Kyle Snyder joins MTSU as Unmanned Aircraft Systems operations director

Kyle Snyder has joined the MTSU Department of Aerospace as Unmanned Aircraft Systems operations director, university officials announced.

In this role, part of Snyder’s business-related responsibilities will be to bring in research through government grants or industry partnerships. His expertise also will be to build the UAS footprint for MTSU, developing a curriculum for students who eventually will begin working in this field.

“We are excited that Kyle is joining the aerospace department,” said Dr. Wayne Dornan, the department chair in a news release. “There is a virtual tsunami of unmanned aerial vehicles about to enter the national airspace system, and I am confident that with Kyle on board the MTSU aerospace department will play a major role in developing concepts on how this integration will occur.”

Snyder called unmanned aircraft systems “one of the most exciting and dynamic growth areas in aviation today.”

“The exploitation of these systems by the military, especially the U.S. Department of Defense, and the much-anticipated adoption into commercial and civilian markets is motivating the aerospace department to actively pursue this new arena,” Snyder said.

“MTSU’s existing knowledge and reputation for pilot training, aircraft maintenance, aircraft operations and management and a state-of-the-art air traffic control simulator are expected to leverage new UAS industry partnerships,” Dornan said, adding that these partnerships will provide additional research and internship opportunities for faculty and students.

Snyder joins MTSU after serving two years as director of knowledge resources at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. AUVSI is the largest nonprofit organization in the world dedicated to promoting, advocating, educating and communicating about the unmanned systems industry, Snyder said.

The new director has dedicated his career to technology transfer and product development in the aerospace industry, working at NASA, Lockheed Martin, Applied Systems Intelligence Inc. and Georgia Tech.

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With a master’s in mathematics from the University of Tennessee Space Institute and an aerospace MBA from UT-Knoxville, Snyder said he is excited to return to Tennessee to help bring these new technologies and regional opportunities together. 

“I consider myself incredibly fortunate to be selected to establish this position. The UAS industry is poised for a long future of growth. New commercial applications are being proposed and researched every day. The military is continuing to mature the technologies while pushing the edges of vehicle autonomy, data capture and human-machine interaction,” he said.

Aerospace department personnel associated with UAS operations, along with collaborators, anticipate conducting research to examine the role of UAS in law enforcement, agriculture, homeland security, pilot training, national airspace integration and environmental monitoring.

Aerospace is one of nine departments in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences.

Snyder, his wife, Tiffani, and their 2-year-old son, Bodie, will be moving to Murfreesboro from Marietta, Ga.