Chapter Updates

Chapter Updates

The Rocky Mountain Chapter of AUVSI is “alive” and in the midst of some significant changes. While these changes have taken some time to implement, I believe they were necessary to “re-invigorate” the mission, establish a cooperative relationship within the local UAV communities, and to facilitate the combining of resources to better provide representation and coordination at the political, industrial and academic levels within Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region.

To that end, the following programs have been implemented along with a status of activities over the past six months:

  • ·        The AUVSI – Rocky Mountain Chapter News Letter

 First Issue scheduled for August 2015 (Volume 1, Issue 1), expected  publication date 8/7/2015 with the following planned content:

       Review of the 2015 AUVSI Atlanta Convention;
Update on the Rocky Mountain UAS Test Site located in the San Luis Valley of Colorado;
Schedule of State-wide UAS/Robotics related events for 2015;
Review of the Alamosa High School UAV presentation and flight demonstrations held on February 5th;
Planning for the 2015 AUVSI – RM Chapter’s Annual Symposium;
Update on the current FAA directions, policies, statistics and future directions;
Proposed changes to the AUVSI membership requirements and consequences of violating FAA rules and regulations by members; (Submitted to the AUVSI Board of Directors as recommended by Brian Wynne, CEO of AUVSI at the Chapter President’s Meeting in Atlanta);
Insurance – why you need some level of coverage whether recreational or commercial flying;
TAIL-WINDS – A newsletter section that provides specific UAS information of interest submitted by members. The first issue addresses – The DO’s and DON’Ts of UAS piloting.

 

  • ·        Status of the Board of Directors and Board Meetings

 The current Rocky Mountain Chapter Board of Directors:

Allen Bishop – President
Robert Fletcher – Vice-president
Jeffrey Jakubowski – Secretary
Vacant – Treasurer (Kim Madigan -Resigned due to non-renewal of AUVSI membership)
Vacant – Director

The plan is to increase the board seats from 4 to 5 which will take care of the odd vs. even voting structure and increase resources for committee chairs. I am reviewing the Corporate By-laws to see if a vote of the membership at an annual or special meeting is required to add additional board seats. It is assumed that board members who resign or are removed for cause can be replaced by the board of directors for the departing member’s remaining term. Then those positions would be addressed again at the annual meeting.

         RM-AUVSI Chapter Board meetings were held on:
                October 10, 2014 with a quorum present
                November 25, 2014 with a quorum present

The next board meeting is scheduled for June 26, 2015 to coordinate the 2015 annual meeting of members as well as a joint meeting of all local organizations that represent some form of UAS operations including; education, technology development, manufacturing, export/ITAR, applications, public relations and the FAA. Both the Annual Meeting and the Joint Meeting will be held at the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) in Denver. The date and agendas will be announced following the board meeting on June 26th.

  • ·        High School UAV/Robotics Incubator Program

Late last year several UAV businesses joined me in presenting to the Alamosa High School an afternoon of UAV demonstrations inside their gymnasium to introduce the world of UAVs to students, with a focus on the educational opportunities in local universities such as Adams State – located in Alamosa. The results of the Alamosa High School demo and presentation has resulted in the initiation of the “Colorado High School UAV/Robotics Incubator.” This new organization, managed under the Rocky Mountain Chapter of AUVSI will foster on-site demonstrations of UAS and Robotics technologies to stimulate high school student’s early interest and “incubate” that interest to coincide with related secondary educational opportunities within Colorado universities and colleges. The following schools and/or districts have indicated an interest in supporting the “incubator” program:

o   Alamosa High School

o   Adams 12 School District

o   Boulder Valley School District

o   Mountain Valley School District (Saguache County)

o   Buena Vista School District (Chaffee County)

 

  • ·        Partnerships with County and State Economic Development Organizations and Major Industry Symposiums

Last Thursday (June 11th) I was a keynote speaker at the Adams County Economic Development group (ACED) where I presented a      status of UAV activities within Colorado including an update on the San Luis Valley UAV Test Site and the Alamosa High School UAV demonstration. Statuses of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of AUVSI, Rocky Mountain UAS, LLC and the UAS Colorado non-profit were also given. The presentation ended with a detailed summary of the recent award winners of the Advanced Industries Accelerator Program Grants Program administered by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) which has issued $250K grants to four UAS related industries along the Front Range (2 in 2014 and 2 in 2015).

On Thursday, April 16th I attended the 31st Space Symposium at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs and was a member on the UAS Integration: Commercial Opportunities in a Dynamic Regulatory Environment panel. I represented both my own company – Reference Technologies and the Rocky Mountain Chapter of AUVSI. There were five panel participants including:

o   Brian Wynne, CEO of AUVSI

o   Victoria Strohmeyer, UAS Practitioner – Holland and Hart

o   Ben Marcus, CEO – No Fly Zone

o   Charles Huettner, Exec. Director – Aerospace States Association

o   Allen Bishop, CEO – Reference Technologies, Inc.


On Friday, March 13th I attended the Air Law Institute in San Diego as a panel member on the subject of small Drones: Operations v. Regulations. I represented the Rocky Mountain Chapter of AUVSI and Reference Technologies.

  • Consortium for Legislative Redress

During the most recent state legislative session, the UAV industry needed to pool its resources to address two very onerous state bills. The first and most egregious bill was presented by the Colorado State Senate (SB15-059) which was successfully killed in committee due entirely to the coalition of UAV industry leaders, university educators, public safety representatives and political influencers. A less threatening bill focused on privacy, Colorado House Bill (HB1115) was successfully re-written to remove all reference to UAVs, UASs, Drones, etc. Through the work of many Rocky Mountain Chapter members as well as AUVSI’s Senior Government Relations Manager – Mario Mairena and Jeff Weist (Colorado Registered Lobbyist), it became clear that we need a quick reaction force to address future legislation that is directed against UAVs directly and UAV operations in general. A relatively small group is needed to commit the time to attend public outreach meetings and legislative committee sessions before prospective legislation gets momentum.

This is a summary of activities over the past six months of my tenure as President of the Rocky Mountain Chapter. My intent is to publish, via the website, quarterly newsletters, hold quarterly board meetings, coordinate the annual UAS/Robotics Fall Symposium, chair the Colorado High School UAV/Robotics Incubator, attend the monthly AUVSI Chapter President’s meetings and encourage a healthy and productive relationship between the Rocky Mountain Chapter of AUVSI, local UAS/Robotics organizations and educational institutions throughout the Rocky Mountain Region.

If anyone has questions regarding this report, please feel free to contact me via email at abishop@referencetek.com or via my cell at (303) 437-7835.

Regards,

Allen Bishop

President

Rocky Mountain Chapter - AUVSI