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2021 UAS Summit Speaker Biographies

 

UAS Summit Program Speakers Sponsor/Co-Host REGISTER

 

 

Hosts 

 
 

Dr. Waseem Naqvi
President, AUVSI New England
Chief Technology Officer, Raytheon Unmanned Vehicle Systems

Dr. Waseem Naqvi is the CTO (Technology Director) for Raytheon’s (NYSE: RTN) Unmanned Vehicle Systems business. He is responsible for defining business strategy, capability, technology, and investment priorities addressing future unmanned and autonomous systems.

Raytheon is a leader in unmanned vehicle control systems and has provided the Ground Control Systems, and Mission Planning Systems for Global Hawk, BAMS, Fire Scout, and other UxS. Raytheon develops sensors, surveillance, communications, command and control, and vehicle control systems and cyber solutions into the Unmanned Systems industry.

Dr. Naqvi is an active contributor to the Autonomous Vehicle and Robotics Industry. He is President of the Board of Directors for the Association for Unmanned Systems International (AUVSI) New England Chapter. Waseem is Vice President and a member of the Board of Directors for the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance (NUAIR), an FAA UAS Test Site. He is a past Board member for AUVSI Headquarters, and also represented all 36 chapter Presidents. He previously served on the advisory board for the Massachusetts Robotics Sector. He is an International Executive Resource Group (IERG) Global Business Leader Fellow and serves on its Board.

Dr. Jeffrey DeCarlo
Administrator
MassDOT Aeronautics Division

Dr. Jeffrey DeCarlo is the MassDOT Aeronautics Division Administrator tasked with providing statutory and regulatory oversight for all aviation matters in Massachusetts, including safety, security, airport development, and UAS programs. He leads the Commonwealth UAS Integration Program, an industry, academia, and government collaborative focused on enabling UAS and Counter-UAS systems.

Jeff has more than 30-years of aviation operations and consulting experience with the military, industry, academia, and government. An experienced principal investigator, he led NASA sponsored air traffic control and airport operations R & D; and has supported aviation systems acquisition activities for the DoD.

A former U.S. Air Force and airline pilot with over 10,000 hours in fighter and commercial aircraft, he is a graduate of Fighter Weapons School. Jeff retired from the military as a Lt. Colonel following nearly 25 years of USAF active duty, Air National Guard and Reserve service.

He sits on the Board of Directors of MassAutonomy (as Chair), the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance (NUAIR), the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) New England, the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO), and is the former Chair of the NASAO Center for Aviation Research and Education.

 

Keynotes 

 

Steven Bradford 
Chief Scientific and Technical Advisor
NextGen - Federal Aviation Administration

Steven W. Bradford is the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Chief Scientific and Technical Advisor for Architecture and Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) Development. He is the Chairman of the Technical Review Board, which monitors technical decisions; related investments; and the Enterprise Architecture. Mr. Bradford works with elements of the FAA to develop midterm plans and five-year budget requests to implement NextGen. He is the FAA’s lead for the FAA/NASA Research Transition Team process that supports collaboration between the FAA and NASA on ATM-related activities.

He also has a leading role in NextGen’s international engagement activities with SESAR Joint Undertaking and has led several co-operative international efforts with EUROCONTROL. He was a member of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) technical team that authored the Global Air Navigation Plan, the past U.S. panel member to the ICAO Air Traffic Management Requirements and Performance Panel, and continues as a technical advisor to the update for the next GANP.

Col Nathan Diller
Director 
U.S. Air Force AFWERX

Col Nathan P. Diller is the Director of AFWERX. Col Diller received his commission from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 2000. After simultaneous master’s degrees at Harvard and MIT, he attended Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training and flew F-16s for two Combat Air Force assignments, becoming an instructor pilot. He was selected for the French Test Pilot School and then completed his first test tour at Edwards AFB, supporting B-1, B-2, F-16, F-22, and F-35 flight tests and instructing at the Test Pilot School. He served as an Executive Officer to the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board and as a Defense Advanced Research Project Agency Service Chiefs Fellow. Upon completing a program management tour at the Space and Missile Center, he took command of the 586th Flight Test Squadron, supervising classified flight tests for joint, interagency, and international clients. Col Diller attended the Eisenhower School, completing the Senior Acquisition Course, and was assigned as the Air and Space Branch Chief in the Joint Staff J8. He then became the Assistant Director of Aeronautics at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and served at the Office of the Secretary of Defense Strategic Capabilities Office and the Department of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office. Col Diller is a member of the Acquisition Corps and is certified as a Level III Program Manager and Test professional. He is a senior pilot with over 2,700 hours in more than 50 aircraft.

Davis Hackenberg
Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) Mission Integration Manager
NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD)

Davis Hackenberg is currently serving the NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) as the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) Mission Integration Manager. He performs his duties at NASA Headquarters in Washington DC. Mission Integration Manager duties for AAM include strategic mission planning and leading the development and implementation of the AAM mission spanning all relevant ARMD project and center research activities with the goal of implementing the NASA AAM investment strategy in a manner that accelerates AAM. Davis is responsible for strategic and technical management, including integration with multiple government agencies ensuring that the products of this effort are relevant and will be utilized by all customers and stakeholders. Davis received his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and Master’s degree in System Engineering from Pennsylvania State University.

Scott Newbern
Vice President and Chief Technology Officer 
AeroVironment

Scott Newbern has served as the Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of AeroVironment since December of 2018. This includes leadership of the MacCready Works Laboratory ­– a focal point for AeroVironment’s continuous innovation, focusing on relentless problem solving and doing what has never been done before. Scott previously served as the Vice President of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems beginning in 2012. He guided the strategic and tactical activities for the SUAS business area. Scott has served in various UAS leadership positions at AeroVironment since joining the company in 1997. Scott led advanced UAS development activities including establishing high volume SUAS manufacturing capability at AeroVironment.

Scott earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from North Carolina State University and a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from North Carolina State University with a specialty in UAS aerodynamic modeling, control system design, and flight research. Scott also completed the Stanford Executive Institute program for high technology executives and Gap International’s Executive Challenge.

 

Leaders 

 

Dr. Heather Arneson
Urban Air Mobility Services Technical Lead
NASA Ames Research Center

Dr. Heather Arneson has been a Research Aerospace Engineer at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California since 2011. Dr. Arneson’s initial research at Ames was focused on traffic flow management using machine learning methods to develop decision support tools and integrated demand management for traditional aviation. Her current work is in traffic management for urban air mobility.

Dr. Arneson received a B.S. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Cornell University. She was a member of the science imaging team for NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Mission for a period of three years spanning pre-launch calibration and the first eighteen months of landed operations. She then went on to earn an M.S. degree and Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her graduate research focus was on the development of control design techniques with applications to air traffic flow management.

Apoorva Bajaj
Innovation Manager, CASA Engineering Research Center
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Apoorva works as Innovation Manager at the Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is leading the development of technology to support the safe routing of remotely piloted and autonomous aerial vehicles around weather. He manages his team’s participation in the NASA Systems Integration and Operationalization (SIO) program and NASA Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) National Campaign, both activities focused on the communication of weather risk to unmanned aviation stakeholders. Apoorva is a member of various standards groups and professional societies advancing the weather industry. His overall professional focus is on the development of new business models for the acquisition, deployment, and operation of sensor networks for public safety, commerce, and defense applications. He has an M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering and an M.B.A. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Peter Boynton
Chief Executive Officer
Kostas Research Institute at Northeastern University

Peter Boynton is CEO of the Kostas Research Institute LLC and Professor of the Practice at Northeastern University’s Innovation Campus at Burlington, Massachusetts, and founder of a Venture Creation Center for early-stage companies. The institute co-locates industry, university, and government labs to accelerate technology from discovery to commercialization.

He was previously Commissioner of Emergency Management and Homeland Security for the state of Connecticut, appointed by both democratic and republican governors and twice confirmed by the General Assembly. He oversaw three presidential disaster declarations, established the state intelligence center, and developed the statewide emergency response framework. 

Boynton was an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, commanding three ships and serving as Director for Global Affairs on the White House National Security Council staff. 

Boynton has testified before the U.S. Congress on emergency management and homeland security. He holds a master’s in public administration from Harvard, an ocean engineering degree from the Coast Guard Academy, and an unlimited Master’s License for ocean-going vessels of any tonnage.

Daniel Chiofalo
Director of Business Development
MassAutonomy

Director of Business Development and Spokesperson at MassAutonomy

International Captain at American Airlines

Government and Industry Affairs liaison for the National Aviation Technology Center at Dowling College

N.J. Air National Guard

BBA in Accounting and Finance, University of Miami, FL

Rodolfo Cuevas
Counter-UAS (C-UAS) Program Lead 
MassDOT Aeronautics Division

Rodolfo Cuevas is the Counter-UAS (CUAS) Program Lead for the MassDOT Aeronautics Division. He is focused on architecting and operationalizing a CUAS capability across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts through a collaborative effort with federal, state, local, industry, research, and academic stakeholders within the state.

Additionally, Rodolfo is a security researcher and systems analyst at Boston Cybernetics Institute. His research interests lie in the socio-technical aspects of cyber-enabled system conception, implementation, operation, and evaluation. Rodolfo focuses his research on understanding how design constraints can be used to limit adverse impacts and maximize the ability to identify and adapt to challenging operating conditions.

Previously, Rodolfo was a staff member at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. There, he was responsible for the test and evaluation of RADAR, analysis of ballistic missile defense system (BMDS) components and architectures, and analysis and red-teaming of tactical and commercial cyber systems and architectures in support of DoD and other government programs.

 

Richard A. Davey, Jr.
Partner and Associate Director
Boston Consulting Group

Rich Davey is a Partner and Associate Director at the Boston Consulting Group. An expert in transportation and mobility, Rich leads BCG’s State and Local Public Sector Practice in the U.S. and advises public and private sector clients on a wide variety of topics. Prior to joining BCG, Rich served as the Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation from 2011-2014 and as the General Manager of the MBTA. A native Bostonian, Rich is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross and Gonzaga University School of Law. He lives in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston.

Joseph Donovan
Managing Director, Federal Strategies Team 
Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough

Joseph Donovan is a Managing Director with the Federal Strategies Team for the law and government relations firm of Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough. Joe is a government relations strategist and a registered lobbyist in Washington D.C. and Massachusetts and works with companies and organizations in the defense, aerospace, maritime, and higher education sectors. He is involved with related federal and state initiatives in these sectors and interacts regularly with the New England Congressional delegation, working closely with staff (based in Washington and in districts) as well as state officials in Massachusetts. He previously served as spokesman and communications director for jobs and the economy in the Administration of Massachusetts Governor (now Utah U.S. Senator) Mitt Romney’s Executive Office of Economic Development.

Geoffrey Douglass
Shoreline Aviation

Geoff is a business development professional and entrepreneur. He is currently working to expand Shoreline Aviation Inc.’s core business offerings in South FL and is spearheading the implementation of eVTOL operations in the Boston area. In addition to aviation, Geoff is also committed to sustainability. He has founded and assists marine tech startups that develop novel technologies in support of a responsible future.

Geoff earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University.

Charles Hipwood
President and Chief Executive Officer  
MassVentures

Charlie is CEO and President of MassVentures, a strategic venture capital firm with a focus on seed-stage equity investments and grants in deep tech companies in Massachusetts. 

Charlie is a founder and executive with 20+ years of experience in financial services and technology start-ups (founded Fluent Fintech, STAG Capital Partners, and AI Exchange) and established corporations (JP Morgan and Level 3 Communications). As an entrepreneur, Charlie has deep experience in establishing and managing operations, executing investments, developing products and markets, managing the sales pipeline, raising capital, leading teams, growing revenue, and executing strategy to achieve desired outcomes.

Charlie earned an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth Graduate School of Business and a BA from Boston College.

Andrew Jetton
Director of Strategic Initiatives
Collins Aerospace (a Raytheon Technologies company)

Andrew Jetton is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at Collins Aerospace, a Raytheon Technologies company. In this role, he is responsible for strategy and market development in emerging aerospace sectors including Advanced Air Mobility and autonomous operations across both aircraft and airspace systems. Andrew has been with Collins and its predecessor companies since 2011 and has prior experience in strategic marketing and business development in a variety of other technology-driven organizations. He earned his undergraduate degree at Harvard College and an M.B.A. from The University of Texas at Austin.

 

Sertac Karaman
Associate Professor 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Sertac Karaman is an Associate Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His research interests lie in the broad area of embedded systems and mobile robotics. He has worked on driverless cars, unmanned aerial vehicles, distributed aerial surveillance systems, air traffic control algorithms, certification and verification of control systems software, and many others. His most recent research on flying robots spans the spectrum from the miniature micro-drones to the extremely-agile super-drones that can navigate complex environments. He is also the co-founder of Optimus Ride, a Boston-based MIT-spin-off company that develops self-driving vehicle technologies to enable efficient, sustainable, and equitable mobility.

 

Matthew Kling
ECUAS Lab Director and Senior Research Scientist 
Kostas Research Institute at Northeastern University

Matthew Kling is a member of the technical staff at KRI at Northeastern University, LLC as a Senior Research Engineer where his key focus areas include Counter-UAS, electronic warfare, EMP, multi-modal sensing, machine learning/AI, and autonomy. At KRI, he collaborates with academia, industry, and government to conduct cutting edge research in all of these areas.  He is also the Director of the Expeditionary Cyber and Unmanned Aircraft Systems Lab that is located on the Northeastern University Innovation Campus at Burlington, MA where he focuses on developing innovative solutions and utilizes his extensive background in RF systems, real-time embedded systems, system architecture, systems engineering, cybersecurity, and system integration/test. His professional certifications include TOGAF and Zachman enterprise architecture. He obtained an MS in Systems Engineering in 2006 and a BS in Electrical Engineering in 2002, both from WPI. His career began at Raytheon in 2002 as a software engineer for SATCOM/Radar systems. During his 15 years there he became a technical leader for several major military SATCOM systems where he was considered an expert in domains such as communication waveforms, RF systems, real-time embedded systems, security engineering/cyber, and system architecture/requirements. Additionally, he has published several papers and applied for/received patents for remote control systems and security devices.

 

Jacob Ruytenbeek
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
SailPlan

Jacob is the Founder and CEO of SailPlan. Before founding SailPlan, Jacob worked to commercialize emerging technologies throughout the aerospace and defense community at the U.S. Air Force (civilian), Raytheon, and AirMap. He is an active member of the Air Traffic Control Association’s Blue Skies Initiative, the Virginia Maritime Association, a past Co-Chair of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Chamber Technology Engagement Center (C_TEC).

Peter Sachs
UTM Implementation Program Manager
FAA UAS Integration Office

Peter Sachs is a program manager in a new FAA office focused on UTM implementation, where he is pulling together the policies, standards, new regulations, and technical aspects to make UTM a reality. Peter started his career as a city hall and higher education reporter in Oregon and Chicago, before making the jump to air traffic. He was a front-line controller in the Chicago area and at SFO Tower, where he lead that facility’s STARS radar transition, evaluation of electronic flight strips, and internal quality assurance. Following the deployment of LAANC, he became interested in UTM and made the jump to Airbus UTM for three years, where he worked on UTM architecture and risk assessment services.

Salsa
Captain, U.S. Air Force
Chief of Artificial Intelligence, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Artificial Intelligence Accelerator

Capt Victor “SALSA” Lopez is an airman assigned to the Department of the Air Force and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Artificial Intelligence Accelerator. He received his undergraduate degree in Astronautical Engineering from the United States Air Force Academy and a graduate degree in Systems Engineering from Georgia Tech. SALSA is a distinguished graduate of his pilot training class and an MQ-9 Instructor Pilot. He has accrued nearly 2,000 combat hours over the last four years. At the Accelerator, SALSA works with Sertac’s lab to bridge the gap between research and operational challenges for search and rescue applications while making AI real for air and space professionals.

Paige Scott Reed
Partner, Unmanned and Autonomous Systems Practice
Prince Lobel Tye LLP

Paige Scott Reed is an experienced transportation and employment attorney whose transactional, litigation, regulatory, administrative, and procurement work has served her clients well for over 20 years. She has worked as general counsel for the Mass. Department of Transportation and the MBTA and also served as Corporate Secretary and General Counsel to the Boston 2024 Partnership for the city’s Olympic bid. Paige has assisted government and private organizations, CEOs, and Boards of Directors with commercial contracts, development transactions, and public projects. She was instrumental in procuring a new operator for the MBTA’s commuter rail, forming a public-private partnership to redevelop Back Bay Station, implementing the MBTA’s Construction Manager/General Contractor project delivery approach, and securing $1 billion in federal funding for the Green Line Extension project. Paige has also defended government organizations against class actions charging racial discrimination in hiring practices. Paige leads the firm’s unmanned and autonomous systems practice. She is a strategic advisor to the Commonwealth UAS Integration Program and guides MassDOT’s efforts to utilize drones to advance its transportation mission. Paige is active in the community, serving as the Immediate Past President of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association and Vice-President for the Harvard Law School Association of Massachusetts. Paige also serves on the Court Management Advisory Board, the Board of the Boston Bar Foundation, and the Board of Boston Harbor Now. Paige recently chaired the finance committee for Rachael Rollins historic campaign, helping to elect the first black woman to serve as District Attorney for Suffolk County. She received her A.B. from Harvard College and her J.D. from Harvard Law School, where she was an Executive Editor of the Harvard Law Review.

Mr. Frank J. Serna
Principal Director, Strategic Initiatives
Draper

Frank is a Principal Director currently working in Strategic Systems on emerging Air Force programs. Frank has served in many roles at Draper including a role to identify innovative solutions to the challenge of Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) in the National Air Space (NAS) and highly automated vehicles in ground transportation. Previously he was Director of Systems Engineering at Draper. In addition, he is a Founder, past President (2013 to 2015) and Board member of the New England Chapter of the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), and a past Chair of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) Systems Engineering Division. He is a board member of the Northeast Unmanned Air Systems Research Alliance (NUAIR), the FAA-approved entity that manages the New York/Massachusetts Unmanned Air Systems test sites. He serves on the National Academies Panel on Ballistics Science and Engineering, his fifth appointment to a panel of the Army Research Lab, Technical Activities Board. He has served on four panels of the Defense Science Board (DSB) including most recently, the panel on Next-Generation Unmanned Undersea Systems. Mr. Serna holds degrees from Yale University and Northeastern University.

 

Hanumant Singh
Professor
Kostas Research Institute at Northeastern University

Hanumant Singh is a Professor at Northeastern University. He received his Ph.D. from the MIT WHOI Joint Program in 1995 after which he worked on the Staff at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution until 2016 when he joined Northeastern. His group has designed and built the Seabed AUV, as well as the Jetyak Autonomous Surface Vehicle, dozens of which are in use for scientific and academic research across the globe. He also has strong interests in the development and use of small Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). He has participated in 60 expeditions in all of the world’s oceans in support of Marine Geology, Marine Biology, Deep Water Archaeology, Chemical Oceanography, Polar Studies, and Coral Reef Ecology. In collaboration with his students, his awards include the ICRA Best Student Paper Award, the Sung Fu Memorial Best IEEE Transactions on Robotics Paper Award, and Best Paper Awards at the Oceans Conference and at AGU.

Elizabeth Soltys
FAA’s UAS Security Program Advisor to the Deputy Associate Administrator for Security and Hazardous (ASH) Materials Safety
FAA Security and Hazardous Materials Safety

Elizabeth Soltys serves as FAA’s unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) Security Program Advisor to the Deputy Associate Administrator for Security and Hazardous (ASH) Materials Safety. Prior to taking this position, Elizabeth was on detail to ASH was charged with standing up and managing ASH’s UAS Security Division. She ensures ASH has a UAS strategic vision that accounts for the expanse of this rapidly growing technology. For years, Elizabeth has developed policy recommendations and represented the FAA at, or prepared others for congressional hearings or forums. She has extensive knowledge of acquisition, budget, finance, costs accounting, security, and engineering.

During her thirty-year career with the FAA, Elizabeth has had the opportunity to lead personnel, programs, and projects affiliated with planning, research & development, test & evaluation, and deployment. She has managed intra- and interagency activities and has longstanding relationships with academia; federal, state, local & tribal governments; as well as with industry: large and small companies, and not-for-profit organizations. Additionally, she has managed domestic and foreign public-policy issues. Elizabeth came to ASH from the FAA’s UAS Integration Office, where she was one of the first selectees to help stand up this office. She has served as the FAA’s focal point, relative to UAS security, including counter UAS (C-UAS) “mitigation systems” issues since 2015. The UAS Security Division oversees coordination, with partner agencies for UAS integration. Elizabeth has been an active participant in the 10-month National Security Council (NSC) led-interagency process to develop the Concept of Operations for the “Unified National-Level Response to Persistent UAS Disruption of Operations at Core 30 Airports” (Core 30 CONOPS).

Ralph Stoffler
Senior Systems Architect
Raytheon Technologies

Mr. Stoffler is an operational Meteorologist with over 40 years of experience. He successfully served 30 years in the United States Air Force supporting helicopters, RPAs, UAVs, bombers, fighters, cargo, and surveillance aircraft. Highlights of his career include supporting the Air Force cargo mission across the Pacific, all Air Force weather operations in Europe and Africa, and a certified training instructor for Undergraduate Pilot Training in weather. Mr. Stoffler also directly supported the United States Army with the 2nd Armored Cavalry and United States Army Europe. He spent a significant time working with NATO and coalition partners of the United States. He received an honorary award from the Czech weather service. Mr. Stoffler retired with the rank of Colonel.

Mr. Stoffler worked an additional 10 years as a civilian in the DoD joining the Senior Executive Service. He served as the Director of Weather for the Air Force overseeing 4000 personnel, a 2.2 billion dollar budget, a training schoolhouse, and a number of acquisition programs. He had the opportunity to visit the South Pole to improve aviation safety in the Antarctica region and was part of a critical Artic evaluation team in Greenland and Northern Alaska. Mr. Stoffler retired from the DoD in 2020. 

Mr. Stoffler is currently employed by Raytheon Technologies as a Senior Solutions Architect with a focus on the weather mission. 

He has a BS in Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma and an MS in Systems Management from USC. Mr. Stoffler is married to the former Waltraud Frank and has two sons, Michael and Christopher. 

Billy Thalheimer
Aviation Consultant

Billy is an aerospace business leader and multidisciplinary engineer with expertise spanning aviation entrepreneurship and novel aircraft development.

At Aurora Flight Sciences, Billy led execution and BD for next-gen aircraft programs. Holding a BS/MS from MIT in aerospace engineering, he also led flight physics modeling for Boeing's electric air taxi and authored their custom aircraft design code.

As a passionate aerospace nerd, Billy spends his free time competing as an aerobatic pilot.

Scott Uebelhart, PhD
Chief Scientist
MassDOT Drone Program

Scott A. Uebelhart, Ph.D. joined the Aeronautics Division of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) in 2017 as Chief Scientist of the Drone Program. In this capacity, Dr. Uebelhart guides strategy and planning for the adoption of drone technologies at MassDOT and connects with government and industry leaders across the Commonwealth to help drive air vehicle innovation. He has built a team of technologists, analysts, and UAS operators who are demonstrating how UAS can provide useful, actionable information to state agencies and who are exploring how the state can support expanded air operations. Prior to this, Dr. Uebelhart worked in a technology startup and served on the technical staff at MIT Lincoln Laboratory where he conducted systems analysis of U.S. space architectures for the Air Force. Dr. Uebelhart served as a postdoctoral associate with MIT's Program in Science, Technology and Society where he helped establish the cross-disciplinary Space, Policy, and Society research group, applied technical expertise to human spaceflight policy, and briefed senior Congressional and NASA leaders. Scott earned his S.B., S.M., and Ph.D. from the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics in the area of structural dynamics and control.

Dr. Thomas Vaneck
Vice President and Managing Director
AeroVironment Innovation Center – New England

Thomas (Tom) Vaneck joined AeroVironment in 2019 to stand up the Innovation Center – New England, where he leads AV’s engineering and product development activities for the greater New England area, focused primarily on small, multi-rotor UAVs. Since joining, he has also helped to create and now leads an internal early-stage business development activity that aims to focus and mature new market entry strategies.

Tom has broad robotics experience (underwater, air, and space), with particular expertise in miniaturization and biomimetics. Prior to joining AeroVironment, Tom co-founded and led InstantEye Robotics, a division of Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI), as the Vice President of Disruptive Technologies. Prior to PSI, Tom was the Vice President of Research and Development at Aurora Flight Sciences, where he stood up and ran the Research and Development Center, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

Tom earned a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering (focused on controls engineering) from Stanford University; A Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering, a Master of Arts degree in Mathematics, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering, all from Penn State University. Tom was also a Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT in the Aerospace Engineering Department and the Sea Grant College Program.

Jarret Wright
Deputy Director
Corporate Security and Emergency Preparedness at Massachusetts Port Authority 

Jarret Wright is a trusted advisor with nearly 20 years of national security experience, providing policy development, cyber and physical threat analysis, and risk mitigation strategies for customers at the White House, Congress, the Intelligence Community, U.S. military, and private sector. As the Deputy Director for Corporate Security and Emergency Preparedness at the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), Jarret leads a team of security and emergency management professionals protecting New England's most critical aviation and maritime transportation nodes from physical and cyber threats.

Prior to joining Massport, Jarret worked at DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, advising senior state and local government leaders and critical infrastructure agencies on crisis management, active shooter response planning, terrorism, physical security, and cyber threats. As a Senior Analyst at the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), Jarret authored dozens of strategic assessments on the threat posed by international terrorist organizations and served as the Domestic Representative for the Director of NCTC in New England. Jarret proudly served in the U.S. Navy as an Intelligence Officer, deploying in support of operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Horn of Africa. Jarret has also worked as a Legislative Aide in the Office of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, covering foreign policy, military policy, and veterans’ affairs.

Jarret holds an MS in Cybersecurity Policy and Governance and a BA in History, both from Boston College.


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