• The Conference

Preliminary Agenda


Tuesday, August 27

8:00 am - 9:00 am Breakfast and Customer Client Networking Kick-off

The State Of UAS
The most important UAS leaders and visionaries from the most impactful UAS organizations in the country are providing their input and insight on the state of the industry. Brought together by a new UAS Summit advisory committee committed to delivering unprecedented insight into the world of UAS, you will gain access to and hear from some of the most recognizable and powerful leaders in the UAS space today.

Including the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Senate, global UAV manufacturers, GRAND Sky leaders, NASA and other leading voices from the Silicon Valley of Drones, the UAS Summit has created an unparalleled look into the world of UAS that pilots, tech companies, software developers, service providers, government affiliations, DOD contractors, commercial end-users and serious stakeholders from around the country simply must attend.

This three-hour session will feature strategy-changing insight and perspective with multiple big-name, keynote talks delivered like the industry has never seen or heard before.

9:10 am – 10:10 am Leading Perspectives on UAS
  • Moderator: Senator John Hoeven, North Dakota
  • Daniel Elwell, Acting Administrator, U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
  • General David Goldfein, Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force
10:10 am – 10:30 am RQ-4 Global Hawk And The Impact Of The 319th Redesignation
  • Col. Cameron Pringle, 319th Reconnaissance Wing Commander, Grand Forks Air Force Base
10:30 am – 10:50 am Updates From the 432nd Air Expeditionary’s MQ-9 Operations
  • Col. Stephen Jones, 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Commander, Creech Air Force Base
10:50 am – 11:15 am The Evolution and Future of Commercial UAS
  • Nicholas Flom, Executive Director, Northern Plains UAS Test Site
11:15 am – 11:45 am Global Hawk 2050 and Beyond
  • John Salafia, Deputy Program Manager, Global Hawk Program, Autonomous Systems Division, Northrop Grumman Corp.
11:45 am - 12:00 pm Presentation To Be Announced
  • Speaker to be announced
12:00 pm - 6:30 pm Expo Open
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm Lunch and Exhibitor Showcase
Special Presentations From The Innovation Stage
Drone Biz Insights: Lessons Learned, New Technology Success

Location: Innovation Stage, Ballroom 1-4

Connect with and learn from experts in the business of drones. For the past three years, Brandon Baumbach, business development manager for the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation, has brought together UAS experts, rising startups and interested UAS parties operating from around the country, to Grand Forks, North Dakota, for monthly and quarterly meetings. Several successful drone stories, ventures or collaborations have developed because of Baumbach’s efforts. At the 2019 UAS Summit, Baumbach and his Drone Biz team have created a special meet-up and micro-agenda of speakers to showcase their lessons learned about the business of drones and how new technology first revealed and explained at Drone Biz events have impacted commercial end-users.

Talks to include:

12:05 pm – 12:20 pm From Startups To Technology Giants: Lessons Learned On The Business Of Drones
  • Brandon Baumbach, Business Development Manager, Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation
12:20 pm – 12:40 pm Lifting The Standards: Success Of A Heavy-Lift (200-pound capable) Multirotor UAV
  • Tom Nickell, Operator, Mobile Recon Systems
12:40 pm – 1:00 pm Integrated UAS Operations at Airports and Regulatory Compliance
  • Jordan Cicoria, Vice President of Operations, Aerium Analytics
1:00 pm – 1:20 pm The Tough Stuff: Drone Mapping Big And Complex Environments
  • Shelly Carroll, CEO, SC Recon Geospatial

1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

Realizing Beyond Visual Line of Sight
Take your understanding of beyond visual line of sight flights above the hype and go beyond the typical constraints holding back daily BVLOS operations. From the Super Corridor to real-world BVLOS missions led by the Northern Plains UAS Test Site team, learn what these BVLOS pioneers have learned from their time and investment into true BVLOS ops. Insight to include talks on communication network must-haves, considerations for all drone types, from-the-field lessons and how BVLOS operational know-how from the upper Midwest can be applied to any region or flight in the country.

Development of HubNet For Repeatable UAS BVLOS Flights
  • Jim Cieplak, Senior Business Development Manager, L3Harris Corp.
  • Chris Theisen, Director of Research and Development, Northern Plains UAS Test Site
University-Led UAS BVLOS Research Guided By Industry Needs
  • Mark Askelson, Executive Director, Research Institute for Autonomous Systems, University of North Dakota
Automating The Process: Creating A Digital UAS Experience For BVLOS Ops
  • Wendy Ljungren, Safety & Certification Leader, AiRXOS, part of GE Aviation
3:00 pm - 3:30 pm Refreshment Break and
Large UAS Operations
Integration efforts into the NAS, performing high-altitude, long-endurance missions or training the next generation pilot, the current scene for large UAS operations has never been more advanced. Learn what changes in technology are coming, which policies and regulations will have an impact of operations all over the world, and the latest accomplishments of the biggest of the bigs that will—and have—set a new standard for large UAS operations now and well into the future.

3:30 pm – 4:00 pm Steps Towards Integration of Large UAS into the National Airspace System
  • Timothy Bleakley, Engineering Supervisor For UAS Civil Airspace Integration, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.
4:00 pm – 4:20 pm Forecast Matters: Predicting Weather By The Hour For 24-Hour-Plus UAS Operations
  • Presentation by: Grand Forks Air Force Base
4:20 pm – 5:00 pm Flight Of The Firebird: Bringing A Transformational Technology And Concept To The UAS World
  • Thomas Swoyer, President, Grand Sky Development Co.
  • Kristen Griffin, Director, Strategic Planning, Autonomous Systems Division, Northrop Grumman Corp.
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm Evening Reception in the Expo

Wednesday, August 28

8:00 am - 9:00 am Breakfast and Day Two Customer Client Networking
8:00 am - 1:30 pm Expo Open
9:00 am – 9:05 am Day Two Announcements
Finding The Future Use-Case
From urban air mobility operations destined to bring sky-transport into reality, to drone-powered transmission line stringing efforts for major power providers around the world, these speakers are revealing the truths, challenges and possibilities of what some might consider far-fetched drone applications. Although understanding the present landscape of the UAS space is hard enough, don’t miss out on a glimpse into the exciting future of drones.

9:05 am – 9:30 am NASA On Urban Air Mobility And Safe Integration Of UAS
  • Ed Waggoner, Director, Integrated Aviation Systems Program, NASA Headquarters
9:30 am – 9:50 am The Merits Of Risk-Based Assessments For UAS Operations
  • Jeff Breunig, Principal, Navigation & Unmanned Aircraft Systems, MITRE
9:50 am – 10:10 am Machine Learning in Critical Infrastructure Inspections
  • Nathan Schuett, CEO, PRENAV
10:10 am – 10:30 am Input From The Pilots: Perspective From A Multi-State UAS Service Giant
  • Matt Dunlevy, CEO, SkySkopes
10:30 am – 12:00 pm Performing Flights Over People
UAS Integration Pilot Program Breakthrough: Flying BVLOS Over Urban Areas At Night
After receiving a waiver for this flight operation that was years in the making, the Northern Plains UAS Test Site team and its partners have achieved a milestone moment in the history of the UAS industry and the UAS Integration Pilot Program: beyond visual line of sight flight over urban areas during the day or night.

Listen to representatives from the NPUASTS team, private industry participants Airbus Aerial and Xcel Energy along with input from leadership at the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on how the waiver for the historic flights came to be, and what it will lead to in the future of UAS operations within the U.S. for private institutions looking to fly every day.
  • Moderator: Nicholas Flom, Executive Director, Northern Plains UAS Test Site
  • Brad Mandala, Director of Flight Operations, Airbus Aerial
  • Martha Christie, SLT Program Manager, UAS Integration Pilot Program, U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
  • Trevor Woods, Director of Safety, Northern Plains UAS Test Site
  • Terri Zimmerman, CEO, Botlink
  • Russ Buchholz, UAS Integration Program Administrator, North Dakota Department of Transportation
  • Eileen Lockhart, UAS Program Manager, Xcel Energy
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm Lunch and Exhibitor Showcase
12:15 pm – 12:45 pm UAS Industry Predictions Panel
Location: Innovation Stage, Ballroom 1-4
  • Speakers To Be Announced
1:00 pm Conference Adjourns

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