GEOHuntsville Summit 2017! 

Speaker Profiles


GEOHuntsville Summit 2017! Speaker Information

Image result for Jorge R. Garcia huntsville al

Jorge Garcia

Executive Director


Topic: GEOHuntsville Mission, Vision, and Goals Update

Synopsis: Jorge will guide the audience through GeoHuntsville's work to achieve our vision of positioning Huntsville as our nation's leader in the design, development and deployment of practical geospatial solutions.  Jorge will explain how attaining that vision requires partnerships and the advancement of geospatial education and concepts development in the classroom, the laboratory, the field, and the boardroom.  He will share what is already being done as well as what remains to be done to help us secure our vision.

Bio: Jorge retired recently from the Federal Bureau of Investigation as Assistant Director, Directorate of Intelligence, after 21 years of service.  His investigative, operational, and intelligence assignments spanned six continents, and included a six-month tour in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. His principal area of focus for the majority of his career was intelligence, and he held leadership positions within the FBI’s Intelligence Program and Intelligence Directorate from supervisor through assistant director.  He is considered an expert in developing and implementing intelligence doctrine adapted for law enforcement at all levels and integrated with established intelligence community doctrine, processes, and procedures.

Jorge’s experience leading organizations spans nearly four decades, including sixteen years of military service.  His infantry, special operations, and aviation assignments, including a combat tour during Operation Desert Storm, greatly influenced his approach to leading organizations within the FBI, and in shaping FBI intelligence doctrine to be threat-driven and responsive to operational requirements, while maintaining capacity to look forward to tomorrow’s potential challenges.

Brett Bennett

GEOHuntsville Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

Working Group Chair

Topic: GEOHuntsville UAS Working Group Overview – Where do we want to go, and how do we get there?

Synopsis: UAS has become one of the most prolific technologies to date by providing advanced tools and capabilities that will help industries and organizations become exponentially more effective. The possibilities for use are endless, and creating the pathways to success with this technology is more important now than ever before. It is to be expected that these pathways to success are not without their challenges. Enter the UAS Working Group. We are the newest addition to the GEOHuntsville community chartered to come together to answer those challenges by fostering an environment of creativity, innovation, and problem solving, as well as providing opportunities for collaboration, and information sharing. So now… where do we want to go, and how do we get there?

Bio: Brett Bennett is the founder of SkyTap Inc., a firm that specializes in UAS Services. Before SkyTap, Brett was a program manager for General Atomics Aeronautical Systems supporting logistics, fielding, and training of new UAS equipment. Brett is a trained commercial pilot with degrees in Aviation, Management, Intelligence Operations, and Unmanned Aircraft Systems. He has over 15 years of unique experience in UAS as a Mission Coordinator, Standardization Pilot, and Master Instructor for the United States Army Intelligence Center. In addition to training hundreds of service members from the Army, Navy, and Marines how to fly various unmanned systems, he has also supported software integration, and flight test on new technologies with several DoD and government contractor customers, to include the Air Force Research Laboratories.

Contact Info: (256) 886-8069

John Walker 

Cherokee Nation Technologies Supporting

NOAA UAS Program Office

Topic: GEOHuntsville Blueprint for Safety: UAS Exercise and NOAA Final Report Overview

Synopsis: To a community that is affected by a disaster, all emergencies are "local". The ability to quickly and effectively obtain information about the scope of an event, including the hardest hit areas, is an important first step for local first responders. This allows for expedited communication of relevant details and needs to the response Incident Commander and up to the state and federal levels, if necessary.

When operated by an experienced team of professionals possessing the latest technology and set of payloads, UAS can aptly assist in this role. Simultaneously, the same capability can be used at the front end of such a scenario to provide crucial information to personnel on the ground that can better guide and direct resources to areas of greatest need, as well as assist in potential search and rescue operations, as every minute during these types of situations is critical. Furthermore, UAS can also aid in the assessment of damage. This is important for the post-hazard recovery phase of the response efforts, and in the case of weather-related disasters, such information can greatly assist the National Weather Service in their survey missions, especially in remote, dangerous, or inaccessible locations.

This briefing will provide an overview of the work that has been performed through the coordinated efforts of multiple stakeholders in north Alabama and in other partnering communities around the country to utilize UAS for such rapid response applications. The presented information will detail several of the "lessons learned" and "best practices" that were produced from these efforts, as compiled in the recently developed NOAA UAS Program Office report, and it will also highlight the Madison County UAS rapid response exercise that was executed in August 2016.

Bio: John Walker is an Unmanned Systems Atmospheric Scientist at Cherokee Nation Technologies (CNT), working in support of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) UAS Program Office. Here, he works as a member of the program’s Science Assessment team, leveraging previous experience in “research-to-operations” (R2O) applications to help identify areas of need within NOAA in which UAS may help to fill data gaps and perform tasks more cheaply and/or more safely.


Prior to his work with CNT and NOAA, John served in various roles as a research meteorologist to support NASA’s Natural Environments branch, the Von Braun Center for Science and Innovation (VCSI), and the University of Alabama in Huntsville’s Earth Systems Science Center.

Contact Info:

J.D. D’Arville Image result for J.D. D'arville

Alabama Department Of Transportation (ALDOT)

GIS/LRS Data Management Administrator


Topic: ALDOT UAS Programs and Case Studies

Synopsis: In January 2016 the Alabama Department of Transportation made the decision to create a UAS Section within the GIS group. Since that time it has been full speed ahead, purchasing 4 drones, training, working on policies & procedures, and creating positions for the section. We have flown multiple projects and are currently testing and evaluating data with Context Capture and other software. This presentation will provide a background on the work ALDOT has undertaken to implement the program.  It will include discussions on FAA requirements, training, equipment, and software, along with sample projects collected over the past year.

Bio: J.D. D’Arville attended Valencia Jr. College in Orlando on a baseball scholarship before transferring to play for Troy State University, where he received his Bachelor of Science in 1986.  While attending Troy State he met his wife of 30 years, Wanda.  They have 2 children, Michael (24), and Becca (19).           

J.D. began his career with the Alabama Department of Transportation 27 years ago in the Materials & Tests Bureau before being promoted to ALDOT’s Design Bureau in the Preliminary Design Section.  He continued his career in the Design Bureau by working in the Engineering Support and Consultant Management sections. In 1996 J.D. became involved in creating 3D Models, Renderings, and animations for ALDOT, and managed ALDOT’s Virtual Design and Visualization Section. On October 1, 2014, J.D. was promoted to the position of GIS/LRS Data Management Administrator within the Transportation Planning Bureau which now includes ALDOT’s UAS Section.

John D. Russell, PLS

Alabama Department Of Transportation (ALDOT)

Survey and Mapping Administrator

Topic: ALDOT UAS Programs and Case Studies

Synopsis: In January 2016 the Alabama Department of Transportation made the decision to create a UAS Section within the GIS group. Since that time it has been full speed ahead, purchasing 4 drones, training, working on policies & procedures, and creating positions for the section. We have flown multiple projects and are currently testing and evaluating data with Context Capture and other software. This presentation will provide a background on the work ALDOT has undertaken to implement the program.  It will include discussions on FAA requirements, training, equipment, and software, along with sample projects collected over the past year.

Bio: aka “Spud” has been employed with the Alabama Department of Transportation for over 31 years.  The first 30 years of his career was spent in the Location Section of Design Bureau where he began as a rodman on a survey crew.  He eventually transferred into the office where he oversaw QA/QC of survey projects.  During that time he has done extensive work with aerial mapping, photography, LIDAR, and utilizing that data in the pre-construction process.  In 2004 Mr. Russell began managing the Alabama Height Modernization Program which involved extensive geodetic work to improve Alabama’s GEOID model and established a statewide CORS network.  In recent years he oversaw the evaluation and implementation of mobile scanning within the department, serves on the GIS Advisory Committee for the Alabama GIS Council which includes extensive work on a statewide LIDAR and Aerial Photography initiative, and is currently overseeing the collection of asset data for use in ALDOT’s GIS program.  John has three sons and enjoys hiking, traveling, boating, and spending as much time with his sons as possible.

Chris Johnson, GISPImage result for Chris Johnson GEOHuntsville

GEOHuntsville, Founding Member

Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

Topic: GEOHuntsville Blueprint for Safety (BfS) Program Update and 2017 Demonstration Roadmap

Synopsis: Beginning in January 2014, members of GEO Huntsville’s GEOINT and Responder working groups launched the rapid disaster response regional pilot program known as “Blueprint for Safety”. Work continues to discover, define and test current data collection and technology integration methods. The working group’s aim is to demonstrate how existing and emerging technologies can enhance geospatial intelligence gathering through information sharing platforms to improve multijurisdictional rapid response. The mission of the pilot is to utilize geospatial intelligence to protect the local economy and security of the citizens to remain viable during a crisis.

2017 Demonstration Roadmap will lay out a series of exercise scenarios and culminate with a capstone demonstration that tests technology integration solutions, workflow to support exchange of actionable information among agencies during an event. Future phases will seek to build upon the established framework, governance, data model structures and lessons learned created in the previous phases to establish day-to-day exchange of actionable information among agencies. Objective: Participants work in partnership to integrate disparate technologies, platforms, and data models to enable seamless communication of data, video, and imagery in real time to improve regional preparation, protection, response and recovery activities among partner agencies.

Bio:  In addition to her volunteer duties with GEOHuntsville, Chris has spent over 25 years in both the public and private sectors using geospatial technologies to develop infrastructure, security, surveillance, and location-enabled decision support tools at all levels of government. She is the founder and owner of A Visual Edge, Inc. (EDGE), a woman-owned small business. With EDGE, she has served for over 8 years as a technical advisor to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate’s First Responder Resource Group (FRRG) identifying, defining, and prioritizing technology gaps and then developing Operational Requirements Documents and Standard Operating Objectives to fill those gaps. She also serves as a subject matter expert for FEMA’s National Integration Center creating resource typing and credentialing definitions and various other guidance documents in support of FEMA’s National Incident Management System.

As an entrepreneur since 1980, she has partnered in six successful startup companies and currently retains ownership in three businesses.

Daniel B. Koch, Ph.D.

Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL)

Senior R&D Staff

Topic: Incident Management Preparedness and Coordination Toolkit (IMPACT)

Synopsis: IMPACT combines simulation, visualization, and mapping into an integrated user interface similar to a smartphone or tablet. First responders can use it for planning, situation awareness, and response to natural and manmade disasters. It uses common data formats to easily exchange data with other map-based tools.

Bio: Dr. Koch received his BS, MS and PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla. He joined ORNL in 2005 after spending 10 years in industry and 18 years in academia. Research interests include modeling, simulation, visualization, and digital signal processing. His current efforts are focused on creating a software framework for combining discrete-time simulation with geospatial data in a virtual environment for homeland security applications.

Contact Info:

Daniel B. Koch, Ph.D.

Oak Ridge National Lab

(865) 241-9096

Ken Graham

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)

Director, Platform Services Division New Campus East

Topic: Fast Trak - Opportunities within the Agency

Bio: Mr. Graham currently serves as the Director, Platform Services Division New Campus East (NCE), Springfield Virginia.  Mr Graham leads a team of innovators who plans, prioritizes, builds, integrates, scales and sustains a state-of-the-art digital platform with supporting sub-systems, software development tools and business processes.  Mr Graham’s team also assess industry’s capabilities to determine relevancy and value to the agency.  In addition he also leads a team who is responsible to FAST Trak (exposes) technologies in an operational environment for real world evaluations, validated learning and feedback to inform the Agency’s long term investment decisions.

Ken also served as the External Sites Architecture Transition (ESAT) Project Manager where he was responsible for the digital transformation of 200+ global sites.  Preceding that he was the Program Manager for a $1 Billion Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract vehicle.  Mr Graham also held various jobs in Industry to include Program Manager for the NORTHSTAR Program supporting Command and Control for our nation’s senior leaders globally.

Image result for David Vance Lucas Huntsville

David Vance Lucas



Panel Moderator

Topic: Panel Discussion on Investing in Technology Integration

Synopsis: Our investor panel will help educate participants on the best means to grow their business from a financial perspective. Later in the week, I am moderating a second panel on legal and compliance issues, to help them understand how to grow and protect their business from a structural, process and compliance perspective.

Together the two forums can provide a very meaningful opportunity for attendees to better understand what is needed foundationally as they start their business, in order to then scale their business.

Bio: Legal Strategy for Technology and Business. David is well founded in technology law and legal strategy, and blends operational experience with legal advice. For over two decades, he has advised CEOs, COOs and CTOs, as well as public and private boards, on an array of technology centric legal, strategic and operational issues.

David accumulated significant experience during his tenure as General Counsel for Intergraph Corporation - operating in over 60 countries. Significantly, he is credited with Intergraph’s global intellectual property licensing and litigation strategy, which resulted in successful enforcement actions against Intel, Dell, HP, IBM, Texas Instruments and others -- with $1 Billion in royalties.In recent years, David expanded his experience into the burgeoning biotech industry as general counsel for a laboratory software company and on the HudsonAlpha Institute foundation board.


Benjamin Cobb


Eastside Partners

Bio: Benjamin Cobb is a Partner with Eastside Partners, a growth-stage venture capital firm focused on healthcare and information technology investments in Southeast-based companies. His responsibilities include fundraising, business development, transaction execution, portfolio management and fund administration.  Mr. Cobb also assists Eastside’s management teams with issues related to recruiting, sales, operations and exit planning.

Prior to joining Eastside, Mr. Cobb was a consultant with Tech/Na, where he worked with Accenture to design curriculum and manage the deployment of IT programs within secondary and post-secondary education.  Mr. Cobb currently serves as Chairman of the Board of ProctorU and as a Board Observer at Strategix Medical Solutions, Hygia Health Services and AccuReg.  He earned a BA in Economics from the University of Georgia.



Eric Grigorian


Alabama InCrowd Capital

Panelist: Discussion on Investing in Technology Integration

Bio: Mr. Grigorian is the founder of the Alabama InCrowd Capital, an Alabama-based angel investing group.  He has over 30 years of experience in design, development, integration, technical management, and operations in aerospace, defense and commercial industries.  Mr. Grigorian began his engineering career in hardware system design and development with Intergraph Corporation, where he worked for over 15 years.  During  his career, Mr. Grigorian has gained valuable experience in several bleeding-edge engineering technologies, supporting  numerous US and international commercial and defense programs.

Mr. Grigorian has been engaged in several startups in Alabama, which included Applied Data Trends, Mole Town, Q-PC, and Arkitrol, serving in multitude of technical and executive roles.  Additionally, Mr. Grigorian has been active member of numerous professional organizations and has served as advisory and board member for several non-profit organizations.

Mr. Grigorian graduated from the University of Alabama in Huntsville with Bachelor and Masters of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering in 1983 and 1987, respectively.


L. Steven Pierce


enrGies, inc

Panelist: Discussion on Investing in Technology Integration

Bio: L. Steven Pierce—Steve--founded enrGies in early 2005.  After retiring from the United States Army in 1998 he worked for Raytheon as a systems engineering manager and project manager. He then joined MILTEC (now Ducommun) where he focused on development and engineering support for a variety of customers.

Part of Mr. Pierce’s core belief is that “it can be better” and this passion has challenged engineers and technologists to think outside the box, resulting in notable technical accomplishments. He is also committed to creating an environment where employees are respected for their ideas and dedication. “At enrGies, it is all about integrity and respect” which means the team is appreciated for their hard work and clients can expect their jobs to be done on time and in an affordable manner”, is found on the first page of all enrGies company briefings.

enrGies has been a pioneer in the transition of unmanned aerial collection of geo-spatial information, facilitating the transfer of surplus DoD sUAS to the Department of the Interior and subsequently providing direct support for their initial use as well as creation of the first non-DoD agreements with the FAA. This commitment to sUAS and the positive benefit of GIS related technologies is reflected in enrGies support to public agencies as well as GEOHuntsville.   

Anderson Hicklen

Executive Director

Angel Investor Management Group (AIM Group)

Panelist: Discussion on Investing in Technology Integration

Bio: I serve as the Executive Director for the Angel Investment Management (AIM) Group in Birmingham & Huntsville, AL. AIM Group provides network platform in which individual Angel Investors can collaborate to maximize investments in early-stage, privately-held companies. Through our network size, we are able to invest in better deals on better terms.


✦ Connect with others.

✦ Be passionate and driven.

✦ Make life matter.

✦ Be a leader.

✦ Enjoy life.

The Angel Investor Management Group (AIM Group) is one of the premiere early stage funding sources in the Southeast. We have a passion for entrepreneurship – both starting and funding companies. We are a network of angel networks. Our structure simplifies the funding process for entrepreneurs and offers a disciplined and rewarding investment approach for angel investors.

Matt Reed


Go-To-Market Solutions

Topic: Geospatial Business Opportunities in the Current Landscape

Bio: Matt Reed is a Huntsville native that got his Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the University of Alabama. Five years ago Matt became the co-owner of Go-to- Market Solutions, a small business focused on providing analytical reporting services driven by their proprietary technology platform in order to identify opportunities, suppliers and partners to the federal government, government contractors, as well commercial companies. Matt serves on several nonprofit boards in Huntsville including The Huntsville Association of Technical Societies, United Cerebral Palsy of

Huntsville, and HudsonAlpha Connections. He is also a member of Mayor Battle’s Young Professional Advisory Council, Energy Huntsville Leadership Council, Cyber Huntsville Economic Development Committee, and the Multiple Sclerosis

Leadership Council. Matt was named Young Professional Leader of the Year by in 2015.

Contact Info:

256-656- 6478