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Opening Keynote: What to Expect From the Future of Drones



Steve Willer is the Business Development Manager at AirMap, where he works with airports, regulators, and airspace stakeholders to improve drone safety and situational awareness. Prior to joining AirMap, Steve spent 10 years at Esri assisting aviation organizations across the globe with their implementation of geospatial technology. Steve is a graduate of Saint Louis University with degrees in Aviation Science and Aviation Management. For the past 15 years, he’s been an active commercial pilot and flight instructor.

Featured Session: Not to Pressure You…But the Future of Drones is in Your Hands


Poynter Institute

Al Tompkins is a senior faculty member for broadcast and online at The Poynter Institute, the world’s premiere school for journalists. For nearly 30 years, he worked as a photojournalist, reporter, producer, anchor, assistant news director, special projects/investigations director, documentary producer and news director. Tompkins has trained thousands of television news producers, reporters, photojournalists and managers in his One-Day Storytelling Workshops in 49 states, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Egypt, Ecuador, Cayman and South Africa. He has taught and coached print newsrooms in the U.S. and abroad on how to investigate and report, build interactive news websites, how to use video more effectively online and how to manage ethical issues. Tompkins was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame and in 2008 was awarded The Governor’s Award, the highest honor given by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. During his two and a half decades as a journalist, Tompkins has won the National Emmy, the Peabody Award (group award), the Japan Prize, the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel for Court Reporting, seven National Headliner Awards, two Iris Awards and the Robert F. Kennedy Award. He holds an MA in Digital Journalism and Design from the University of South Florida. Tompkins is the author of the January 2017 Third Edition of Aim For The Heart: A Guide for TV Producers and Reporters, which was adopted by more than 150 universities as their main broadcast writing textbook. He co-authored four editions of the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation’s Newsroom Ethics workbook.

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As Senior Director of National News Technology, Agvent leads the recently created CNN Aerial Imagery & Reporting unit, CNN AIR. A clear expert, Agvent was named to the federal Drone Advisory Committee (DAC) and also sits on the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team (UAST). He is a member of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), ASTM and serves on the Advisory Board of ASSURE (Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence).


Better View Media

Shep is a senior NMI student studying finance and computer science. He has had a passion for photography for more than two years, but has only taken it to a professional level in the past 6 months. He uses his Mavic Pro to compliment the content he creates, which is focused on social media. He has amassed over 15,000 local followers while creating content for and managing the Instagram accounts @saintsimonsisland and @downtownsavannah. Whenever Shep graduates, he plans on living on the southeast coast and continuing to grow his social/digital media company, Better View Media.


Skyraider Aeronautics

Meet Daniel Scheiner, CEO, and visionary of Skyraider Aeronautics with 10 years of unmanned systems a soldier as well as a Senior Consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton. During this time he developed a passion for the technology, and the potential benefits that it would eventually bring to the civilian world. Daniel has directed Skyraider towards the agricultural community, believing that it is the place where, at least in the near future, our technology can have the greatest impact.


Southeast Drone

Kelsey Norris is an experienced drone pilot out of Athens, GA. What started as a hobby in 2011 quickly became a passion and the start of Southeast Drone. Kelsey is FAA certified, has his light sports pilot’s licence, has completed Flysafe training, and is OSHA 10 certified.Southeast Drone has experience ranging from the everyday business of real estate photography, to working on different television and movie sets. Some of our achievements are getting clearance to fly in Sanford Stadium, flying in Orlando for a DOT project, and being published in local newspapers and Oz Magazine. Kelsey is married and has a 1 year old son who he can’t wait to teach how to fly. We are excited to see where this industry leads us in the future.


 CUNY Graduate School of Journalism

Travis Fox is the director of Visual Journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Fox most recently produced films for Frontline on PBS. From 1999 to 2009, he worked as a senior video journalist at The Washington Post and was widely recognized as a pioneer of online video. In 2006, he won the first Emmy Award for web video for his coverage of Hurricane Katrina. Fox, a FAA-licensed drone pilot, launched CUNY’s first drone journalism course and is currently working on several drone-related projects.


Flymore Academy

For the past year, we’ve been running drone demos, piloting, and engineering programs at community schools. In our Drone Engineering Camp, each student builds their own FPV, racing-grade drone from scratch and learns to fly it along the way. Students gain engineering skills like soldering and learn fundamental engineering concepts through the unique experience that drones provide. We are a team of FPV pilots that come from a racing background. Before we were teaching kids to build drones, we were organizing professional drone races like the Savona Mill Race in Charlotte. Now we apply the thrill of racing drones to STEM education– because what kid doesn’t want to fly 60mph around a treacherous race course.

Saturday Morning Keynote: Privacy and Ethics



Mickey Osterreicher is experienced in contract, media, copyright and First Amendment Law. He has been actively involved in matters such as cameras in the courtroom, the federal shield law, media access, public photography, orphan works and copyright infringement. He handles legal and public relations analysis, multi-media communications, risk assessment and planning as well as policy development and implementation. Mickey is known for identifying, assessing and communicating well under adverse circumstances with short deadlines, as he possess years of experience dealing with fast-breaking and complex issues.


UGA School of Law

Sonja R. West is the Otis Brumby Distinguished Professor of First Amendment Law at the University of Georgia School of Law and the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Her scholarship focuses on issues involving the First Amendment and the United States Supreme Court and has appeared in top legal journals such as the Harvard Law Review, the UCLA Law Review, and the Michigan Law Review. A graduate of the University of Chicago School of Law, Professor West served as a law clerk for Judge Dorothy W. Nelson of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. Her other professional experience includes several years practicing media law with the Los Angeles law firms Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Davis Wright Tremaine. Professor West is also a frequent commentator for numerous news organizations such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, the National Law Journal, MSNBC, and National Public Radio.

Lunch Feature Session


Hogan Levells

Lisa Ellman chairs the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Group for Hogan Lovells, a global law firm, where she’s a leading public policy lawyer focusing on domestic drones and other emerging technologies. Lisa is also the Co-executive director of the Commercial Drone Alliance, an independent 501c6 non-profit led by key figures of the commercial drone industry. The Alliance is dedicated to supporting commercial enterprise end users and assisting them with adoption of drone technology into their businesses, reducing barriers to entry, addressing public perception issues, and merging policy with innovation to create relevant rules for operation. Lisa has held a variety of positions at top levels of the Executive branch at the White House and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). In a series of presidential appointments, Lisa led work on high-priority policy initiatives for the Obama administration on issues spanning from open and transparent government to domestic use of UAS. Most recently, she led DOJ’s effort to develop policy that would govern the use of UAS in the United States. She also represented DOJ in the federal interagency process considering UAS-related policy issues that are shared across departments and agencies. Lisa’s opinions are often featured in publications and news broadcasts such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Associated Press, Fortune Magazine, Crain’s New York Business, NBC News San Francisco, San Francisco Chronicle, Bloomberg News Radio, HuffPost Live, and others. In February 2015, Lisa was featured in Fortune magazine’s “Most Powerful Women” series for her efforts to develop policy to govern drone use in the United States.



Emily Avant serves as legal counsel for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. In this role, she provides legal and strategic advice with respect to the company’s technology initiatives, including CNN’s drone operations and its participation in the FAA Pathfinder Program. Emily also provides legal counsel in connection with Turner’s “big data” efforts, its direct-to-consumer platforms, and its advertising technology transactions. She led CNN’s efforts to obtain the first-of-its-kind authorization from the FAA to operate drones over people. She is part of the core team that was awarded “Best Technology Group” by the Fulton County Daily Report in 2015. Emily graduated, from both the University of Georgia (B.S., Political Science) and the University of Georgia School of Law. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, Sewell, and two children. Emily is an avid kayaker and is a voracious consumer of news and politics.


Hogan Levells

Coming soon!

Double Feature Session
Google’s Feature Session: Planning and Publishing Drone Content with Google Tools


SPJ Training program in Partnership with the Google News Lab

Samaruddin “Sam” Stewart is a journalist and media technologist based in California. He currently trains journalists on how to best use Google tools for storytelling with the SPJ Training Program in partnership with the Google News Lab. Prior, he was a Knight Foundation grantee for his work in verification of user generated content for journalism and was also a Stanford University Knight Journalism Fellow. His prior work includes managing and editing roles at AOL News, Agence France-Presse, The Arizona Republic, and the U.S. Department of State. He began flying drones in 2013, but originally began his love for aerial photography during a 56-day global circumnavigation in a Grumman Albatross seaplane.

The Logistics of Caring: Innovation, Impact and Capacity Building


UPS Foundation

Joe oversees The UPS Humanitarian Relief & Resilience Program, directing The UPS Foundation’s $15 million annual investment in Disaster Resilience, Response and Recovery, combining philanthropic investments, technical expertise, skilled volunteerism, thought leadership collaboration, and global logistical support.  In this role, Joe leads the award-winning Medical Drone Network initiative launched in 2016 in Rwanda.

Closing Keynote: Drones in Natural Disasters


Atlanta Drone Group

Walt Wylupek oversees strategy, technology, and business development for Skyfire Consulting. Prior to Skyfire, Walt founded the company that manufactures the first electrically-switchable smart glass product available at a big box retailer, established an electronics brand ranked #1 in sales on Amazon, and created a top-selling automotive accessories brand. Walt is a former emergency medical technician who ran Emory University’s EMS program as Chief while working on his B.S. in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology. Outside of work, he enjoys the outdoors, tinkering with old machinery, and kickboxing.


SkyFire Consulting

Matt Sloane is the CEO and founder of Skyfire Consulting, a public safety focused UAV consultancy; and its parent company, Atlanta Drone Group. Skyfire specializes in helping police, fire and emergency management agencies complete the FAA Certificate of Authorization (COA) process, provides all of the necessary training, and helps departments select the most appropriate UAV equipment. Before he founded Atlanta Drone Group in 2014, Matt spent 14 years in various roles at CNN in Atlanta, including 12 as a medical news producer and special projects manager for Dr. Sanjay Gupta. In addition to his work there, he worked as a certified Emergency Medical Technician for Emory EMS, working his way up to Chief of Resources and Planning for the department. Matt is an inaugural member of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) technical committee on drones, and an FAA-certified pilot.