Nevada Seeks FAA’s “Center of Excellence Status” for UAS Flight

(Las Vegas / Reno, Nev.) -- Steve Hill, director of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and Nevada Adjutant General William Burks have selected a 15-member panel to oversee Nevada’s efforts to obtain the FAA’s Center of Excellence designation for Unmanned Aerial Systems. The Nevada Autonomous Systems Panel will coordinate the state’s effort to obtain the designation by as early as the end of 2012. It would allow for significant research and development, testing and training to occur in Nevada within the field of Unmanned Aerial Systems, generating jobs while transforming the state’s economy.

“Nevada has the talent, the resources and a history of excellence in unmanned aerial flight to earn Center of Excellence status,” Hill said. “The policy panel will help us persuade the FAA that we have all that is needed to become the Silicon Valley of Unmanned Aerial Systems.”

Brigadier General Burks will serve with Director Hill as co-chairmen of the policy panel. The other members are Krys Bart, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority; Joe Brown, Commander of the Nellis Air Force Base Support Team; Greg Cox, Vice President of Sierra Nevada Corp.; Leo Drozdoff, Director of the Nevada Department of Conservation & Natural Resources; Jeff Fontaine, Executive Director of the Nevada Association of Counties; Marc Johnson, President of the University of Nevada in Reno; Dr. Raymond Juzaitis, President of National Security Technologies; Susan Martinovich, Director of the Nevada Department of Transportation; Neal Smatresk, President of the University of Nevada,  Las Vegas; Randy Walker, Director of the Clark County Department of Aviation; Kenneth Witcher, Program Chairman, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical  University, Nevada; Dr. Stephen Wells, President of the Desert Research Institute; and Tim Wong, President & Chief Executive Officer, Arcata Associates.

The Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development is dedicated to the diversification of the Nevada economy.