Coalition Directors

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Director of Cyber - Miheer Khona

Mr. Miheer Khona is the President & CEO of Rising Sun Advisors with over 14 years of experience in Strategy, Transformation and Governance at the intersection of Cyber Security and Information Risk Management. Mr. Khona brings with him a strong analytical and engineering background in serving the needs of various clients in Financial Services, Energy, and Transportation sectors, as well as working with legislative and regulatory bodies. He led the efforts in developing the Financial Services domain of Internet Security Alliance’s Social Contract 3.0 publication – blending the realms of politics, economics, and cyber security viewpoints into a market-based implementation model for the current U.S. Executive Office of the President (EOP) and the Congress. Prior to founding the boutique management consulting firm, he successfully led the design and execution of a next-generation Global Operating Model for a bank’s Information Risk Management Division. Prior to a career in financial services, Mr. Khona provided strategic and technical analysis of global information security programs and developed enterprise risk management frameworks for multiple clients in the commercial and public (U.S. and international) sectors as a management consultant. An example of a consulting engagement, he led the conceptualization, design and implementation of an economic model to facilitate quantitative-based information risk valuation across all enterprise layers. A sampling of clients that Mr. Khona has had the privilege of serving includes, a Global Retail & Investment Bank, World Bank Group, Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC), Fannie Mae, Global Commercial & Retail Bank, Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense.  Mr. Khona currently serves on the Economic Development Subcommittee for the Governor of Maryland’s Cyber Security Council, and is a Board Member of the School of Applied Sciences & Technology at Thomas Edison State University. Mr. Khona holds Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology from the Volgenau School of Engineering at George Mason University.  Mr. Khona also has held the following designations: Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Security+, ISO/IEC 27001 ISMS Lead Auditor, ISO/IEC 27001 Information Security Risk & Implementation Practitioner.

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Director of Defense - Major Mikita Brown

Major Mikita R. Brown, serves with the Joint Staff (JS) J6 Joint Deployable Analysis Team (JDAT) as the Senior Air Battle Manager to provide integration expertise of Multi-Domain C2 warfighter analysis. The JDAT analyzes current and future warfighter systems in austere field conditions to address Joint integration and interoperability issues to improve combat effectiveness, reduce fratricide, and minimize collateral damage. Major Brown leads a joint and coalition team of warfighters and analyst to develop innovative C4I solutions for Integrated Air Missile Defense (TBMs and SHORAD threats), while specializing in the emerging C2BM of sUAS and C-UAS drone defense. Major Brown is a senior air battle manager with more than 1,340 flying hours (US & NATO E-3) and 720 hours of Ground Control Intercepts (GCI) via BC3-Qatar, BC3-Korea, JADGE Japan and Korea-AOC. 

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Director of Europe - Ryan McCready

Ryan McCready is the Chief Executive and Co-Founder of Hex Horus Ltd; a specialist agnostic CUAS Defense and Security company based in the United Kingdom.  He is part of the UK’s Aerospace Defence & Security drone platform and counter drone (DPAC) Special Interest Group, who support the CUAS sector and shape legislation and standards.  Ryan is a British Army veteran, of 16 years, achieving Warrant Officer Class 2, enduring operational deployments all across the globe. Deployments included Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Iraq Afghanistan and Ukraine.  He was involved in counter-insurgency operations, police support operations and building partner capacity support, where he saw first-hand the evolution of hybrid warfare tactics and emerging threats, such as the nefarious use of commercial UAS.  Ryan spent years as a forward air controller, more commonly referred to as a Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) during some of the most kinetic times in Afghanistan, providing Close Air Support (CAS) and airspace management for multi-national forces, including the US Marine Corp MEU, UK’s 16 Air Assault Brigade and other ISAF contributing nations.  Ryan was awarded the prestigious Accolade of the UK’s Most Outstanding Solider Award 2011, presented by HRH Prince William and Princess Katherine, for his conduct and efforts on operations in Helmand province Afghanistan; of note, he was wounded in action (WIA). More recently in 2017, US (4*) General John Nicholson Jr US FOR-A Commander awarded Ryan NATO’s Meritorious Service Medal for his personal contributions towards CUAS on Operation Resolute Support Afghanistan, in developing CUAS strategic framework, operational support and lifesaving tactics.   

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Director of Finance - Matthew Whitman

Matthew B. Whitman is a Finance and Business Professional with 20 years of experience managing multi-billion dollar programs totaling between $30-40 Billion of spending with agencies such as the National Reconnaissance Office, Department of Homeland Security, and the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Mr. Whitman has spent his career advising senior leadership, matching resources with requirements and conducting business in innovative ways that deliver costs within forecasts. He has also developed an extensive portfolio of analytical models and statistical tools to strengthen logical arguments for sound continued support. He received his Bachelors of Science in Finance from George Mason University in 1997, graduating “with distinction” and receiving the “Excellence in Finance Award.” He currently resides in Manassas, Virginia with his wife and two children.

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Director of Law Enforcement - David "DJ" Smith

David “DJ” Smith is a 22-year veteran of the Virginia State Police and currently works as a Technical Surveillance Agent.  He has worked in the field of Technical Surveillance work for almost 30 years and has performed these duties at the local, state, and federal level as well as the private sector. He is a 1992 graduate of East Tennessee State University with a double major in Criminal Justice and Psychology. In 1994 DJ was hired by the Johnson City Police Department in Johnson city TN as a Public Safety Officer. This required him to attend the 15 week state law enforcement academy in Nashville as well as the 10 week Northeast Tennessee firefighting academy where I was certified as a police officer as well as a firefighter and performed both duties in the public safety officer capacity. 

In 1997 he joined the Virginia State Police as a Trooper and in 2000 and was promoted to the rank of Surveillance Agent. In this capacity his responsibilities included but are not limited to: Covert Video & Audio installs, Install and program mesh node network camera systems, Install various audio and video body wires, Coordinate and execute surreptitious entries (sneak & peak) involving Covert Neutralization of locks and safes, operate and track Cellular and radio devices using cellular tracking equipment, Perform technical surveillance countermeasure (TSCM) searches using various TSCM equipment for state and federal installations, installing and monitoring wiretapping and Dialed Number Recorder (DNR) devices (JSI & Pen link), installing and monitoring Global positioning surveillance devices on vehicles/ packages, Responding to Hostage/Barricade incidents and through the deployment of various day and night surveillance equipment devices gathering intelligence to assist all seven State Police Tactical Teams as well as local tactical units throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia, using Video and Audio clarification through the use of the Avid & Salient Sciences video/audio clarification systems, Fabricating install and monitoring various types of covert surveillance devices in all types of environments. DJ has served as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) on various technologies for the DHS office of electronic surveillance, Law enforcement technology board (SPAWARS Atlantic & Saver program). He has served on the Mid-Atlantic UAS Partnership group at Virginia Tech as a law enforcement technical advisor. Served as member on Safe And Secure Commonwealth Sub-Panel dealing with UAS/Counter UAS implementation and legislative issues relating to operations in the Commonwealth.

DJ has also previously been the President of the Virginia State Police Association from 3/2014-4/2018 and the Treasurer 4 years prior to his position as President. DJ grew up in Newport News in the Hampton Roads areaO

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Manager of Law Enforcement CUAS Curriculum - Jay Seidel

Jay Seidel is a professor and chair of the Drone Technology Program at Fullerton College.  

The California native spent 12 years in the US Army and National Guard and nine years in the security field. In addition to drone piloting and application courses, he has developed a course on counter UAS measures and a professional certificate in conjunction with cyber security. He is a licensed Part 107 pilot and finishing a textbook on UAS training.

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Manager of Law Enforcement Training and Site Evaluations - Jeremy Latchaw

Jeremy Latchaw, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, HCS is President of Macatawa Unmanned Systems, an award-winning and top sUAS security and integration company in the United States. His firm trains, integrates, and supports sUAS operations for large and small public safety departments throughout the country. A Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserves Latchaw has 19 years’ experience in short-range air defense (SHORAD) and asymmetric warfare. He’s a senior professional in human resources (SPHR), a human capital strategist (HCS), and expert trainer. He taught at the Army’s Command and General Staff College and is an adjunct professor at Western Michigan University. As a curriculum designer for U.S. Forces Command, Jeremy helped develop courses for electronic warfare, unmanned vehicles, and counter terrorism. He’s a Part 107 pilot.

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Director of Members - Patrick Egan

Patrick Egan is the editor of the Americas Desk at sUAS News and host and Executive Producer of the sUAS News Podcast Series, Drone TV and the Small Unmanned Systems Business Exposition. Experience in the field includes assignments with the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command Battle Lab investigating solutions on future warfare research projects. Instructor for LTA (Lighter Than Air) ISR systems deployment teams for a OSD, U.S. Special Operations Command, Special Surveillance Project. Built and operated commercial sRPAS prior to 2007 FAA policy clarification. On the airspace integration side, he served as director of special programs for the RCAPA (Remote Control Aerial Photography Association). Past collaborations within the framework of the standards groups; ASTM F-38 and RTCA SC-203 (lightly regulated sub-group), and was also a full member of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Aviation Rulemaking committee (Order 1110.150)—He has also served on the ICC (International Coordination Council) which input to the EUROCAE wg-73, and was the past President of the Silicon Valley Chapter of AUVSI (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International).

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Director of the Middle East & Africa - Andrew McManus

Andrew has world diplomacy experience in many countries in the Middle East and Africa. As a decorated US Marine he served with the 7th Marines Corps in 2006-2007 in Iraq; Falluja and Ramadi, and assisted with rebuilding the community. He started the reconciliation program among the local tribes. He was awarded many times for different positions all based on supporting the US Commanding Forces in Iraq. During the first FMS program, as Iraq forces took a lead in the area Andrew organized a ceremony and was responsible in raising the Iraqi Flag within the American facility in the changing of the guard, handing over responsibilities to the new Iraqi Commanding Forces. He has helped in diplomatic relations for the following countries: Iraq-Jordan, Iraq- Turkey, Iraq- Lebanon. He is also the President of The World Brotherhood and Peace Org. NGO, and President of MEDP LLC. 

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Director of Operations - Tony Davila

LTC (Ret.) Tony Davila is a former Army Product Manager for Medium Altitude Endurance Unmanned Aircraft System with experiences in acquisition, testing, research and development, and operational integration of multiple unmanned systems in Department of Defense to include manned and unmanned teaming (MUM-T). In over 30 years of Army service, he has accrued multitude of experiences in Special and Conventional Operations in Intelligence, Maneuver Warfare, Psychological Operations, Information Operations, Electronic Warfare, Technical Operations, Aviation, Cyber and Space. He received his B.S. in Computer Science from Christopher Newport University at Newport News, Virginia in 1991 and his M.S. in Systems Management from Florida Institute of Technology at Melbourne, Florida in 1999. Currently, he is the founder and President of Knight Technical Solutions, LLC, a service disabled veteran owned small business, located at Huntsville, Alabama.   

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Director of South America - Sérgio Zolino

Sérgio is a leader in endurance and adventure sports and has a passion for drones, security, protection and people and risk management. Sérgio has participated in the IronMan World Championships in Hawaii several times, competed in some of the editions of the Atlantic Rainforest Expedition, the Eco-Challenge in New Zealand, and the challenge of volcanoes in Patagonia among other competitions. Currently, Sérgio dedicates his time to sharing his knowledge with people interested in starting in the world of adventure racing, developing corporate programs aimed at creating opportunities for challenges, and looking for challenges in adventure races around the world!

As an athlete has 9 Iron Mans on the back, 4 of them in Hawaii, and more than 400 competitions of triathlons, races, MTB's and marathons... As an adventure runner, there are 2 Eco-Challenges, Patagonia and New Zealand. Vice Champion of Ecomotion Pro on 2003 and 2009 with more than 150 adventure races in Brazil and around the world.

As a Ceo of Adventure Camp, specialized on outdoor safety and risk managements. More than 100.000 people have acquired his expertise and company and returned home happy. 

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Manager of Communication South America - Stephanie Botsford

Stephanie Botsford is the Manager of Communication and Business Development in South America at the CUAS Coalition and is responsible for business development managers who are assigned specific geographic territories. Their goal is to prospect companies which are presently interested in counter drone (CUAS) equipment. The purpose is to identify key companies to advise, sell and vet CUAS technology to expand member base and net new client base. Stephanie focuses on selling to only trust worthy clients in foreign markets around the globe. She collaborates with internal resources, external networks, partners and US government allies to prioritize and penetrate key accounts. Her primary focus is on new marketing opportunities to net new client accounts by identifying key decision makers and developing strategic relationships to drive revenue. Her compliance in utilizing internal sales enablement tools and management processes for counter drone equipment manufacturers, members and foreign governments specifically in South America is unparalleled. Stephanie has formerly worked closely with US businesses and global leaders and internal partners to identify opportunities for multiple communication channels including media, internal publications and the CUAS Coalition website and social media platforms. By executing media strategies, including managing daily interaction with media outlets, creating earned media plans, overseeing the creation of all written media-related materials such as press statements, advisories, op-eds and talking points, overseeing the release of CUAS Coalition news material, including the execution of press conferences and media teleconferences. She has helped to oversee the cultivation and nurturing of relationships with members of the security community, media, staff in allied organizations, and media professionals on the Hill, the Pentagon and in the Administration.

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Director of Technologies - Jeff Parisse

In 1996, Jeff Parisse co-founded kVA Effects®, a high voltage special effects company that uses Tesla coils to make electrical arcs for entertainment. kVA Effects® has installations in major science museums throughout the World and is credited with the first commercial plasma ball machine (Winterhur Switzerland), the first high voltage flying rig (Mercedes Benz) and the largest Tesla coils on permanent display in the World (Tampa Bay Lightning a NHL hockey team). Jeff provides on-camera high voltage expertise for major broadcast and cable networks and was the principal expert on the Modern Marvels special on life of Nikola Tesla. His work on Fear Factor Live earned the 2005 T.E.A. Award for best themed attraction for Universal Studios Hollywood. In 2002, Jeff began an autonomous flight and long range telemetry R&D project that combined his knowledge of robotics, embedded systems and RFI mitigation techniques. The project created breakthroughs in ultra-light civilian UAV technologies that were later used for low altitude pollen research by a major university. While at kVA Effects®, Jeff Parisse continued to develop specialized aircraft for special effects teams, professional cinematographers and research agencies. He has more than 1000hrs. as a remote pilot and flies fixed wing and multirotor aircraft in the >10lb. weight class. In 2013, Jeff joined Monarch Inc., an unmanned aircraft manufacturing firm in Ridgecrest California where he currently serves as their Director of Robotics. Jeff's responsibilities include developing working systems for geomapping and spectral crop analysis, promoting positive dialogue with elected representatives and industry leaders and bringing advanced technology to purchasers of aerial robotic systems.