected as one of 200 business leaders from across the United States to serve on the GE Education Foundation. His role is to advocate for academic rigor in the State of Oklahoma, particularly relating to "college and career readiness."

Mr. Thomas' long-term professional associations include (among others) the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and the Association of University-Related Research Parks (AURRP). Mr. Thomas has attained numerous professional designations and specialized coursework in banking, finance, real estate and the petroleum industry. He has lived and worked in Oklahoma virtually all of his adult life.

David A. Waits Ph.D.

Oklahoma State University Research Foundation

Waits brings a unique approach to precision farming with his experience and knowledge in the fields of agriculture, geography, and land management. He has ten years’ experience as a farmer in southwestern Kansas and five years’ experience teaching university-level GIS and Remote Sensing as a professor at Oklahoma State University. Waits holds a Ph.D. in Land Use Planning and Management from Texas Tech University, and two degrees from Oklahoma State University: a Master’s degree in Geography and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics.

Waits has been a guest speaker at numerous agricultural conferences during the past fifteen years. His expertise includes Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing as it pertains to agriculture. Generally, his presentations center on how people can manage and analyze GIS data for decision support in a variety of agricultural applications.

John Walker

The Padina Group, Inc

John has fifty years of aviation experience in a career rich in air traffic control, airspace management, flight navigation and airport development skills. John’s aviation career includes thirty-two years with the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). His last Senior Executive Service assignment was served as the FAA’s Program Director of Airspace Management. In this position John was responsible for the management of all civil airspace within the United States. Prior to his assignment in Washington, DC, John was the FAA’s Air Traffic Division Manager in New York City, responsible for all air traffic operations in the Northeast United States. John believes that our global airspace is one of the last un-tapped resources remaining in the world today and is dedicated to further his vision and passion for modernizing global airspace use. He currently participates with the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) UAS Committee and the FAA’s UAS Executive Committee International sub-working group. He also serves on the ICAO UAS Panel in Montreal, Canada.

Carter Williams

President, CEO and Investment Committee
iSelect Fund Management, LLC

Carter has been President and CEO of the Company since May 2014. He is an active investor and advisor to early-stage companies. Prior to joining the Company, Carter ledProgress Partners energy and technology practice, a Boston-based investment bank, was a managing partner at Open Innovation Ventures and a director at Clayton Capital Partners. Carter was President of Gridlogix until it was successfully sold in 2008. Previously, Carter was a director and founder of Boeing Ventures where he also led Boeing’s technology planning process. Carter is the past president and founder of the MIT Corporate Venturing Consortium and Co-founder of the MIT Entrepreneurship Society. He holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an M.B.A. from the MIT Sloan School.