Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin forms UAS council

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT

Yet another committee in the USA the Oklahoman reports that Gov Mary Fallin has formed a group to push UAS use. Perhaps the most interesting point, if true, is that Gov.Fallin was the only Governor to attend the recent AUVSI conference in Washington, the largest UAS event in America. That’s many states not taking UAS seriously over there.

Gov. Mary Fallin has formed a council to help her promote Oklahoma as the best site for companies to build unmanned aerial systems for military, civil and commercial use.

She named 13 Oklahomans on Thursday to serve on the Unmanned Aerial Systems Council.

She earlier named Stephen McKeever to the panel. McKeever is Oklahoma State University’s vice president for research and technology and Fallin’s Cabinet secretary of science and technology.

Fallin was the only governor to attend the recent Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International convention in Washington, D.C. About 8,000 people attended the event.

Fallin said the aerial vehicles could take over a wide range of difficult jobs, such as crop spraying and pipeline inspections.

OSU has been performing federally and state-funded research for years on the aerial vehicles, and the state has several small companies already working on the concept.

Members on the panel will review all development of the aerial vehicles and related technologies in the state.

They also will act as advisers to the governor on all issues related to them, such as education, economic development, job creation and investments.

“The team we’ve put together on this council will help to solidify Oklahoma’s potential as a national leader in this field,” Fallin said.

Named to the panel are:

• Dennis Altendorf, of Edmond, director of aerospace development and strategy for the Tulsa Metro Chamber. He was previously the director of aerospace development at the state Commerce Department.

• Andy Arena, of Stillwater, an engineering professor at OSU.

• Dan Bierly, of Guthrie, a program manager for Zivko Aeronautics.

• Phil Chilson, of Norman, a professor in the college of meteorology at the University of Oklahoma. He is working on developing an unmanned aerial system for atmospheric observations.

• U.S. Army Col. Emery Fountain, of Norman, director of operations for the Oklahoma National Guard.

• Rick Gaeta, of Stillwater, the unmanned systems technical director at University Multispectral Labs at OSU.

• James Grimsley, of Noble, owner of Design Intelligence, a technology publishing vendor in Norman.

• Jamey Jacob, of Stillwater, an engineering professor at OSU.

• Bill Khourie, of Elk City, executive director of the Oklahoma Space Authority.

• Eric Meyn, of Oklahoma City, unmanned aerial systems program manager at University Multispectral Labs at OSU.

• Dan Seesholtz, of Edmond, director of special projects and corporate engagements for the College of Engineering at OU.

• Toney Stricklin, of Lawton, a retired Army officer and current president and principal owner of TDRS, a private consulting firm. He also serves on the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

• Dave Wagie, of Shawnee, director of aerospace economic development at the state Commerce Department.