top of page

Symposium Speakers

Keynote Speaker

Casie Ocana is currently serving as the Director of Trusted Programs for AUVSI; leading programs that strengthen trust in the future of autonomy. With years of experience in disciplines across marketing and strategic communications, Casie brings expertise from an assortment of leading mobility, technology, and healthcare companies.  

Ocana Headshot.jpg

Most recently, Casie served as the Vice President of Marketing & Communications for Airspace Link, helping them to become a trusted and award-winning name in the UAS industry during her 2.5 year tenure. Casie also spent five years at Ford Motor Company, leading progressive and global initiatives for their marketing and communications team. Prior to joining Ford in Dearborn, MI, Casie spent five years in San Francisco working at a leading agency, AdTech and consumer brands, spearheading sales and marketing efforts.  Casie was recognized for her accomplishments through her appointment to a variety of leadership programs, including Ford Motor Company’s 30 Under Thirty Program in 2017 and Leadership Detroit Class XLIII. Casie also serves local and national nonprofits through volunteering, fundraising and board participation.


What is the FAASTeam - Community Outreach and Public Perception of Drones

Joey Roberts Headshot.jpg

Joey Roberts: As CrossFlight's Innovation and Technology Manager Joey employs his knowledge of web design, programming languages, Learning Management System development, film and photography skills, and problem solving to provide a unique point of view to their operations. 

Joey is a graduate of the University of South Carolina Beaufort with a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art with a concentration in Media Design and a minor in Computational Science. As a student at USCB Joey received his Part 107 Certification to provide aerial photography and videography to clients; leading him to his current position at CrossFlight and expanding his knowledge to all areas of sUAS operations. Joey has been a FAASTeam Member since 2021 as a DronePro where he employs his knowledge of drones and drone operations to educate the public on best practices when flying in the National Airspace System. Joey has also aided in the development of the SkillsUSA National Commercial sUAS Drone competition. Taking an enthusiastic approach to emerging technologies, Joey is excited to help with the integration of sUAS into the national airspace system with safe drone operations, technology and education. . 


Panel Discussion:  How Are State Agencies Using Drones

Ryan Reid is a dedicated full-time first responder and certified UAS FAA Part 107 operator at the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office. As the Drone Team Admin Program Coordinator, he leads 53 Part 107 certified remote operators and manages 16 drones, conducting over 250 monthly flights. 


Darryl Jones is the Forest Protection Chief for the South Carolina Forestry Commission. Darryl is a Wildland Firefighter, Certified Prescribed Fire Manager, and a Registered Forester, as well as a past president and current steering committee member of the SC Prescribed Fire Council. He holds a B.S. degree in Forest Resource Management from Clemson University


Scott Reynolds is a Senior Scientist with DHEC, having spent most of his 40 years with the Agency as Director of the Division of Air Quality Analysis. Scott has been heavily involved in the UAS project at DHEC, providing coordination during response and recovery for natural events and developing processes for integration of UAS and use of UAS to support all of DHEC’s environmental programs.  His focus is on developing pilots and the equipment, collaboration with other agencies, sharing best practices, and building the South Carolina’s Public Agency UAV community.  


Academic Lightning Talk

Dr. Joe Mari Maja is the center director of the Center of Artificial Intelligence for Sustainable Agriculture at SC State University. His primary role involves the development of this new center and collaborating with research scientists at SCSU and other universities, focusing on developing new agricultural technologies and helping small and medium-sized farms in South Carolina. Dr. Maja's expertise lies in developing innovative technologies to enhance farm operations and tackle current and potential future agricultural challenges.


Wayne McFee is a research wildlife biologist at the NOAA/National Ocean Service’s Hollings Marine Laboratory (HML) and has been the Program Lead for the Coastal Marine Mammal Assessments Program since 1993. Mr. McFee leads projects on microplastics in marine mammals and the use of UAS to conduct research on dolphin habitat use, distribution, and health parameters. He specializes in marine animal health, stranding demographics, causes of mortality, age and growth, reproduction, and skeletal pathology of stranded marine mammal species in South Carolina. 


Dr. Nikos Vitzilaios is an Assistant Professor of Robotics in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of South Carolina. He is the Director of the Unmanned Systems & Robotics Laboratory working on perception, navigation and control of unmanned systems focusing on unmanned aircraft. His lab has a fleet of 25 drones including commercial, customized, and in-house built systems.  At the UofSC he teaches courses in robotics, control theory, mechatronics and engineering graphics and visualization 

Mike Proud is the Lead Meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS) Columbia SC office. He began forecasting with the US Navy in 1994 and has been with the NWS since 2002. In addition to regular forecasting duties Mike is heavily involved in fire weather meteorology and serves as an Incident Meteorologist (IMET), which covers on-site forecasting for major events, primarily wildfires. In addition to providing support to the operational and planning objectives of wildfire forecasting, IMETs provide forecasts to the air operations section to include forecasts for all aviation assets, including drone flights. 

Mike Proud Headshot.jpg
bottom of page