The Keynotes at Commercial UAV Expo Americas: A Star Panel from The White House, FAA, and More

The lineup of speakers and keynotes at Commercial UAV Expo Americas, the virtual event held September 15-17, 2020, is shaping up to be an absolutely amazing online show.  Maybe it’s the flexibility that a virtual event provides, or the fact that the drone industry has reached a new milestone in importance to global industry – but this year’s show provides the opportunity to hear direct updates from leadership at The White House, the FAA, the Department of Homeland Security, and more.

Read on for the details, and if you haven’t already registered, take advantage of the discount in place until September 1 – and then get ready to be inspired by some of the most important voices not only in the drone industry, but in the global world of technology.

The following is a Commercial UAV Expo Americas press release.

Portland, ME – August 12, 2020 – Steve Dickson, Administrator, FAA; Brian Harrell, Assistant Director, DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA); and Michael Kratsios, Chief Technology Officer of the United States, The White House, will deliver keynote presentations at Commercial UAV Expo Americas 2020 Virtual Event taking place September 15-17.  Additional keynote panels are Drone Delivery in the Era of a Pandemic; UPS Panel on Building a Drone Delivery Airline While Balancing the Gender Equation; and Expanded Operations, Regulatory Update and Lessons Learned from IPP.

For the first time, Keynotes will be free to attend for anyone with Virtual Exhibit Hall pass. In addition to accessing the keynotes, attendees will be able to chat with one another during the sessions and network with one another through a sophisticated AI-powered networking tool. Registration is available here:

“The need to come together has never been greater,” said Lisa Murray, Event Director. “We’re thrilled that these top UAS leaders have chosen Commercial UAV Expo as the platform for sharing critical updates and information during these extraordinary times.”

Keynote Presentations

Steve Dickson, FAA
UAS Today and Onward

Over the past year, the industry and the FAA have made substantial progress related to UAS. Operators have received part 135 air carrier certification, the long-awaited remote identification rule was proposed and will soon be finalized, aircraft type certification efforts are underway, and emergency relief and public safety operations have expanded. But where is the FAA really on the path to full integration? This journey began and is progressing deliberately, with an absolute commitment to safety every step of the way. As technology has advanced; experience has been gained through real-world operations, such as those conducted under the UAS Integration Pilot Program. Regulatory efforts have progressed bringing the destination closer every day. In this keynote address, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson will discuss the state of UAS, today and in the future.

Brian Harrell, CISA
Security Threats & Opportunities; DHS CISA Resources for Commercial Enterprises

“Private industry does not own the airspace above generation facilities, above a transmission substation, above a water plant — so the overhead threat for attack is absolutely real today.”—Brian Harrell. In his Keynote address, Brian will provide an update on joint efforts of DHS, DOJ, HHS and other agencies to anticipate and mitigate threats, the risks posed by—and opportunities for use of – unmanned systems, the importance of investing in an insider-threat and other crisis mitigation programs, and resources available for industry including free workshops, training and webinars through the DHS CISA. The goal is protecting key infrastructure and other assets including the electric grid and water resources and preparing for worst-case scenarios.

Michael Kratsios, The White House
Update from the White House

As President Trump’s top technology advisor, Michael has led the development and execution of the Administration’s national technology policy agenda since inauguration. Under his leadership, the White House launched National initiatives for artificial intelligence, quantum computing, 5G and broadband communications, autonomous vehicles, commercial drones, STEM education, and advanced manufacturing. Chief Michael will provide an update on the latest developments from the White House.

Keynote Panels

In addition to the Keynote Presentations, the program includes three Keynote panels:

Drone Delivery in the Era of a Pandemic

The successes of drones deliveries for sending medicine and organs to hospitals quickly, or delivering aid in disaster areas, has not only been a step forward for proof of concept, but the PR engendered has been an important boost for the drone industry. How have deliveries been progressing, particularly throughout the pandemic, and what are next steps toward expanding these programs for other types of package delivery via drone?

Panelists include Lisa Ellman, Commercial Drone Alliance & Partner, Hogan Lovells, (Moderator); Bala Ganesh, UPS; Ed De Reyes, Sabrewing Aircraft Company, Inc with additional speaker announcements to come.

Building a Drone Delivery Airline While Balancing the Gender Equation

The UPS Flight Forward team is comprised of women leaders. In this inspiring Keynote they’ll share not only the new technologies being deployed and integration into the existing UPS airline fleet, but also their experiences as they’ve been actively balancing the gender equation. Speaker announcements coming soon.

Expanded Operations, Regulatory Update and Lessons Learned from IPP

Jay Merkle will kick off the session with a regulatory update and will then engage panelists in candid discussion about their IPP experiences. He’ll focus on how these learnings and insights will inform the expansion of drone programs.

Panelists include Jay Merkle, FAA (Moderator); Katelyn McCauley, San Diego IPP; Cathy Cahill, University of Alaska IPP; Mark Blanks, Virginia IPP; James Grimsley, Advanced Technology Initiatives, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

About Commercial UAV Expo Americas

Commercial UAV Expo Americas, presented by Commercial UAV News, is the leading international trade show and conference for the commercial drone market. Its sixth edition, September 15-17, 2020 will take place virtually. For more information, visit

Commercial UAV Expo Americas and its sister event Commercial UAV Expo Europe are produced by Diversified Communications’ technology portfolio which also includes Commercial UAV News, GeoBusiness Show, International Lidar Technology Forum, SPAR 3D Expo & Conference, SPAR, AECNext Technology Expo & Conference and AEC Next News. For information on opportunities for vendors at Commercial UAV Expo Americas, contact Katherine Dow, Sales Manager, at [email protected] or +1.207-842-5497. For attending information, visit or email [email protected]


Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry.  Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.


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