The Future of Unmanned Systems:

National Security & First Responders

Mid-America Defense Conference

On September 18-19, 2013, the National Center for Complex Operations (NCCO) and Indiana State University presented the Mid-America Defense Conference, an informative event showcasing the use of unmanned systems in multiple national security and first response applications. These incredible platforms are having a profound impact around the globe in agriculture, public safety, drug-trafficking surveillance, disaster response, space exploration, weather forecasting, and even assessing events like the gulf oil-spill.

The Mid-America Defense Conference takes a comprehensive look at emerging and future unmanned system strategies and applications, and ways the government, academia, and industry are working closely together in innovative and symbolic relationships. In Indiana specifically, the “Indiana Defense Corridor” offers a unique blend of capabilities, assets, and personnel and infrastructure supporting the research, development, testing, evaluation, training and operation of unmanned systems and robotics unequaled anywhere in the world.

Honorable Wiliam H. Graham

Mayor William H. (Bill) Graham served as Mayor of Scottsburg from 1988-2019. Prior to being mayor, he served as councilman for 12 years on the City of Scottsburg Common Council and five years on the Scottsburg City Planning Commission. Mayor Graham has also provided support and actively participated in several economic development efforts in the region and the state including
the formation of the Community Building Quality Community taskforce to encourage economic development. One of the long-range plans was to create an incubator and international resource center for entrepreneurs and the military. With an $8 million investment through local, state and federal funding, the Mid-America Science Park was created. 

Honorable Sue Ellspermann

Sue Ellspermann served as the 50th Lt. Governor of Indiana from 2013-2016. She managed seven state agencies including the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, the Office of Energy Development, the Office of Defense Development, the Office of Community and Rural Affairs, and the Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship. She also served as President of the Indiana Senate and chairs the Indiana Counter Terrorism and Security Council. She graduated from Purdue as an industrial engineer and worked in engineering and management at Michelin and Frito-Lay. After earning her master’s degree and doctorate in industrial engineering at the University of Louisville, she established Ellspermann and Associates and began a 20-year consulting practice. She later became the founding director of the University of Southern Indiana’s Center for Applied Research and Economic Development.

Mr. Peter Denucci

Peter DeNucci holds the FAA Airline Transport Pilot’s license and has served over 30 years, with 18,000 hours as a major airline pilot. He is type rated as Captain on the Boeing 737, 757 and 767 as well as the Airbus 320, 321, and the international A-330. Before retiring from US Airways, Captain DeNucci started Apollo Publishing, Inc., which has been migrating aviation’s best practices into high reliability organizations, including unmanned vehicles and air traffic control.  Peter has authored several books, including Commander and Crew- The Human Factors Approach to Teambuilding
and Leadership – with the focus on safety and management protocol. Peter is currently a liaison with Unmanned Vehicle University, and is advocating the more than 200 commercial applications of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, with the focus on systems engineering, and the safe integration into the National Airspace System. 

Mr. John Hill

John H. Hill is the executive director of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. Hill is responsible for the state’s emergency management and homeland security efforts, which include planning and assessment, preparedness and training, emergency response and recovery, fire and building safety, and field services.  Hill oversees the strategic planning and response to emergencies, training of responders, application and disbursement of federal homeland security funds. He also is the emergency operations coordinator during state emergencies and the director of the Counter Terrorism and Security Council. In 2006, Hill served as Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) with the U.S. Department of Transportation and was involved in terrorism and hurricane response and emergency preparedness planning for natural disasters. 

Dr. Richard Honneywell

Colonel Dick Honneywell joined the Dayton Development Coalition in April 2012 as VP, Aerospace. He is responsible for aerospace business development and expansion in the Dayton region and State of Ohio. He leads implementation of initiatives including development of Unmanned Air Vehicles infrastructure, supply chain consolidation and expansion of maintenance, and repairs and overhaul capabilities. In 2011, Dick retired from civil service with more than 32 years of service in support
of the United States Air Force. His last duty position was serving as the Director of Nuclear Surety, HQ AFMC at Wright Patterson AFB. He also retired as Colonel from the Air Force Reserve with 30 years of service. He has held numerous acquisition management positions in the Air Force Research Laboratory, Aeronautical Systems Center, Electronic Systems Center and HQ Air Force Materiel Command.

Brigadier General Mike Kiefer

Michael A. Kiefer (Mike) is a partner in the Indianapolis law firm of Kiefer & Valenzuela, LLP, where his practice concentrates on issues relating to the credit union industry and to government contracts. Mike is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the Indiana University (Indianapolis) Law School and a graduate of the U.S. Army War College. He is a member of the Indiana Bar and Florida Bar. Mike is a retired Brigadier General and his last assignment was as the Land Component Commander, Joint Forces Headquarters, Indiana. 

Mr. Chad Pittman

Chad Pittman is the chief of staff and executive vice-president for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) where he serves alongside Secretary of Commerce Victor
Smith and IEDC president Eric Doden. Under Pittman’s leadership, the IEDC has secured
nearly 1,000 decisions by companies to locate a projected 101,000 new jobs and $16 billion in capital investment in the state since 2009. He has also represented Indiana in hundreds of high-profile negotiations, including the CityWay project in downtown Indianapolis, the Rolls-Royce consolidation and Chrysler’s $1.5-billion investments. Prior to joining the IEDC, Pittman completed his second tour of duty in Iraq during which he served as an infantry company commander earning a bronze star. Pittman is a graduate of the Indiana University School of Law and holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Indiana University. 

Mr. Duane Embree

Duane Embree serves as the Director of the Indiana Office of Defense Development.  This state agency focuses on promoting and growing the Indiana defense sector’s military installations, defense industry, and academic assets through local, state and regional economic development organizations and by commercialization of defense and federal intellectual property to create new products, companies and jobs. Duane is a retired member of the Senior Executive Service with the Department of Navy, servicing most recently as the Technical Director of the Crane Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center. Duane holds a B.S in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University and a Master of Public Affairs from Indiana University. 

Brigadier General Jeffrey Hauser

Brigadier General Jeffrey W. Hauser is Assistant Adjutant General – Air, Indiana National Guard. He also serves as the Indiana Joint Force Headquarters Air Component Commander. He has the overall responsibility for the organization, training and equipage of the 122nd Fighter Wing in Fort Wayne (A-10), the 181st Intelligence Wing in Terre Haute, the Atterbury Air-to-Ground Gunnery Range in Edinburgh, Jefferson Air-to-Ground Gunnery Range in Madison, the 207th Weather Flight in Indianapolis and has direct supervision of the Indiana Joint Force Headquarters staff. He serves as a principal advisor to The Adjutant General on all programs and operations affecting the Indiana Air National Guard. His aviation career includes more than 2,000 hours flying and instructing in the F-16, F-4, T-38, and T-37.  Hauser holds a bachelor’s degree in Aviation from Indiana State University and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Indiana Wesleyan University. 

Ms. Melissa Buell

Melissa Buell is the Indiana Department of Homeland Security District 7 TaskForce Commander, and has held the position since 2007. As the TaskForce 7 Commander, she has received invaluable training and experience in areas such as incident management, mentoring, planning, leadership, resource management and curriculum development. Melissa’s decade of experience in emergency response preparedness, incident management, education and training has been consistently demonstrated since serving as Commander. Her most recent experience has included serving
as Deputy Incident Commander for District 7 Type 1 All Hazards Incident Management Team response to Hurricane Sandy, Long Beach, New York as well as the March 2012 Tornado Disaster in Southern Indiana. In 2012, she became owner and
 CEO of Mission Ready Consulting, which specializes in emergency response training and exercise consulting. 

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