UAS Conference in Cape May County New Jersey Features Innovation in Drones and Robotics
Breaking News … CMC UAS Working Groups go forward with missions in Energy/Utilities, Maritime, Emergency Management & C-UAS - Learn More

Mark Aitken is Director of Government Relations for the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), having joined the organization in November of 2014. He is legislative and policy lead for all issues at the federal level, with a focus on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).  Before joining AUVSI, Mark spent a combined 10 years on Capitol Hill and in the defense industry.  Most recently, he was Legislative Director to Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02), where he handled the Congressman’s Aviation Subcommittee portfolio and UAS policy initiatives. Throughout his tenure with Rep. LoBiondo, he also had responsibility for many other legislative issues, including the Congressman’s work on the House Armed Services Committee, appropriations, and foreign affairs.


Jennifer Ambrose has over ten years of experience as an attorney for the Federal Aviation Administration and is currently the Team Lead for UAS Regulatory Policy and Outreach for the FAA’s Office of Chief Counsel.  Prior to holding this position, Ms. Ambrose served as a Program Manager in the FAA’s UAS Integration Office where she project managed the FAA’s Strategic Plan to Integrate UAS into the National Airspace System and the initial draft of its Implementation Plan. Ms. Ambrose holds a Juris Doctor and a Masters in International Affairs from the American University Washington College of Law and School of International Service. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Desiree (Desi) Matel-Anderson is the Field Innovation Team’s (FIT) Chief Wrangler and a former Chief Innovation Advisor at FEMA.  FIT’s mission is to empower humans to create cutting-edge disaster solutions.  It has deployed to disasters in multiple locations, assisting in the creation of innovative methods such as building cellular connectivity heat maps after tornadoes touched down, using drones to assess damage in mudslides, creating 3D printed topography maps, utilizing art colonies in a border crisis, and building out evacuation routes combined with virtual reality capture in a refugee crisis.  Desi has a J.D. from Northern Illinois University, attended the National Preparedness Leadership Institute at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and School of Public Health, and served on Harvard’s Executive Education on National Preparedness Leadership Institute Advisory Board.


Professor F. Javier Diez is head of the Applied Fluids Lab and a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Rutgers University. He is an author of over 100 journal articles, conference papers, and technical publications. He received his PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan and his MS and BS from Saint Louis University. His research in unmanned vehicles, electric propulsion, fire safety in aviation and imaging and sensing techniques is currently being funded by the National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research, and Federal Aviation Administration among others. He is founder and CEO of SubUAS LLC, which is commercializing “the Naviator,” invented in his laboratory: the first unmanned vehicle capable of operating in air and underwater with seamless transition.

Karen DiMeo is Senior Technical UAS Advisor, Office of the Deputy Administrator, FAA. She provides technical expertise and support to the FAA UAS Senior Executive responsible for oversight of strategic plans for the agency’s enterprise-level UAS initiatives, integration progress, and scientific and research activities. As part of her current role in the agency, she creates and maintains liaison with top officials of special interest groups and key external stakeholders including the Department of Transportation, Executive Branch agencies, Congress, and the aviation industry. Previously, she spent 25 years conducting applied research at the FAA Technical Center in New Jersey, supporting the FAA mission of maintaining safe air travel in the United States. For the last ten years, she focused her professional passion solely on the integration of UAS into the National Airspace System.


Jeffrey Doran is a retired Police Captain from the Brigantine, N.J., Police Department and is presently Senior Project Manager for Mutualink, Inc., a Wallingford, Ct., based company that provides secure and encrypted multimedia information sharing between First Responders and the private sector.  Mutualink specializes in pushing two-way radio, data and video originating on UAS platforms to Law Enforcement Agencies, Emergency Management Centers, and directly to First Responders’ smart devices, including cell phones, tablets and laptops. Mutualink assisted in connecting UAS to the public safety community during the recovery phase of Hurricane Irma in Florida, as well as proving the value of UAS in a full-scale active shooters exercise recently conducted in Orlando.  Doran is a full time resident of Cape May County.

Nate Ernst is the founder and President of Sky Scape Industries (SSI), a drone technology solutions company specializing in the integration of drone technology and critical infrastructure.  SSI uses advanced drone systems and sensor technology to inspect, identify, and deliver actionable data in both the visible and non-visible spectrum.  SSI drone services help clients increase safety and reduce risk, streamline inefficiencies and produce better data, effect cost savings, and push daily boundaries ranging from routine operations to emergency events.  A Cape May County native, Nate headquartered his business in central Jersey but is eyeing a possible return to his home County.  He actively advocates for integration of UAS into NAS, appearing most recently before a State Senate subcommittee considering economic incentives to encourage UAS-related businesses to settle in Southern New Jersey.


Matt Fanelli is Director for Strategy at Skyward, A Verizon company.  In this role, he leads the company's policy and regulatory efforts by working with the FAA on the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) and on the recent Remote Identification and Tracking ARC as well as serving on numerous UAS committees.  Prior to his work on the regulatory front, Matt was General Counsel for Skyward and managed all commercial partnerships.  He holds bar memberships in Washington and Oregon, and is an active recreational UAS pilot.

As FAA Senior Advisor on UAS, Major General Marke F. (“Hoot”) Gibson, USAF (ret.), is responsible for providing executive direction and high level leadership to the FAA with oversight responsibility for work related to UAS.  Before joining the FAA, Gibson served as Executive Director of the NextGen Institute (NGI), and before that, as President and CEO of a highly successful aerospace consulting practice in Colorado.  He retired in 2011 as the Air Force’s Director of Current Operations and Training.  He earned a B.A. in Economics and Management from the United States Air Force Academy, an M.A. in Business Administration from the University of Northern Colorado, and an M.A. in National Security Affairs from the National War College.  He completed a national security fellowship with Syracuse University and trained in lean six-sigma management through the University of Tennessee.


Casey Halverson is Chief Operating Officer and founder of Cellular Tracking Technologies, which designs and manufactures cutting-edge telemetry devices that track wildlife (including eagles, condors, and many endangered species) using GPS, sensors, and the cellular network -- all aided by using solar power.  He established his strong technology background as a principle technical architect with AT&T in Seattle, integrating new devices into wider developing networks.  Casey and a tech partner founded Cellular Tracking Technologies in Pennsylvania, but moved their HQ to Cape May County to enjoy the quality of life here.  Viewing UAS as a natural growth opportunity, the company currently is developing a technology that makes use of a UAV aerial communications platform to control critical infrastructure and provide real time tactical information to first responders in a communication-denied environment.

Walter Holemans is a mechanical engineer specializing in design of remote sensor systems including spacecraft and marine robots.  He is founder and Chief Engineer of Marine Robotics LLC.  His career and interest in marine robotics began with antisubmarine warfare buoys in 1989.  His perennial goal is to field an autonomous sailing robotic boat fleet in support of marine observation needs.


Sergeant First Class Ronald (Ron) Leach is a 22-year veteran of the New Jersey State Police.   He developed an extensive aviation background during a career spanning over 14 years within the New Jersey State Police Aviation Bureau.  He holds several FAA Pilot Ratings ranging from Airline Transport Pilot to Private Pilot.  Tasked with developing a direction for the New Jersey State Police to explore the use of UAS technology as well as counter-UAS technology, Ron now serves as Chairman of the New Jersey State Police UAS Working Group.  Ron has provided guidance and established working dialogues with local law enforcement and fire departments to assist departments with UAS response and deployment.  He has an Associate in Science degree from Salem Community College (New Jersey), a Bachelor of Science degree from Wilmington University (Delaware), and a Master of Administrative Science degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University (New Jersey).

Cliff Johnson is a research engineer, program manager, and technical expert for the Aviation Research Division at the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, N.J.  He leads several R&D activities seeking to improve aviation safety for both rotorcraft and unmanned aircraft systems.  Cliff is qualified on the ScanEagle unmanned aircraft systems platform and has supported several unmanned aircraft and rotorcraft simulations and live flight tests involving the FAA, U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Defense, and industry partners.  He has a Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering (B.S.M.E.) from Rowan University.  In his spare time, Cliff is a diehard racing fan who enjoys attending NASCAR and INDYCAR races.  Born and raised in southern New Jersey, where he still resides, he is also a Philadelphia Eagles, Phillies, and Flyers fan, and an accomplished guitarist.


A South Jersey native, U.S. Congressman Frank LoBiondo was a successful small businessman for more than 26 years, working at his family-owned and operated trucking businesses, before running for public office.  His public service was a natural outgrowth of his active civic participation from his earliest years.  He has held office at the County, State and Federal levels, representing New Jersey’s Second Congressional District (which includes Cape May County) since 1994.  A member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, LoBiondo chairs its Subcommittee on Aviation.  He also serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where he is Chair of the newly-created 10-member Subcommittee with oversight over the CIA.  He is a fierce supporter of veterans;  a unique and strong voice for both business and environmental interests;  and a passionate champion of UAS technology.

Rose Mooney’s life-long interest in aviation began in childhood, and the greater part of her adult career has been devoted to robotics including UAS.   Currently President of Archangel Aero LLC, an engineering consulting company that serves the new technology and aviation arenas, Rose previously served as Executive Director of the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP), an FAA-awarded UAS Test site.  Before that, Rose was Director of Engineering, and Director of UAS Airspace Integration, for AAI / Textron Systems.  She speaks regularly on the importance of balance in the relationship between the industry’s need for commercial access and the regulatory environment.  She has led and served on multiple committees for RTCA, ASTM, ICAO, and NASA.   Rose holds an MBA in Leadership from Liberty University and a B.A. in Information Systems Management.


Eric Neiderman is Manager of the FAA’s Aviation Research Division at the William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, N.J. The division develops scientific solutions to current and future air transportation challenges through applied research and development in collaboration with industry, academia, and government. Research areas include: fire safety, human factors, airport technology, software and systems, and structures and propulsion. He has more than 20 years of government experience, beginning with the FAA as an engineering research psychologist working in aviation security.  Dr. Neiderman holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial psychology from La Salle University, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in human factors from George Mason University. He also holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Pennsylvania and is a certified project management professional.

Brigadier General (ret.) William J. Marshall III is a distinguished dual-career public servant with a 29-year span in law enforcement and more than 35 years in the New Jersey National Guard, where he achieved the rank of Brigadier General and has served as the NJNG Deputy Commander.  He currently is employed by the New Jersey Institute of Technology, serving as Assistant Vice President for Technology Development and Special Projects.  He also serves as Director of the New Jersey Homeland Security Technology Systems Center and is Executive Director of the New Jersey Innovation Institute I-Lab for Homeland Security and Defense. He has been part of the ongoing UAS activity in Cape May County for several years and was part of the successful inaugural flight at USCG TRACEN in January 2015.


Eddie Obropta earned his B.S. and M.S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  A Cape May County native who attended Middle Township High School, he returns regularly and has helped keep his “home County” on the leading edge as it grows its UAS program.  Eddie’s wide-ranging experiences include teaching iPhone game development and designing thermal dynamics and life support systems at SpaceX.  He has built computer vision systems to measure material deformation in advanced dive suits for the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the BioSuit™, a skintight space suit for Mars.  Eddie is a cofounder and the Chief Technology Officer of Raptor Maps, Inc., a startup that converts drone and sensor data into expert deliverables for energy, agriculture, and other industries.

Martin L. Pagliughi is Emergency Management Coordinator for Cape May County, and Mayor of Avalon.  He oversees and coordinates municipal OEM planning, response, recovery and mitigation functions for the County’s 16 municipalities, co-chairs the Homeland Security Preparedness County Working Group, and is County Grant Coordinator for Homeland Security Funding Programs.  Pagliughi serves on the American Coastal Coalition/American Shore & Beach Association, and chairs the Tidelands Resource Council, a division of the NJ DEP.  He is a member of the N.J. Beach Erosion Commission, the Cape May County League of Municipalities, the Jersey Shore Partnership and the Northeast Shore and Beach Preservation Association.  Under his leadership, Avalon has received national and state recognition for innovative beach protection and improvement projects.  Additionally, Pagliughi has 35 years experience with ABB International Electrical Engineering Company as National Industry Manager of Environmental Sales.


Naveen Rao was appointed Counsel to the House Subcommittee on Aviation in September 2014.  Previously, he was in private practice at Squire Patton Boggs and Jones Day, and served as Vice President & General Counsel of Naverus Inc.  Naveen began his career at the U.S. Department of Transportation as an attorney in the FAA’s Office of Chief Counsel and was counselor to the Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Aviation & International Affairs.  While at the FAA, he was seconded for one year to the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau, All Nippon Airways and the Japan Fair Trade Commission.  He graduated from the University of Louisville, the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, and Eller College of Management.  A member of the Maryland and District of Columbia Bars, Naveen is a private pilot.

Combining aviation experience with high technology expertise, Jeff Sassinsky founded Fovea Aero Systems LLC (, a UAS services and innovation company. An avid pilot, Jeff’s professional aerospace involvement spans decades, from working as a commercial pilot flying jets to operating as a camera person in news helicopters.  A serial entrepreneur, Jeff has created value in a wide variety of businesses. Fovea Aero, which was among the first FAA licensed commercial UAS operators in the United States, is changing the way many companies undertake their inspection, security, aerial photography and exploration endeavors. Jeff is a graduate of The University of Pennsylvania with a degree in systems engineering, is a member of the NJ UAS Innovation Forum, is a UAS advocate and public speaker, and has spent his career working alongside and supporting the world’s largest companies and government agencies.


Denise Spell is CEO and Chief Innovator of Currant, Inc., and Co-Founder of Luftronix.  Both companies employ cutting-edge technologies to change the way communities respond to natural disasters, emergencies and security threats.  At Currant, she created an incident management and threat assessment platform that incorporates the latest technologies such as social media data, community reporting and drone feeds to give first responders a powerful and effective tool for situational awareness and organized real world response.  At Luftronix she is fueling creation of the first generation of UAV flight guidance software and solutions enabling safe flight in environments without GPS signals.  Denise is a graduate of Columbia University with a degree in Physics.  She has worked for over two decades in successful technology startups in both New York City and Silicon Valley.

Glenn Stott is UAS Coordinator for the N.J. Department of Transportation.  He is a retired Canadian Air Force jet instructor, Test Pilot, and Flight Commander whose UAS background started over 20 years ago with remote control helicopters.  A veteran of multiple United Nations Search & Rescue and disaster relief operations in Africa and the Middle East, he later flew corporate jets and was a certified jet instructor in 160 different countries.  Now an FAA designated examiner, Glenn is authorized to grant the highest level of pilot license here and in Brazil, China, Russia, Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Australia, and New Zealand.  Glenn is an Adjunct Technology Professor at both Kean and Seton Hall Universities, serves on the National Association of State Aviation Officials UAS Committee, and frequently speaks about UAS technology in the transportation industry.


Although innovation is not Ray Thek’s only passion, it certainly is the one that drives his career. He sees innovation as “the engine behind 10,000 years of human development.”  Ray works with investors to spot companies at their earliest stage, often when there’s nothing to see but an entrepreneur with an idea.  From there, he advises the investors or founders on every facet of business development and financing.  An angel investor in his own right, Ray is co-founder of FirstGrowthVC, which provides mentoring and peer group networking for entrepreneurs; co-founder of GrapeArborVC, an angel investor group that provides financial backing to promising tech start-ups; and is on the Executive Committee of AngelVineVC, a networking program that regularly brings together seed-stage investors and entrepreneurs in and around New York City.

Dr. Pat Szary is currently Associate Director of the Center for Advanced Infrastructure & Transportation (CAIT) at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. He has generated more than $30M in funding for the CAIT/University Transportation Centers (UTC) Program, which was established in 1998 and is part of the national program funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). He has been an integral part of CAIT since its inception as a USDOT Tier I UTC in 1998, and through his leadership CAIT recently won the prestigious national “State of Good Repair” UTC designation. In 2016, Pat was appointed Chair of the Rutgers University UAS Oversight Committee, assisting university-wide development and deployment of UAS for research and educational uses. He is an active member of the Cape May County UAS Innovation Forum.


David Yoel is Founder and CEO of American Aerospace Technologies, Inc. (AATI).  He is a physicist, pilot and airspace expert with over 30 years experience building space systems, industrial machinery and, for the last seven years, long endurance Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for civilian applications.  Dave and his team have also developed the InstiMaps™ sensor system for emergency response, energy, utility and telecom applications.  AATI has flown hundreds of BVLOS flights across the country including eight campaigns in Cape May County.

Linda Ziemba is Founder and CEO of Drone Go Home (DGH).  Her 25 years of sales, marketing, and Internet Security experience include career highlights like leading a New Jersey software company to acquisition by Oracle in 2014.  Founded in 2015, DGH is one of the few fully legal, radio-frequency drone and pilot detection, location and alert systems.  Linda’s strategic business thinking caused DGH to pivot away from mitigation features when it became clear federal regulations would prohibit these, and the product is one of the first ready for deployment to the early public market.  Linda studied at NYU Stern School of Business until launching her first business.  She earned her B.S. in Business Management from Murray State University in Kentucky, and completed Executive Education at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School in Atlanta.

Cape May County UAS Conference
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