2019 Bios

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Keynote Speakers

Tuesday, April 9

Exhibitor Reception Keynote Speaker

Hugh Blair-Smith

Hugh Blair-Smith

Hugh Blair-Smith

“Left Brains for the Right Stuff”

Hugh Blair-Smith is the author of the book, Left Brains for the Right Stuff: Computers, Space, and History, published in 2015. In December 2018, he appeared in an episode of the PBS television series Nova, “Apollo’s Daring Mission,” celebrating the 50th anniversary of Apollo 8, the first to place men in orbit around the Moon. He is working on this next book, Minot’s Gifts, a science fiction novel about the friendliest extraterrestrials ever to touch down at Area 51.

Blair-Smith worked at MIT Instrumentation (later Draper) Laboratory from 1959 to 1981, designing guidance and navigation hardware/software for Apollo and fault tolerance software for the Space Shuttle. From 1982 to 2004, he joined a variety of small companies developing touch-screen user interfaces and mainframe performance monitors. Coming out of retirement in 2007, he created design verification and runtime diagnostic software for a Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter instrument. From 2008 to 2017, he presented papers at Digital Avionics Systems Conferences, two of which appeared in IEEE/AES.

Wednesday, April 10

Conference Keynote

Terry McVenes

Terry McVenes

Terry McVenes

“Standards Development in the 21st Century”

Terry McVenes was named the president and CEO of RTCA, Inc. in November of 2018. Founded in 1935, RTCA is a private, not-for-profit association that brings together the brightest business, technical, operational, and regulatory experts from across the aviation industry to find common ground for higher levels of performance standards in global aviation.

McVenes came to RTCA after spending the past decade at The Boeing Company, where he held the position of director of system safety and regulatory affairs. In this position, McVenes directed operations support to assist countries and customers with regulatory approvals to ensure efficient and effective flight operations. He was appointed to that position in November 2009 after a 30-year career as an airline pilot. He was responsible for the execution of the commercial airplanes safety, regulatory, and rulemaking initiatives throughout the world. McVenes also led Boeing’s relationships with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Flight Standards Service organization, pilot associations, and other industry groups. He represented Boeing on the Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST) and the Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) Executive Board.

Plenary Moderators

Plenary I: Global Harmonization

Steve Bradford

Steve Bradford

Steve Bradford

Steve Bradford is the chairman of the Federal Aviation Administration Technical Review Board that monitors technical decisions related to investments and the enterprise architecture. He works with elements of the FAA to develop midterm plans and five-year budget requests to implement NextGen including unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) related automation.

He has a leading role in NextGen’s international engagement. He was a member of the ICAO technical team that authored the latest Global Air Navigation Plan, the past US panel member and current advisor to the ICAO Air Traffic Management Requirements and Performance Panel, and is technical advisor to the development of GANP 2019. He leads the FAA participation in several activities with SESAR Joint Undertaking and has led several co-operative international efforts with EUROCONTROL.

He is also the FAA lead for the FAA/NASA Research Transition Team (RTT) process that supports collaboration between the FAA and National Airspace System (NAS) on ATM related activities. A current focus of the RTT process is collaboration on both UAS-in-the-NAS supporting vehicles operating in ATM, and UAS Traffic Management supporting operation in uncontrolled airspace. Both RTT’s depend on direct partnership with the UAS industry and provide many opportunities to look at new technology options for both UAS and traditional manned aircraft operations.

Michael Standar

Michael Standar

Michael Standar

Michael has played an active part of the SESAR program since its very inception and was one of three air navigation service provider (ANSP) representatives in the executive committee of the industry consortium developing the first European ATM Master Plan and the SESAR Work Programme.

Michael is currently responsible for the SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU) strategic direction, communication and external and international affairs. He holds the chair of the EU-US MoC SESAR/NextGen Coordination Committee and leads the SJU collaboration with ICAO under the EU umbrella. Michael has more than 40 years’ experience in ATM and started his career as an air traffic controller. During his career he acquired a broad range of experience in managing integrated civil and military ANS/ATM from direct operational oversight through operational and technical R&D across different stakeholder groups and ANSPs leading to successful cross border collaborative arrangements in furthering ATM development activities to deployments.

Michael’s comprehensive background also includes active membership in ICAO Air Traffic Management Operational Concepts Panel (ATMCP), which developed the ICAO Global ATM Operational Concept Document and later continued the in the in the ICAO Air Traffic Management Requirements and Performance Panel (ATMRPP).

Plenary II: CNS Standardization and Certification

Stephen Van Trees

Stephen Van Trees

Stephen Van Trees

Stephen P. Van Trees is senior technical specialist, Communications, AIR-6B2, Aircraft Certification Service, FAA, in Washington, D.C. His team works in data communications, weather systems, and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). He is currently co-chair of the Command and Control (C2) Working Group for SC-228, the RTCA committee for UAS. The committee defines communications requirements for large UAS in controlled airspace. The group completed DO-362, the first MOPS for UAS C2. It has been recognized in TSO c-213 and the forthcoming AC 20-187. Prior to this, he was active as aircraft road map lead in the national airspace system (NAS) enterprise architecture effort, integrating aircraft equipage and approval with overall NAS planning.

Over the last 20+ years with the FAA he has held a variety of technical and management positions, including six years as manager, Avionics Systems Branch (AIR-130). The branch was the first in the FAA to manage UAS integration. He joined the FAA as an engineer in the data communication area. He holds a Master of Science in computer science from George Mason University. 

Plenary III, Part 1: Future Communications Infrastructure Status

Brent Phillips

Brent Phillips

Brent Phillips

Brent Phillips is a senior systems engineer with the Federal Aviation Administration’s NextGen Organization and the U.S. panel member to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Communications Panel. Mr. Phillips is also the program co-lead for the joint FAA/SESAR Future Communications Infrastructure Study including the development of the Aeronautical Mobile Airport Communications System (AeroMACS) and the Next Generation SATCOM Systems.

He is currently leading the internet protocol suite (IPS) standards development for aviation use in the FAA. He is also serving as the communications lead on the NAS Enterprise Architecture Roadmap Team. Mr. Phillips holds a Bachelor of Science in engineering from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and a Master of Science in engineering management from George Washington University.

Plenary III, Part 2: UAS – From Hype to Reality

Paul Bosman

Paul Bosman

Paul Bosman

Paul Bosman has worked for EUROCONTROL for over 25 years in many different roles and functions. He is now the head of the Aviation Cooperation and Strategies Division, which is responsible for the overall ATM European planning, architecting and monitoring, international cooperation, emerging issues such drones, cyber security and environment, and support to regulation and standardization.

Joe Morra

Joe Morra

Joe Morra

Joe Morra is the director for the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Office’s, Safety & Integration Division. This division is an enterprise-wide conduit for UAS initiatives serving as a liaison and facilitator for safety, operational, standards, special programs and security initiatives between responsible organizations both within the FAA and to external stakeholders.

Before joining the UAS Integration Office, Mr. Morra was a general aviation operations inspector for the Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) in Teterboro, New Jersey and, more recently, served as a subject matter expert in the Flight Standards Headquarters General Aviation and Commercial Division. Prior to working for the FAA, Mr. Morra owned and managed flight training and other small businesses for over 10 years.

Mr. Morra is a flight instructor and maintains his airline transport pilot (ATP) certificate.

ICNS Conference Chairs

Conference General Chair

Dr. Nikos Fistas

Dr. Nikos Fistas

Nikos Fistas

Dr. Nikos Fistas is a senior communications expert at EUROCONTROL. He has more than 20 years of experience in the investigation, definition, development and standardization of data links for communication, such as VHF Digital Links (VDL2/3/4), SATCOM, Aeronautical Mobile Airport Communication System (AeroMACS) and L-Band Digital Aviation Communication System (LDACS), as well as for surveillance purposes, such as Extended Squitter (ES) and Universal Access Transceiver (UAT).

At EUROCONTROL, he oversees the activities relating to the future aeronautical communication infrastructure (FCI). In the context of SESAR, he is responsible for supporting the various COM solutions in the SESAR2020 PJ14 project, as well as overseeing the relevant international coordination aspects with ICAO and the US FAA under Coordination Plan 4.4. Since 2018, he has also been supporting the ongoing datalink deployment activities in Europe and the SESAR Deployment Manager, leading EUROCONTROL’s technical contribution to the relevant European-funded projects.

He has been representing EUROCONTROL in various international standardization groups, such as ICAO, EUROCAE, RTCA, AEEC and ETSI, covering data link aspects. He currently leads the ICAO Communication Panel Project Team SATCOM, which is tasked to update the ICAO SATCOM provisions (SARPs and Manual).

He holds a Master of Science in electrical engineering from the University of Thessaloniki and a Master of Science in communications and signal processing and a doctorate in digital communications and array signal processing, both from Imperial College, London.

Plenary Program Chair

Brent Phillips

See biography above.

Technical Program Co-chairs

Dr. Gregory Woo

Gregory Woo

Dr. Gregory Woo

Dr. Gregory Woo is chief of the Aviation Systems Engineering division at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center. He has more than 30 years of broad experience encompassing data center management, information technology and network management, risk management, and leadership of technical research and new product development programs. He has led a wide variety of projects at the Volpe Center ranging from Air Traffic Control systems engineering and acquisition program management projects, to risk management and safety assessment exercises, to testing of instrumentation and technology for low-visibility operations in the airport terminal environment. The Aviation Systems Engineering division that Dr. Woo oversees provides safety risk analysis; safety risk management; complex data analysis, modeling, and simulation; and systems engineering analysis and management services.

Woo is a volunteer member of the FAA’s New England Safety Team, serving as a safety counselor and stage check pilot in the general aviation industry. He holds an Airline Transport Pilot certificate for multi-engine aircraft and is type-rated in the Boeing 737NG. He also holds an FAA Remote Pilot certificate. Woo is an active flight instructor training general aviation pilots to safely operate technically advanced aircraft with advanced automation and flight management systems. Woo also serves as a member of the Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team (UAST) supporting the uncontrolled flight risk identification and mitigation workgroup. He is keenly interested in highly automated aircraft, infrastructure requirements for autonomous aircraft operations, and the impact of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) on our air traffic management systems.

Woo holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Yale University, a master’s degree in organizational management and development from Fielding Graduate University, and a doctorate from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a focus on aviation safety, safety management systems, and human factors. His dissertation examined the limits of human performance in the visual detection of small unmanned aircraft and was awarded the 2018 Stanley N. Roscoe Award by the Aerospace Human Factors Association for best dissertation on a human factors-related research topic.

Dr. Jonathan Lee

Jonathan Lee

Dr. Jonathan Lee

Jonathan T. Lee joined the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, in 2002, as an operations research analyst. He has been the chief of the Aircraft Wake and Weather Division since 2012. Prior to that, Lee was a project leader in air traffic control concepts and systems, working on projects sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). His area of research includes air traffic management (ATM) concepts and systems research and development; human-system integration; National Airspace System (NAS) modeling, simulation and optimization; and performance evaluation and assessment of the NAS. Some of the projects he has been involved in include FAA Tailored Arrivals Project, FAA Staffed NextGen Tower Project, the NASA NextGen ATM-Airportal Project, NASA Virtual Airspace Modeling and Simulation Project, and the NASA Detroit Deicing Decision Support Tool Project. He holds a patent on modeling deicing process on airport surface.

Lee holds a doctorate and Master of Arts in applied mathematics from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His graduate work focused on modeling, simulation, and optimization of complex systems.

Workshop Facilitator & Chairs

Woodrow Bellamy III

Woodrow Bellamy III

Woodrow Bellamy III

Woodrow Bellamy III is the editor-in-chief of Avionics International. He has been covering the global aviation electronics industry since 2012. Some of his accolades include being awarded the 2017 Bill Gunston Technology Writer of the Year at the 2017 Paris Air Show Aerospace Media Awards and a nomination for the best electronics systems submission at the 2016 Farnborough Air Show Aerospace Media Awards. He is also a member of the Aerospace Technology Week’s organizational committee

Dr. Lance Sherry

Dr. Lance Sherry

Lance Sherry is associate professor of systems engineering and operations research at George Mason University. Dr. Sherry also serves as the director of the Center for Air Transportation Systems Research at George Mason University. Dr. Sherry has over 30 years’ experience in the aviation industry serving as a flight-test engineer, flight control engineer, system engineer, lead system architect, program manager, strategic planning and business development.

Dr. Sherry served as a fellow at RAND Corporation 1999-2001. He has published over 100 papers and journal articles, holds several patents, and has received awards for his work. Dr. Sherry is a graduate of Brown University with a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering, and he holds both a Master of Science and a doctorate in industrial and system engineering from Arizona State University.

Denise S. Ponchak

Denise Ponchak

Denise Ponchak

Ms. Denise S. Ponchak is the deputy branch chief of the Communications Architectures, Networks and Systems Branch at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field in Cleveland, Ohio. The branch is responsible for designing advanced networking concepts, architectures, technologies and system integration for aeronautics and space applications.

Prior to becoming a supervisor, Ms. Ponchak was an aeronautical communications project manager focusing on increasing the National Airspace System (NAS) telecommunications capability, and a communications research engineer supporting future satellite-based communications. She holds both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in electrical engineering from Cleveland State University in 1983 and 1988 respectively.

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