2019 Advisory Board Members

Marla Akridge
Executive Director

Marla Akridgeis the Executive Director of the Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation. Her focus is the recruitment of new businesses and building an entrepreneurial ecosystem that will help transform the local economy. She has led a team of stakeholdersto establish the Alleghany Highlands Drone Zone (AHDZ) which will offer spaces for UAS testing, research and development for businesses & institutions, and recreational events. In 2018, she wrote an Appalachian Regional Commission planning grant for a study of the Drone Zone which outlined steps to move the project forward. Presently the AHDZ has four businesses that our collaborating.Over the past three years, the AHDZ has hosted drone races that attracted 325 pilots from 12 states.
Marla brings over 20 years of experience with economic development organizations and Chambers of Commerce and is skilled at securing local, state and federal grants.

1000 Dabney Drive, Suite 658
Clifton Forge, VA 24422
Cell Phone:540.968.2325 Phone:540.862.0936

Andrew (Andy) Alden, MS, PE
Executive Director –Interstate 81 Corridor Coalition | Group Leader –Eco-Transportation and Alternative Technologies

Andy Alden serves as the Executive Director of the Interstate 81 Corridor Coalition and leads the Eco-Transportation and Alternative Systems Research Group at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.He is a registered professional engineer who has worked in the environmental and information technology fields, and in the development and deployment of vehicle data acquisition systems and related naturalistic research methods.His current focus is advancing safe and sustainable transportation through the application of emerging and alternative technologies.Recent research has focused on automated “last mile” shuttles, road weather safety, bus transit efficiency, animal-vehicle conflict, applied road salt impacts, and the use of unmanned aerial systems in support of surface transportation

Virginia Tech Transportation Institute



540-231-1526 (o) 540-553-5264 (m)

Joe Allman

Allman is President and Chief Executive Officer of UAV Pro Inc., Blackstone, Virginia, where he manages unmanned test operations locally as well as nationwide.He holds a B.S. degree from Oklahoma State University.He is a manned aviator and has obtained unmanned internal pilot, external pilot, and crew chief certifications.During his tenure with UAV Pro he has been the principle safety director and/or UAS SME for multiple DoD and commercial UAS operations.He provides local safety oversight for the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership’s Blackstone Test Site with 2200 sorties of the last three years.He has provided or is currently providing program management for UAS target presentations both aerial and ground based for the Navy, Airforce, DARPA, NASA, Marine Corp, and the Army.His wealth of varied experiences affords him a seasoned approach to new systems development, integration and testing.

W 434 292-4914 ext201
M 434-607-3243

David Barton

Full Motion Video (FMV), and Software Development. He is a proven innovator that forever changed how the Department of Defense (DoD) utilizes Unmanned Systems Video using software developed by his start-up company. At Draper Aden Associates (DAA), he is the Director of the Aerial Services and is solely responsible for the company’s Unmanned Systems strategy, implementation and revenue. Mr. Barton also serves as the Chief Pilot, responsible for the aerial/drone program at DAA.
Mr. Barton is proven leader and innovator with UAS. He began his work with UAS when he co-founded a company called EchoStormin early 2001 where he served as President, CTO and Chairman of the Board. At EchoStorm, Mr. Barton envisioned a system that would provide the DoD the first net-centric Services Based Architecture for unmanned systems discoverability and accessibility. Ultimately EchoStormwas charged with making the vision a reality and Mr. Barton ensured EchoStormdelivered on the challenge. At EchoStormhe closely supported the Federal Government on Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) payloads and data for customers in the U.S. Army PMUAS, U.S. Air Force, Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Mr. Barton’s work disrupted and changed how Full Motion Video (FMV) from UAS was accessed and disseminated by validating the need and value of situational awareness quality FMV for frontline troops. Mr. Barton supported operations domestically, including Customs and Border Patrol Predator UAS damage assessment operations for DHS after Hurricane Ike. In December 2010 EchoStormwas acquired by ITT which is now owned by Harris and the EchoStormdeveloped software is operationally in many systems worldwide.
After EchoStorm, Mr. Barton continued to support the Intelligence Community as lead for a U.S. Government lab challenged with solving long term technical challenges for the U.S. Intelligence Community. In this capacity he was recognized as having a significant impact with Data Science and Compartmented Data Sharing challenges using novel solutions.

Aerial Services Chief Pilot

Draper Aden Associates


Mobile: 757.478.2836

Mark Blanks
Director of the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership at Virginia Tech

Mark Blanks is the director of the Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP) where he leads both an FAA-designated drone test site and drone Integration Pilot Program (IPP). He has built successful drone research programs at multiple universities, leveraging his extensive background in aircraft maintenance, flight test, and certification. Mr. Blanks joined Virginia Tech in August 2015, and has guided MAAP through remarkable growth while overseeing and expanding a substantial portfolio of operations and research. He plays an active role in policy and advocacy, serving on multiple unmanned systems-related boards and committees. Mr. Blanks is an instrument-rated pilot and aircraft mechanic.

Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA
540.231.5108 (office)
615.400.0064 (mobile)

Mike Fry
Vice President, Strategy and Business Development

Mike is Vice President of Strategy and Business Development for Maritime Systems at QinetiQ North America.Mike is responsible for developing maritime systems strategies for the company along with the business development functions and customer relations.Joining QinetiQ North America in January 2018, he has over 34 years’ experience in submarine design, construction, and repair; design and build of manned and unmanned submersibles; specialized maritime mission systems; and maritime business development functions.

QinetiQ North America
350 Second Avenue
Waltham, MA 02451


Mobile: 571.358.4635


Jon Greene
Associate Director, Strategic Development

Jon Greene joined Virginia Tech in September 2009 after a 28 year Navy career. While on active duty he served as

  • Commanding Officer of USS MCINERNEY (FFG-8)
  • Reactor Officer in USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN-71),
  • Assistant Chief of Staff, C4ISR and Combat Systems, Commander Naval Surface Forces Atlantic, and most recently, as Commanding Officer of Naval Surface Warfare Center Dam Neck.

He joined Virginia Tech as a Program Manager for the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS), and now serves as ICTAS Associate Director for Strategic Development and the Technical Director of the Center for Naval Systems. He was the founding executive director of the Mid Atlantic Aviation Partnership, Virginia Tech’s FAA sponsored UAS Test Site.

Jon focuses on

  • assisting faculty members to develop research opportunities,
  • building interdisciplinary research teams,
  • developing the business practices that permit the university to successfully execute contract research andbridging the cultural chasm between the Department of Defense, Industry and the university

Greene and his wife, Elise, have four daughters. He enjoys fishing, gardening, and spending time with his family.

Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science
Virginia Tech


(O) 540-231-8566

(M) 540-553-5846

Dave Hinton
Strategic Integration Lead

Dave Hinton has 42 years of experience in conducting and leading research in aviation operations, safety, and air traffic control issues.He has focused on autonomous systems and unmanned vehicles for the past 7 years and led development of a strategic direction for the center in autonomous systems.Mr. Hinton served the Virginia Office of the Secretary of Technology in 2015-2016 under an Interagency Personnel Act (IPA) assignment, where he served as Special Advisor for Unmanned Systems and as the Executive Director of the Governor’s Unmanned System Commission.Mr. Hinton is currently the Strategic Integration Lead for Langley and assisting Langley’s support for regional strategic alliances in the unmanned systems domain.

Office of Strategic Analysis, Communications, and Business Development
NASA Langley Research Center
Desk: (757) 864-2040
Cell:(757) 771-4631

David K. Hofert

President of Sales for PerroneRobotics, Inc.(PRI) and has been in the role since January of 2017.Dave has developed new business for PRI in automotive, industrial, military, logistics, and Forestry sectors. He previously held Software development and management roles as well as Marketing and Businessmanagement roles at Sun Microsystems, Fidelity Investments, Nokia, and Oracle. Dave earned his Executive MBA from Boston Universityin 2000.

In 2005 Dave first became involved with Perrone Robotics when he organized funding for PRI to participate in two DARPA Grand Challenges and several JavaOne conference keynotes. More recently from 2011 through 2016, Dave was the worldwide Sr. Director of Business Development for IoT within the Java Embedded Sales organization at Oracle.


M: +1.617.678.1564

5625 The Square, Crozet, VA 22932



Amber L. Hulsey, Ph.D., IACE, ASC
Manager, Aviation Technology

Dr. Amber Lee Hulsey is the Manager of Aviation Technology for the Virginia Department of Aviation. Dr. Hulsey completed her Ph.D. in International Development from The University of Southern Mississippi. She completed her Bachelor's Degree in Airport Management and Master's degree in Aerospace, specifically Aviation Safety and Security Management from Middle Tennessee State University. Her current research focuses on Unmanned Aircraft Systems, aviation role in human trafficking and aviation safety. Dr. Hulsey has numerous publications, received over a dozen grants, has collected primary data in the field domestically and internationally, and is a member of various organizations.

Virginia Department of Aviation

5702 Gulfstream Road
Richmond, VA 23250


Marty Kaszubowski
Executive Director for Innovation Initiatives

Marty Kaszubowskiis Executive Director for Innovation Initiatives within Old Dominion University’s newly-created Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. He has over 35 years of experience as an engineer, analyst, entrepreneur, and investor, and holds a BS in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan and an MS in Technology Management from the George Washington University.

Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (IIE)

Old Dominion University (ODU)
+1 757.376.7828


Jack Kennedy
Attorney-Advocate for the Virginia Aviation Board (Region 1/ Central Appalachian Mountains/SxSW)

Jack Kennedy is a Virginia licensed attorney-advocate, presently serving on the Virginia Aviation Board (Region 1/ Central Appalachian Mountains/SxSW).  

Jack holds a Master of Science in Space Law and Policy from the University of North Dakota; a Master of Arts in Political Science from East Tennessee State University; and, two undergraduate degrees in business and organizational management.  He has had an international avocational interest in the commercial aerospace industry technologies for better than two decades, whilst professionally creating the most-intensified information technology-driven county constitutional office in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and his simultaneously maintaining a law license in good standing since 1982 qualified to practice in multiple state and federal courts.

Jack has served as gubernatorial appointees to the Virginia Geographic Information Network Advisory Board; the Virginia Aerospace Advisory Board; the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority Board; and, as a policy consultant to the Virginia Unmanned Systems Commission. He has served on the Challenger Center for Science Education Advisory Board;  he was named 'An Advocate' of the Space Frontier Foundation; and, he is a mentor for aerospace, aviation and satellite remote sensing education, in association with the NASA Langley Research Center and Virginia's NASA Space Grant Consortium - all in this 21st century. Jack was a co-founder and past board chair of the Southwestern Virginia Technology Council; and he today serves as a advisor to its board. 

He was first elected to the state legislature in 1987, serving in the House of Delegates, and later in the State Senate. In 1995, he was elected the Clerk of Circuit Court for Wise County & Norton City. He has been re-elected three times in the 21st century, leading to nearly three decades of public service to Virginians.  In addition, Jack has been involved in various entrepreneurial ventures in mineral extraction, resource development, banking and technology start-ups.  

Jack, and his wife Janette, reside on Main Street in Wise, VA, w/a second home at Cape Canaveral, FL specifically to interact with the commercial, civil and military space launch community as active members of the National Space Club of Florida.

Wise, Virginia 24293-3444
Cell: (276) 275.4700

Kimberly Read
External Relations Manager, Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority

Kimberly Read is the External Relations Manager for the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (Virginia Space) and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), located at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility. Kimberly oversees public affairs, legislative affairs, corporate communications and marketing for Virginia Space. Joining the Authority in 2012, Kim has built a strong political network with the General Assembly in Richmond and with Commonwealth agencies. She has solidified both media and public relations processes, communication. and strategic planning for Virginia Space in coordination with NASA and MARS customers. Kim holds a bachelor’s degree in business marketing from the College of William & Mary.

4111 Monarch Way, Suite 303

Norfolk, VA 23508

Office:(757) 440-4020
Cell:(757) 894-9272
Fax:(757) 440-4023

Scott Strimple

As a Captain and FAA Check Airman evaluator for United Airlines, Scott Strimple’sextensive leadership and subject matter expertise in flight training bring an industry leading perspective to the world of unmanned flight.He holds all FAA flight instructing certifications and has served as the committee chair for the ASTM F38 sUApilot training sub-committee working closely with the FAA developing international standards for the unmanned aviation industry.Scott has more than 27000 flight hours in manned aircraft as well as more than 40 years of operational small unmanned aircraft experience.Scott’s leadership & experience in unmanned aviation was recognized by VA Governor Terry McAuliffe when he was appointed to the Governor’s Unmanned Systems Commission in 2015.He was appointed to the Virginia Aviation Business Association board of directors as the chairperson for the VABA unmanned aircraft chapter.As an industry leader, he is a frequently quoted SME and contributes written material for several media resources as well as being a guest speaker at many industry events on the importance of meaningful training and developing operational proficiency and professional standards to assure a safe unmanned aircraft operation.Scott facilitates hands on sUAflight training workshops across the country under his industry leading “The Drone Flight School” brand and has provided training to thousands of remote pilot candidates as well as course curriculum for multiple industry education providers.He is a principle in Virginia UAS, a consulting firm that specializes in establishing safety management systems and flight training programs in the UA environment as well as establishing a professional association for VA remote pilots.He is an active AUVSI member participating as a lead with the recent Trusted Operator Program and is a senior flight instructor with the Unmanned Vehicle University.Scott is a multi Emmy award winning filmmaker who was not only an early adopter of unmanned aerial cinema technology, but is also a highly respected evangelist for safe sUAoperations within the photo and cinema industry.
Scott’s leadership and unique ability to blend the best practices from manned aviation with those of unmanned aviation provide him with the exclusive ability to offer industry leading education to those entities and individuals seeking to deploy unmanned aircraft.He is passionate about instilling a healthy safety culture into the world of unmanned flight and contributes a vast amount of experience from lessons learned in manned aviation.

Virginia UAS

Knowledge, Training and Experience



Dominic “Nick” Swayne
Executive Director

Nick Swayne is the Executive Director of 4-Virginia, the 4-VA Campus Coordinator at JMU, and faculty in Learning Technology and Leadership Education at James Madison University. In his capacity as Executive Director, he leads the collaboration of the six partner institutions (GMU, JMU, UVA, ODU, VT, VCU) in meeting the mission to promote collaborations that leverage the strengths of each partner university and improve the efficiency and economic impact of higher education across the Commonwealth. He is a retired Army officer with 26 years of service, the founder of the JMU X-Labs, faculty advisor for the University Innovation Fellows, the Executive Director of Virginia-DC FIRST LEGO League, co-chair of the Veteran Scholar’s Task Force, co-founder of the Harrisonburg Regional Veterans Collaborative, a doctoral candidate in the School of Strategic Leadership (ABD), and is serving in his third term on the Harrisonburg City School Board.

4-VirginiaFounder, JMU X-Labs

Tom Walker
Chief Executive Officer

Tom is the founder and CEO of DroneUp. A former military officer, Tom is a recognized pioneer in military and government digital reform, having managed the extensive programming and web enablement of computer systems to support both the U.S. and International Special Forces. As a result of his thesis, The Point of Mobile Confluence, Tom was tapped as an advisor to the White House on innovative technologies and their impact on the emerging workforce. The data from the research, combined with his military search and rescue experience, led to the creation of DroneUp.

DroneUp is a comprehensive network of drone pilots, providing aerial data collection services. DroneUp delivers on-demand drone services to commercial, government, and public safety organizations through its's patent-pending verification platform, Mission Match™️. With a variety of industrial uses, DroneUp is poised to assist with sustainable drone integration strategies for diverse organizations.

O757.337.2125, ext. 701


DroneUp | droneup.com

160 Newtown Road, Suite 302Virginia Beach, VA 23462

Charles Werner

Charles Werner is the retired Charlottesville VA fire chief and a 44 year veteran of public safety. After retiring in 2015, Charles worked with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) from 2015 to 2017 as senior advisor and acting deputy state coordinator. Charles has served in leadership roles at the local, state and national levels on the topics of public safety interoperable communications, GIS, broadband, information sharing, thermal imaging technology, enhanced location technology, FirstNetand drones. In 2016, Charles became an FAA Certified Part 107 remote pilot.He was instrumental in developing one of the first public safety UAS curriculum at Piedmont VA Community College and assisted in the implementation of UAS programs for the Albemarle County VA Sheriffs Office, VDEM and provided guidance to many other public safety agencies. Charles served as the first chair of the National Fire Protection Association Technical Committee on Public Safety UAS Standards.He organized and serves as present Chair of the National Council on Public Safety UAS (30 national public safety organizations), serves on two Virginia UAS Work Groups and serves on the boards of two European public safety UAS organizations. Charles is a contributor to Firehouse Magazine, Domestic Preparedness Magazine, Urgent Communications, Emergency Management Magazine, sUASNews, Homeland Security News, Crisis Response Journal with over 120 internationally published articles. In 2018, he was selected as Homeland Security Person of the Year by Homeland Security Today Magazine for his work on public safety UAS.

Todd M. Yeatts
Senior Manager | Government Operations

Todd Yeattsis the Senior Manager for Government Operations in the Eastern Region with special emphasis on four primary states: Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio.
He joined Boeing in 2007 following a 19-month assignment in Iraq as Director of Strategic Communications for an Information Operations-Counter Improvised Explosive Device team based in Baghdad, Iraq.
Yeattsis a retired, 25-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
In addition to his military service, he has worked in state government as the Director of Communications for the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission and served as Military Aide-de-Camp for three Virginia Governors, Mark Warner, Tim Kaineand Bob McDonnell.
His local government experience includes working as the Assistant City Manager for the City of Danville, Virginia where he initially served as the Director of Legislative and Public Affairs.
Yeattsserves on a variety of boards and commissions including the Virginia Aerospace Advisory Council, the GO Virginia Region 7 Economic Development Council, the AverettUniversity Board of Trustees, the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Arlington’s Long Bridge Park Advisory Committee, the Arlington Military and Veteran Affairs Committee, Crystal City Business Improvement District and is the past Chair of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce.
He and his wife Cindy reside in Arlington and have two daughters and a son in college and two sons attending Arlington Public Schools.

The Boeing Company

Office703 414 6167

Mobile703 347 3241