Gov. Terry McAuliffe, D-Va., has announced a number of appointments to the Virginia Unmanned Systems Commission, charged with bringing public- and private-sector experts together to make recommendations on how to make Virginia a national leader in unmanned systems.
In June, the governor signed Executive Order 43, which established the commission. Virginia – at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg – is home to one of the six Federal Aviation Administration-designated unmanned aircraft system (UAS) test sites.
‘Capitalizing on Virginia’s advantages in the unmanned systems industry is key to building a new Virginia economy,’ said McAuliffe.
The positions are as follows:
- The Honorable Mark R. Warner of Alexandria, member of the U.S. Senate;
- The Honorable Scott Rigell of Virginia Beach, member of the U.S. House of Representatives;
- The Honorable Karen Jackson of Richmond, secretary of technology;
- The Honorable John Harvey of Richmond, secretary of veterans and defense affairs;
- The Honorable Anne Holton of Richmond, secretary of education;
- The Honorable Maurice Jones of Richmond, secretary of commerce and trade;
- Vice Admiral David Architzel USN (Ret.) of Suffolk, president of Fairlead Boat Works Inc. (will serve as special advisor to the commission);
- The Honorable Jack Kennedy, Esq., of Wise, clerk of circuit court of Wise County (will serve as special advisor to the commission);
- John S. Langford, PhD, of Fairfax, chairman and CEO of Aurora Flight Sciences (will serve as chair of the commission);
- Nicole Barranco of Alexandria, director of state government relations for Volkswagen Group of America (will serve as vice chair of the commission);
- Victoria Cox of Falls Church, senior technical advisor for Veracity Engineering;
- Robert E. “Bob” Dehnert of Fairfax Station, senior director of Raytheon Co.;
- Tom Dingus of Blacksburg, director of Virginia Tech Transportation Institute;
- David Hamrick of Annandale, senior technical advisor of The MITRE Corp.;
- Jim Hughes of Smithfield, vice president of submarine programs at Newport News Shipbuilding;
- Young Kim of Yorktown, CEO of Digital Harvest;
- Guy Sanitate of Burke, business and program manager of US Air Force Airborne and intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance programs of Scitor Corp.;
- Scott Strimple of Glen Allen, captain at United Airlines; and
- Steve Weidner of Washington, D.C., national unmanned aircraft systems representative of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.
In a release, Brian Wynne, president and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), says, “AUVSI applauds the efforts of Gov. McAuliffe in appointing civilian industry representatives to work with the administration to determine how Virginia can be a national leader in the development systems such as unmanned aircraft systems, self-driving ground vehicles and unmanned marine systems. These technologies enable us to execute dangerous and difficult tasks safely and efficiently, saving time, saving money and, most importantly, saving lives.”
AUVSI notes that eight of these representatives are members of AUVSI: Langford, Barranco, Dingus, Hamrick, Kim, Strimple, Weidner and Dehnert.