2021 NBAA-BACE Keynotes
- Day 1 Keynote – Tuesday, Oct. 12, 8:30 a.m. – 10 a.m.
- Day 2 Keynote – Wednesday, Oct. 13, 9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Start the day Tuesday and Wednesday in a most epic and exciting way with NBAA-BACE Keynotes! This year, the presentations are bringing innovation, motivation and inspiration, to the stage – and straight to you. Don’t miss your chance to hear from leaders in aviation and incredible technology masterminds, and get inspired by a hilarious and heartwarming tale that kicked off with a major career pivot.
Day 1 Keynote
Tuesday, Oct. 12, 8:30 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Las Vegas Convention Center, W4
Chairperson & CEO, United Therapeutics
Martine Rothblatt is Chairperson & CEO of United Therapeutics, a biotechnology company she started to save the life of one of her daughters. The company offers FDA approved medicines for pulmonary hypertension and neuroblastoma and is working on manufacturing an unlimited supply of transplantable organs. The company built and operates from the world’s largest site zero carbon footprint building (the “Unisphere”), and is repeatedly selected as one of the best medium size companies at which to work.
Dr. Rothblatt previously created and led Sirius XM as its Chairman & CEO and launched other satellite systems for navigation and international television broadcasting. In the field of aviation her SiriusXM satellite system enhances safety with real-time digital weather information to pilots in flight nationwide. She also designed the world’s first electric helicopter and piloted it to a Guinness world record for speed, altitude and flight duration.
In the legal arena, Dr. Rothblatt led efforts of the transgender community to establish their own health law standards, and of the International Bar Association to protect autonomy rights in genetic information via an international treaty. She also published dozens of scholarly articles and papers on the law of outer space, resulting in her election to the International Institute of Space Law, and represented the radio astronomy community’s scientific research interests before the Federal Communications Commission.
She has Bachelor’s (Communications Studies, Summa Cum Laude), JD (Order of the Coif) and MBA degrees from UCLA, which in 2018 awarded her its highest recognition, the UCLA Medal, as well as a Ph.D. in Medical Ethics from the Royal London School of Medicine & Dentistry. Her patented inventions cover aspects of satellite communication, medicinal biochemistry, electric aviation and cognitive software.
Dr. Rothblatt’s recent books are on xenotransplantation (Your Life or Mine), gender identity (Transgender to Transhuman) and cyberethics (Virtually Human).
Steve Dickson was sworn in as the FAA administrator for a five-year term on Aug. 12, 2019. At the FAA, Administrator Dickson has been a staunch advocate for safety, global leadership, operational excellence, and the health, welfare and evolution of the FAA’s workforce.
Before coming to the FAA, Dickson spent nearly three decades at Delta Air Lines, retiring as the senior vice president of flight operations. In this role, he was responsible for the safety and operational performance of global flight operations, as well as pilot training, crew resources, crew scheduling and regulatory compliance. During his career, he flew the Airbus A320 and the Boeing 727, 737, 757 and 767. Captain Dickson previously served as chairman of several industry stakeholder groups and federal advisory committees.
Dickson is a distinguished graduate of the Class of 1979 at the United States Air Force Academy. He graduated from Georgia State University College of Law, magna cum laude. While on active duty, he flew the T-38 Talon supersonic jet trainer and F-15 Eagle fighter jet.
Project Lead, Mars Ingenuity Helicopter, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Theodore (Teddy) Tzanetos was the tactical lead for the cruise and surface operations of the Mars Helicopter. During development he led the assembly, test and launch operations (ATLO) acting as the interface between Mars2020 and Ingenuity.
Tzanetos graduated Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a B.S. in computer science and engineering in 2012, and a masters in engineering in 2013. He worked at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, was the head of technology for the Drone Racing League and served as senior software engineer at Samsung Research of America. He has worked at JPL since 2017, working on Tango-on-Racing Quadcopters (ToRQ), the ATHENA rover, Ingenuity Mars Helicopter and as a principal investigator for Mars Science Helicopter SRTD.
Comedian, Emmy-Nominated Actor, U.S. Marine & Trained Pilot
Rob Riggle is loved not only for his starring roles in shows like Saturday Night Live and Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, but also his performances in movies including Talladega Nights, 21 Jump Street, The Hangover and his groundbreaking appearances on FOX NFL Sunday. Riggle currently hosts his own show on the Discovery Channel, Rob Riggle: Global Investigator.
In addition to his acting and comedy career, Riggle spent 23 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. After joining the Marines at age 19, he was with Marine Training Unit 17, at ground zero on 9/11, removing rubble by hand as part of the search-and-rescue effort. He trained as a pilot and retired in 2013 from the Marine Corps Reserves as a lieutenant colonel. He also served nine years in active duty in Kosovo, Liberia, Albania and Afghanistan, earning 22 medals, including the Combat Action Ribbon.
Day 2 Keynote
Wednesday, Oct. 13, 9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Las Vegas Convention Center, W4
Advanced Air Mobility Panel
Executive Chairman & Co-Founder, jetAVIVA & Co-founder & Managing Partner, UP.Partners
Cyrus Sigari is co-founder and managing partner of UP.Partners, an early-stage venture firm investing in technology companies that are supporting a multi-dimensional future. He is an active investor and advisor to numerous AAM companies, co-founder of the UP Summits and founder of TransportUP, the leading AAM-related news and media company. Sigari also serves as the executive chairman and co-founder of jetAVIVA, one of the largest sellers of business jets in the world with annual sales in excess of $400 million. Sigari has been flying for more than 27 years and piloting aircraft for thousands of hours. He is an instructor on 13 different jets, including the Boeing 747. He has owned dozens of aircraft, is a helicopter pilot and owner, a graduate of Purdue University’s Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering program, an experienced acceptance test pilot and formerly a nationally-ranked competitive aerobatic pilot.
Head of Product, JOBY Aviation
Eric Allison is the head of product at Joby Aviation. He most recently led the Elevate team at Uber, developing software tools that built on more than a decade of experience enabling on-demand mobility. His experience in aerospace research, electric propulsion, energy storage, vehicle autonomy and composite structures led him to the CEO position at Zee Aero, where he spearheaded the development of Cora, an autonomous air taxi vehicle. Allison holds a PhD in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford, an MS in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford and a BS from the Milwaukee School of Engineering.
CEO, Beta Technologies
Kyle Clark is the founder and CEO of BETA Technologies, a South Burlington, VT based company building an electric-powered transportation ecosystem. At BETA, he’s part of a relentlessly focused team building the most extensive charging infrastructure in the United States; developing innovative motors, inverters and batteries; and designing and flying the most technologically advanced electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft in the world. BETA’s products and services enable the movement of cargo and people around the world safely, efficiently and with minimal environmental impact. Prior to founding BETA Technologies, Clark co-founded Venture.co and was director of engineering at Dynapower, where he and his team of programmers, engineers and technicians developed a full line of inverters, pulse modulators and control systems. Previously, Clark was a founding partner and vice president of engineering at iTherm Technologies. Before he became a serial entrepreneur, Clark played right wing in the NHL’s Washington Capitals organization. Clark is a Certified Flight Instructor and a licensed commercial airplane pilot and helicopter driver. He holds a degree in Materials Science and Engineering from Harvard University, where he studied flight dynamics and control algorithms.
CEO, Jaunt Air Mobility
Martin Peryea has more than 40 years of experience in aviation. Before starting Jaunt Air Mobility in 2019, Peryea held senior management positions at Triumph Aerospace Structures and Bell Helicopter. Under his leadership, he was responsible for multimillion-dollar aircraft programs. Peryea has certified several aircraft, including two from clean-sheet design through commercialization.
CEO, Kittyhawk Corporation
Sebastian Thrun is the CEO of Kittyhawk, an innovative startup focused on advanced air mobility. Kittyhawk has developed a series of electric eVTOL airplanes, which are presently tested in California. Prior to Kittyhawk, Thrun founded Google’s X innovation lab, along with the Google self-driving car project, now known as Waymo. Thrun holds over 50 patents and has authored over 400 scientific publications. He was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering at age 39, for his contributions to artificial intelligence and self-driving cars. Thrun served as tenured professor at Stanford University, where he ran the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab for nearly a decade. He holds a PhD in Computer Science along with three honorary doctorates.
CEO, Overair, Inc.
Benjamin Tigner leads Overair, the advanced air mobility spin-off of Karem Aircraft that is developing and commercializing its all-electric Butterfly EVTOL. Prior to leading Overair, Tigner pioneered the development of innovative fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, both crewed and uncrewed. He previously served as the president of Karem Aircraft, the chief engineer of the Boeing A160 program and the vice president of engineering at Frontier Systems. In addition to several patents, Tigner holds a PhD in Physics and an MS in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University, as well as a BA in Physics from Cornell University. He is also a private pilot.
President, Blade Urban Air Mobility, Inc.
Melissa Tomkiel is the president and general counsel of Blade Urban Air Mobility, Inc., a technology-powered, global urban air mobility platform committed to reducing travel friction by enabling cost-effective air transportation alternatives to some of the most congested ground routes in the U.S. and abroad. Tomkiel began her career at Blade in 2015 as its president of fixed-wing operations and general counsel. Prior to Blade, Tomkiel was President of LIMA NY Corp., a commuter air carrier operating amphibious seaplanes and rotorcraft. From 2006 to 2010, Tomkiel was a corporate attorney in the New York office of Pryor Cashman.
Dr. Sian Proctor
Astronaut, Pilot – Inspiration4, Geoscientist, and Space Artist
Dr. Sian Proctor is a geoscientist, explorer, space artist and astronaut. She is the mission pilot for the Inspiration4 all-civilian orbital mission to space and one of The Explorer’s Club 50: Fifty People Changing the World. Her motto is called Space2inspire where she encourages people to use their unique, one-of-a-kind strengths, and passion to inspire those within their reach and beyond. She believes that we need to actively strive for a J.E.D.I. space: a just, equitable, diverse and inclusive space as we advance human spaceflight.
Procter uses her afrofuturism space art to encourage conversations about women of color in the space industry. She’s also an analog astronaut and has completed four analog missions including the all-female SENSORIA Mars 2020 mission at the Hawai’i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) Habitat, the NASA funded 4-months Mars mission at HI-SEAS, a 2-weeks Mars mission at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) and a 2-weeks Moon mission in the LunAres Habitat. She believes that when we solve for space, we also solve issues on Earth. She promotes sustainable food practices used in space exploration as a way to reduce food waste on Earth. She has a TEDx talk called Eat Like a Martian and published the Meals for Mars Cookbook.
Proctor is a continuing NASA Solar System Ambassador and serves on the Explore Mars Board of Directors, JustSpace Alliance Advisory Board, the Science in the Wild Advisory Board, the SEDS USA Advisory Board and the National Science Teaching Association’s Aerospace Advisory Board.
In 2019, she was the science communication outreach officer on the JOIDES Resolution Expedition 383 and spent 2-months at sea with researchers investigating the Dynamics of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. She also participated in the 2-week faculty development seminar Exploring Urban Sustainability in India. She was a 2017 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Teacher at Sea, a 2016 Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassador (ACEAP), and a 2014 PolarTREC Teacher investigating climate change in Barrow, AK. She is a Major in the Civil Air Patrol and serves as a member of the Arizona Wing Aerospace Education Officer.
Proctor spent 21 years as a professor teaching geology, sustainability and planetary science at South Mountain Community College, Phoenix, AZ. She is currently the Open Educational Resource Coordinator for the Maricopa Community College District. She has a B.S. in Environmental Science, an M.S. in Geology and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction: Science Education. She recently finished a sabbatical at Arizona State University’s Center for Education Through Exploration creating virtual field trips. She did her 2012-13 sabbatical at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Emergency Management Institute developing their science of disasters curriculum. She has appeared in multiple international science shows and is currently on A World Without NASA and Strange Evidence.
Day 2 Special Guest
Olympic Alpine Skier
Travel provided by Textron Aviation
Lindsey Vonn is the most decorated American ski racer in history and is widely regarded as one of the greatest of all time.
Vonn burst onto the international skiing scene in 1999 at the age of 14 and has since captivated the world with her perseverance and superhuman abilities on the slopes. She’s won four World Cup overall championships – one of only two female skiers to do so with three consecutive titles in 2008, 2009 and 2010, plus another in 2012. Vonn won the gold medal in downhill at the 2010 Winter Olympics, the first one for an American woman. She also won a record eight World Cup season titles in the downhill discipline (2008-2013, 2015, 2016); five titles in super-G (2009-2012, 2015) and three consecutive titles in the combined (2010–2012). In 2016, she won her 20th World Cup crystal globe title, the overall record for men or women. Her total of 82 World Cup victories is a women’s record.
Although Vonn single-handedly put American ski racing on the map, her journey was punctuated by devastating setbacks and brutal injuries – a broken ankle, gruesome bruises and critical damage to a nerve in her arm, just to name a few. For those who’ve struggled to pick themselves up after facing a downfall, Vonn’s blind resolve isn’t just inspirational; it’s hard to put into words. Her fearlessness is what made her successful and what pushed her past genuine limits.
Lindsey is also a New York Times Bestselling author for her 2016 debut book Strong Is the New Beautiful: Embrace Your Natural Beauty, Eat Clean, and Harness Your Power. She has served as an International Games Ambassador in the 2018 Winter Olympics and is also the founder of the Lindsey Vonn Foundation, which supports girls through scholarships, education and athletics.
In February 2019, Lindsey announced her retirement from ski racing and that same year commemorated her final season with the release of her HBO documentary “Lindsey Vonn: The Final Season.” Since her retirement, Lindsey has launched a production company, Après Productions, seeking to chronicle stories of sport, women and determination. And as an extra thrill, she added the title of “Host” to her resume with the premiere of the Amazon Prime Video show The Pack where Lindsey and her dog, Lucy, host a global family-friendly reality competition series.
With her vast social media following, growing portfolio of books, TV projects, investments and commitment to her namesake Foundation, Lindsey looks forward to the next chapter of her life as she continues to build her legacy and empower women of all ages across the globe.
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