The Virginia Unmanned Systems Center (VUS) at the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT), which serves as the primary information resource and growth catalyst for unmanned systems (UMS) in Virginia, has established a Board of Advisors to support rapid market expansion. The 24-member advisory board brings together expertise and leadership from across the Commonwealth to guide strategies and priorities within the four domains of the unmanned systems market: land, sea, air, and space.
“Our mission at CIT is to grow the unmanned systems customer base in Virginia and, thereby, grow the industry. We are very grateful for the commitment of our advisors, who are leaders from Commonwealth businesses, universities, and economic development organizations – they are a great representation of Virginia’s unmanned systems ecosystem,” said Tracy Tynan, Director, VUS at CIT. “We have several significant initiatives and opportunities already underway and we look forward to working with the advisory board to fine tune and move these initiatives forward most effectively.”
Responsible for developing an entrepreneurial culture, economic growth, and overall leadership for the Commonwealth regarding Autonomous Systems, the Center is working with several Virginia state agencies to develop pilot projects that include the use of unmanned systems to accomplish agency missions faster, cheaper and safer. Through their extensive public and private sector experience, the Board of Advisors will be key to understanding the challenges and proposing innovative, UMS-based solutions in areas such as public safety, transportation, emergency services, energy and others. In turn, Virginia will continue to lead by example as a showcase for innovation.
“I’m excited about this opportunity to serve the Commonwealth in this important initiative,” said Todd Yeatts, Senior Manager, Government Operations at The Boeing Company. “I believe unmanned systems and autonomy will be a key driver for the future of aerospace innovation. And, just like the Commonwealth, Boeing’s interest extends from “seabed-to-space”. I look forward to sharing my experience and learning from others on the Advisory Board.”
“We are eager to be a part of the new Unmanned Systems Center Advisory Board, and commend CIT for creating a forum that will promote collaborations between the private sector and Virginia’s increasingly innovative and entrepreneurial universities,” said Marty Kaszubowski, Executive Director of Innovation Initiatives at Old Dominion University’s Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. “We believe this has tremendous potential to expand research and commercialization throughout the Commonwealth and look forward to helping grow Virginia’s brand as the premier place to do business in all aspects of the emerging unmanned systems industry.”
Ed Albrigo, President and CEO of CIT, added, “We are thrilled to have this group of advisors on board for what I know will be a rewarding journey. The vast range of industry expertise that was attracted to taking a seat at our table is a testament to the momentum we have been able to establish and ultimately what we will be capable to accomplish together. CIT has our sights set on making Virginia the leading state for unmanned systems, and the support of trailblazers from all corners of the industry will undoubtedly help us to make this vision a reality.”
Virginia is a part of an exclusive group of only nine states in the country that have successfully established unmanned system protocols and designated testing facilities that meet the approval standards of the DOT and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This U.S. Department of Transportation Unmanned Aerial Systems Integration Pilot Program (IPP) designation assures Virginia’s participation in the development of unmanned technologies and the necessary safety protocols for the National Airspace System for many years to come.
The Virginia Unmanned Systems Center Advisory Board met for the first time on March 28, 2019. To see a full list of all members, please visit https://www.vus.virginia.gov/ums-advisory-board/.