Dr. Eugene Tu 

Eugene is the Director of NASA’s Ames Research Center, where he leads a staff of civil servants and contractors in providing critical research and development support that makes NASA’s and the nation’s aeronautics and space missions possible. Most recently, he was the Director of Exploration Technology at Ames. He began his career as a research scientist conducting computational fluid dynamics research on the steady and unsteady aerodynamics of complex aircraft configurations. He also served as the Program Manager for the agency-level High Performance Computing and Communications (HPCC) Program and led both IT Base and HPCC programs. In 2001, the two programs were combined into the Computing, Information and Communication Technology (CICT) Program and he was selected as the CICT Program Manager. He has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and MS and PhD in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University.


Parimal “PK” Kopardekar, Ph.D.

Parimal Kopardekar (PK) serves as NASA’s senior technologist for Air Transportation Systems and principal investigator for the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management (UTM) project. He was formerly manager of the NASA’s Safe Autonomous System Operations Project, which developed autonomy related concepts, technologies and architectures that will increase efficiency, safety, and capacity of airspace operations. Prior to that, he managed Next Generation Air Transportation Systems (NextGen) Concepts and Technology Development Project. He has published more than 50 articles. He enjoys initiating new concepts and technology ideas that increase airspace capacity and throughput, reduce delays, and reduce the total cost of air transportation. At NASA, he has initiated many innovative research projects including reduced crew operations, net-enabled air traffic management, autonomy for airspace operations, Shadow-Mode Assessment using Realistic Technologies for the National Airspace System (SMART NAS), and low-altitude airspace management system focused on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) operations. He is a Fellow of the American Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and recipient of numerous NASA awards including Outstanding Leadership Medal and Engineer of the Year. He holds a doctorate and master’s degrees in Industrial Engineering and bachelor’s degree in production engineering.

Tess Hatch

Tess is an investor in Bessemer Venture Partners’ Silicon Valley office. She is focused on frontier tech, specifically commercial space, cyber security, and drones. She currently serves on the board for Iris AutomationRocket LabSpire, and a handful of cyber security companies.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan (go blue!) and a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics engineering from Stanford (go trees!). She was a mission manager at SpaceX where she worked with the government on integrating their payloads with the Falcon9 rocket. She also worked at Fictiv, a startup using 3D printing and CNC machining to democratize access to manufacturing.

Srini Ananth 

Srini is a Director at Intel Capital where he led investments in Joby Aviation (electric VTOL), Filament (Enterprise Blockchain for IoT), Keyssa (wireless comms) and NewAer (mobile middleware). Srini was also involved in investments in Delta ID (acquired by Fingerprint Cards) and EyeSmart. His current areas of investment include Hardware, Urban Mobility, Small Satellites, Robotics, and Next Gen Computing.

Srini joined Intel through the Accelerated Leadership Program (ALP), a prestigious post-MBA leadership development program. He launched a Security SaaS product in Asia for Intel Services and worked on strategic partnerships at Intel Media. He also developed Intel Capital’s investment strategy on consumer biometrics.   

Srini has worked on a Kickstarter campaign for a consumer electronics product and advises early stage startups. Before business school, Srini worked on several generations of mobile products at Texas Instruments that generated more than $1.5B in revenue. Srini holds a MS in Electrical Engineering from Arizona State and a MBA from UCLA Anderson.

Paul Fraidenburgh

Paul Fraidenburgh is an attorney in the Orange County office of Buchalter.  Mr. Fraidenburgh focuses his practice on representing technology companies in regulatory affairs and litigation.  As a member of the Aviation & Aerospace Practice Group, Mr. Fraidenburgh has gained a national reputation for his representation of clients in the unmanned aircraft systems industry.  The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and several other publications have quoted Mr. Fraidenburgh on the topic of unmanned aircraft systems, and his clients are among the most cutting-edge companies in the world.  He can be reached at (949) 224-6247 or [email protected].


Dr. Wayne Johnson 

Wayne works in the Aeromechanics Branch of NASA Ames Research Center and is the author of the comprehensive analysis CAMRADII and the rotorcraft design code NDARC; and the books “Helicopter Theory” (1980 Princeton University Press, 1994 Dover Publications) and “Rotorcraft Aeromechanics” (2013 Cambridge University Press).

He is a Fellow of AIAA and AHS, and an Ames Fellow, and has received U.S. Army Commander’s Award for Civilian Service, NASA Medals for Exceptional Engineering Achievement and Exceptional Technology Achievement, the AHS Grover E. Bell Award, the Ames H. Julian Allen Award, the AIAA Pendray Aerospace Literature Award, the 2010 AHS Alexander Nikolsky Honorary Lectureship, and the AHS Alexander Klemin Award. He obtained SB and SM degrees in Aeronautical Engineering, and Doctor of Science degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Robert (Jay) Shively

Jay is currently the Sub-Project Manager for Detect and Avoid for NASA’s UAS Integration into the NAS project and the Human Autonomy Teaming lab. In this role, he leads a multi-disciplinary team across four NASA research centers to address barriers impeding the integration of UAS. Jay transitioned to NASA after 25 years with the US Army. During his tenure with the Army, Jay was the Human Systems Integration group leader for the Aeroflightdynamics Directorate.   In that role, he coordinated efforts on helicopter brown-out symbology, UAS ground station design, and cockpit design issues. He is also currently rapporteur for the Human in the system working group for the ICAO RPAS panel. Research interest include Human-Autonomy Teaming and UAS airspace integration. Mr. Shively has published numerous papers, book chapters and conference presentations.


Dr. Michael Feary

Mike leads the Aerospace Cognitive Engineering (ACE) group in the Human-Systems Integration division at NASA Ames Research Center. The ACE group focuses on the development of tools to support design and analysis of Human-Automation Interaction in complex, safety critical systems. Dr. Feary has more than 50 publications on this topic. He has a BS in Human Factors Engineering from the University of Illinois, a MS from San Jose State University, and PhD from Cranfield University, UK.


Craig Hange

Craig works with UAS concepts, especially addressing missions that require austere take-off and landing, and autonomous low-speed operations in GPS denied environments. His experience includes working in the US/UK ASTOVL Program and several small scale hover tests as part of the former Powered Lift Group at NASA Ames Research Center and serving as the Project Director for the hover test of the Lockheed Large Scale Powered Model (precursor to the F-35B) at the National Full-Scale Aerodynamics Facility. He has a BS in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Cincinnati.


Dr. Neal Chaderjian

Neal serves as a senior research scientist in the Computational Physics Branch at NASA Ames Research Center.  During his 35 years at NASA, he has conducted both fundamental and applied research in computational fluid dynamics and published approximately 60 book contributions, journal articles and conference papers.  His research interests include numerical methods, applied CFD, fluid physics, unsteady aerodynamics, rotorcraft aeromechanics, and flow visualization.  He has a PhD from Stanford University.


Patricia Ventura-Diaz

Patricia is an aerospace engineer in the Computational Physics Branch working with Science & Technology Corporation at NASA Ames Research Center.  Her research focuses on geometry modeling and high-fidelity computational fluid dynamics of eVTOL aircraft for Urban Air Mobility.  She has an MSc in Aerospace Engineering from SUPAERO in Toulouse, France.

Dr. Seokkwan Yoon

Seokkwan is Chief of the Computational Physics Branch at NASA Ames Research Center and leads a team of researchers in aerodynamic modeling and analysis.  His experience includes aerodynamic research for numerous aeronautics and space exploration vehicles, including rotorcraft.  He authored one of the most cited papers in computational fluid dynamics.  He presently leads pioneering work in high-fidelity computational modeling and simulation of multi-rotor drones and Urban Air Mobility.  He has a PhD. from Princeton University.


Dr. Cetin Kiris

Cetin’s field of expertise is CFD for aerospace applications. He initiated and orchestrated the development of LAVA, a computational framework for Launch, Ascent, and Vehicle Aerodynamics. Some of his most notable work includes: aerodynamic database generation for launch vehicle development; analysis of accident scenarios and launch pad ignition conditions for ground operations; turbopump flow simulations; numerical models of human circulatory systems under altered gravity; and application of CFD to analysis and design of artificial heart devices. He has published over 100 technical papers, and co-authored a book on numerical simulations of incompressible flows. He has a MS and PhD in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University.

Francois Cadieux

Francois Cadieux is a research scientist in the Computational Aerosciences Branch of the NASA Advanced Supercomputing Division at NASA Ames Research Center. As a member of the launch, ascent, and vehicle aerodynamics (LAVA) group, Cadieux contributes to the development of the LAVA framework for high-fidelity computational fluid dynamics. He leverages this cutting-edge tool and his expertise in large-eddy simulation (LES) to provide engineering predictions for a variety of NASA projects. Cadieux obtained his Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California in 2015.

Matthew Whalley

Matt has been a researcher with the U.S. Army since 1984. He has conducted rotorcraft research in the areas of flight control, handling qualities, sidestick controllers, air-to-air combat, partial-authority flight control, and autonomy. Since 2000 he has led the Autonomous Rotorcraft Project which has developed and flight tested autonomous technologies including 3D obstacle field navigation, off-field landing site selection, sling load operations, intelligent agents, mission adaptive autonomy, and dual lift. He has a BS in Aerospace Engineering from CalPoly San Luis Obispo, and a MS in Aerospace Engineering from Stanford University.


Dr. Colin Theodore

Colin is an Associate Project Manager in the NASA Revolutionary Vertical Lift Technology project.  His research background is in the area of high-fidelity aeromechanics and flight dynamics simulation, and flight dynamics, flight controls and handling qualities of various rotorcraft configurations.  He recently led a project called DELIVER (Design Environment to Novel Vertical Lift Vehicles) that investigated the used of conceptual design and sizing tools applied to new eVTOL designs with application to urban air taxi and package delivery type vehicles. He has a BS in Aerospace Engineering from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, and a PhD from the University of Maryland.


Bimal Aponso

Bimal’s technical background includes over 25-years of experience in vehicle modeling and simulation, stability and control, and handling qualities, both in government and in Industry. He researched, designed and developed flight control systems for several military and civil aircraft and rotorcraft, and contributed to several Military Specifications on aircraft/rotorcraft handling qualities. He has collaborated with all the major Aerospace companies as well as all branches of the Department of Defense on aircraft and rotorcraft projects and programs. At NASA Ames Research Center, he led research groups in Air-Traffic Management, Crew-Autonomy Teaming, and managed the flight simulation facilities. He has an MS in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland and an MBA from the University of Southern California.