The Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research (NUAIR) Alliance has hired Major General Marke F. “Hoot” Gibson (ret.) as its new CEO. Gibson most recently served as senior advisor on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) integration to the deputy administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Under his new role, beginning Nov. 13, Gibson will oversee the organization’s efforts to safely integrate drones into the National Airspace System (NAS). Specifically, he will lead NUAIR’s oversight of UAS testing being conducted in New York, Massachusetts and Michigan and a $30 million investment by New York State to build a 50-mile UAS traffic management (UTM) corridor.
“My vision is to create an unsurpassed innovation-friendly environment for UAS research, testing and operation,” says Gibson. “With all of our state economic and technical support, I think we are well positioned to become the most favored site for all aspects of UAS testing and operation. We already won a tough competition to become one of our nation’s seven test sites, and we are now poised to take that capability to the next level. I can assure you, I wouldn’t have taken this position if I didn’t think we were ready.”
The alliance is a Syracuse, N.Y.-based nonprofit coalition of more than 100 public and private entities and academic institutions operating and overseeing drone test ranges in New York, Massachusetts and Michigan – one of the seven FAA-designated UAS test ranges in the U.S. The alliance is led by the CenterState Corp. for Economic Opportunity (CenterState CEO) in New York and MassDevelopment in Massachusetts.
“We are extremely excited to welcome someone with Hoot’s knowledge, experience and passion to the role of CEO of the NUAIR Alliance,” says Rob Simpson, president of CenterState CEO. “His leadership will enable the collaborative advancement of NUAIR’s mission, and the region will expand its engagement of businesses and experts to advance critical research and development of the sector across central New York.”
Gibson also previously served as executive director of the NextGen Institute, which provides professional services to the UAS Joint Program Development Office. He has also owned his own aviation consulting firm.
Gibson retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2011 after 33 years of service, where he held numerous senior command and staff positions. He was also the Air Force’s director of current operations and training, where he led the start-up of a new cyber career field and its integration into Air Force operations. For the new gig at NUAIR, Gibson and his wife will relocate to the central New York area from northern Virginia.
The selection of Gibson by the NUAIR board of directors caps a search process facilitated by McDermott & Bull, an executive search firm that specializes in leadership roles. Larry Brinker, who served as NUAIR’s interim president and CEO, remains its executive director and general counsel.
“I look forward to welcoming General Gibson to lead the NUAIR team and believe he has the right combination of drive and expertise to build on the momentum we have created with the UAS sector in the region,” says Brinker. “As we look to further establish the region as a national leader, his vision and previous experiences at the FAA will prove to be exceptionally valuable.”