The Center of Excellence for UAS Research, Education, and Training
collaborates across campus. Utilizing the established research
university, the UAS Center expands its resources and research
opportunities far beyond aviation. The John D. Odegard School of
Aerospace Sciences, the School of Engineering and Mines, and the
Northern Plains Center for Behavioral Research are three invaluable
university resources that make such opportunities possible.
1970 UND graduate with a Bachelor of Science in mathematics and education, Smith
earned a Ph.D. in Instructional Design and Development from Florida State University
in 1984 and a Master of Arts in educational technology from Arizona State University
in 1975. While at UND, he was named an NCAA football All American.
As Director of Training at Delta Airlines in Atlanta Ga, he was responsible for
ground training of Delta's pilots, initial recruitment and training of flight attendants,
and a major portion of maintenance training for technical operations and management
of day to day operations of Delta's training center.
Before joining Delta, Smith was with Hughes/Raytheon Training Inc. (1991-98) as
Program Manager responsible for the program management of new and ongoing Raytheon
Programs at Boeing Commercial Airplane Group (1997-98). He was Senior Scientist
responsible for technical direction, leadership and consultation within Hughes Training
Inc. for all instructional design, education and training capabilities (1992-97).
Smith is nationally known and recognized as a leading authority in the aviation
training field. He is the author of more than 40 technical reports and refereed
journal articles in the areas of human performance, aviation training, and aircrew
training systems. He spent eight years as a flight instructor with the United States
Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. and USAF Undergraduate Pilot Training
at Williams Air Force Base, Arizona.
Brig. Gen. Alan W. Palmer — Director, Center for UAS Research, Education and Training for John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences
Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Studies from the University of North Dakota
Alan W. Palmer is Director, Center for UAS Research, Education and Training for John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, University of North Dakota. Mr. Palmer has been with UND since 1978 and was involved as Director, Flight Operations and in the development and implementation of the SPECTRUM airline training program.
Mr. Palmer has over 40 years of academic and flight instruction experience. He has accumulated over 9,400 hours of flying time, of which over 5,900 are as an instructor pilot. He is a designated pilot examiner for Private, Commercial, Instrument, Multi-engine Land, ATP, BE-1900 and BE400. He holds type ratings in the Cessna Citation, CE-500; CE-525; Beechcraft B1900 Airliner, BE-1900; the Beechcraft King Air 300, BE-300 and the Beechjet MU-300/BE-400.
Mr. Palmer began his career in Aviation with the United States Air Force, leaving active duty to join John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences. He continued his military career with the North Dakota Air National Guard. He served as Logistics and Support Group Commander for the 119th Fighter Wing, retiring as the Chief of Staff with the Rank of Brigadier General.
1984 – M.A. Management – Central Michigan University
1974 – B.S. - Agricultural Education – North Dakota State University
Dr. Lindseth has over 4,000 hours of flight time, mostly as an instructor. He brings
a unique blend of both fixed wing and rotary wing experience to the Aviation faculty.
In addition, he has expertise in the area of human factors research. Dr. Lindseth
teaches both fixed wing and rotary wing private pilot courses, and the Commercial
Pilot Aircraft Systems courses. He also teaches Aviation Safety, Basic Attitude
Instrument Flying, and Helicopter Aerodynamics.
With a Ph.D. degree in Education from the University of Michigan,
Dr. Lindseth has been able to establish his expertise in the area of Human Factors
Research, publishing refereed articles in the Journal of Aviation, Space and Environmental
Medicine and the Journal of Aviation/Aerospace Education and Research. In addition,
he has contributed articles to the Collegiate Aviation Review, several issues of
Prevention magazine and numerous other magazines and newsletters.
In 2003, Dr. Lindseth was awarded a $650,000 U.S. Army Research
Grant to study the effects of dietary intakes on cognition and flight performance.
He holds both airplane and rotorcraft-helicopter commercial/instrument ratings as
well as Ground Instructor and Certified Flight Instructor ratings.
Ganged Phased Array Radar System Lead Scientist
Dr. Askelson is an Associate Professor of Atmospheric Sciences.
He brings to the team over 15 years of research and applications experience with
weather radar, including advanced applications involving radar polarimetry and phased
array technologies. His areas of expertise include radar meteorology,
numerical weather prediction, and data assimilation. His current
research efforts include the estimation of precipitation occurrence and amounts
using multiple sensing platforms (including radar and satellite) for application
to surface transportation needs (maintenance and traveler information), the development
of new analysis techniques for the analysis and prediction of fine-scale phenomena
of interest to the United States Army, and the determination of physical processes
important to tornado development in supercell thunderstorms.
Relevant experiences include the following:
Lead research on the utilization of polarimetric radar data to determine conditions
within tornadic and nontornadic storms, including the design of scanning strategies
and the quantitative utilization of radar data.
Pavement Precipitation Accumulation System * Designed and developed this system,
in which radar is a primary data source, for the estimation of precipitation occurrence
and amounts for surface transportation interests.
Lead research on the development of new analysis techniques for the analysis and
prediction of fine-scale phenomena of interest to the U.S. Army.
Taught classes on radar meteorology and participated in 13 different field programs
in various roles (flight scientist, team leader, etc.).
1973 - B.S. - Professional Aviation - Louisiana Tech University
Dr. Bridewell joined the University of North Dakota in January 1985. He has been a Certified Flight Instructor since 1972
and holds an ATP certificate with over 5000 hours of flight experience, including flight time as a bush pilot and corporate
aviation pilot. As a collegiate aviation educator he has broad academic expertise that includes flight instructing, flight
program management, flight and academic curriculum development, and classroom instruction. Past research has concentrated
on the interactions between aviation industry, collegiate aviation institutions, and aviation instructors, but he has also
been involved in human factors research related to alcohol, age, time of day, and altitude effects upon pilots. Highlights
of his academic service record include serving as chair for a number of university committees and chair of the University
Senate, as well as coaching the UND Flying Team to five national championships.
At present, Dr. Bridewell is the Principal Investigator/Program Manager for a cooperative effort between the UND Center for
Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research, Education, and Training and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), 711th Human Performance
Wing, Warfighter Readiness Research Division. Under that agreement, a state-of-the-art program is being developed to provide a
training pipeline for agencies and corporations to educate pilots and sensor operators in the fundamental knowledge and skill sets
required to operate medium-sized Remotely Piloted Aircraft.
Bob Concannon — Associate Professor Center
for UAS Research, Education and Training for John D. Odegard School of Aerospace
Mr. Concannon currently serves as a part-time UAS Research Assistant.
He also works for General Atomics as an Instructor Pilot for U.S. Customs
and Border Protection (CBP) at Grand Forks Air Force Base, flying the MQ-9
Predator B. Previously as the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Curriculum Coordinator,
he was developing the curriculum for the upcoming UAS degree program. He had
written the introductory class and has taught that class to undergraduate students
and faculty members. Bob also developed a training program to teach students to fly
the CropCam UAS and act as observers as part of the university's research program.
He has written and submitted to the FAA numerous Certificates of Authorization and
Waiver (COA) to fly the CropCam and Bruce Tharpe Super Hauler in the National Air
Space (NAS). The Bruce Tharpe Super Hauler is being flown to test payloads for the UND
Mr. Concannon graduated from Southwest Missouri State University in 1977 with a BS in Agricultural Business
and in 2012 from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University with a MS in Aviation. He started his flying career by
joining the Air Force in 1982. Attending Flight Screening and Officers Training School in April 1982, he went
on to Undergraduate Pilot Training at Williams AFB, AZ graduating in August of 1983. He spent 13 years in the
Air Force flying the A-10 and F-117 in the United States and overseas, accumulating nearly 2,500 hour of
flying time. While on active duty Mr. Concannon attended the prestigious Fighter Weapons Instructor
Course at Nellis AFB, NV. He also attended Squadron Officers School at Maxwell AFB, AL and Electronic Warfare School, Hurlburt Field, FL.
Mr. Concannon holds the following certifications ATP multi-engine land and commercial
instrument single engine land.
Michael P. Corcoran — UAS Course Manager, John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, University of North Dakota UAS Center of Excellence
2012 – U.S. Army ILE
2009 - Master's Certificate Project Management, ESI International ICW George Washington University and the Department of Homeland Security
2005 – National Test Pilot School, Mojave, CA (OT&E short course)
2003 – Certified Information Security Professional (CISSP), ISC2
1999 – U.S. Army Intelligence Center, Ft. Huachuca, AZ (Military Intelligence Advance Course)
1995 – U.S. Army Aviation Center, Ft. Rucker, AL (Army Rotary Wing flight school)
1994 – B.A. Criminal Justice Studies, St. Cloud State University; Distinguished Military Graduate
2012 – UAS Course Manager (MALE and HALE), University of North Dakota UAS COE
2007 – Director of Air Operations and GFR, U.S. CBP Office of Air and Marine, Predator-B Operations
2004 – U.S. Customs Service / I.C.E. / Customs and Border Protection Federal Agent
2002 – National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (formerly NIMA), Aviation Analyst
1994 – U. S. Army, Aviation and Military Intelligence Officer
Accomplishments and Background
As both a pilot and technical Program Manager, Mike Corcoran brings a broad range of strength to the
University of North Dakota’s School of Aerospace Sciences. Massing over 22 years and 3000 hours of
flying experience, Mike is dual-rated in rotary and fixed wing aircraft, holding both FAA ATP and
Senior Army Aviator certificates. Culminating as the founding Director of Air Operations for Predator-B
flight operations at the Grand Forks AFB, Mike leverages combined experience as a Federal Agent and OT&E
pilot for DHS aircraft and sensor acquisition programs. As a pilot, the overwhelming majority of Mike’s
aviation experience comes from in-the-field activities while performing flight crew duties and senior
program leader roles. Dual-branched as an Army Aviation and Military Intelligence Officer, with multiple
international deployments in UH60 Blackhawk helicopters and RC12N Guardrail airplanes, Mike sustains a
comprehensive, aviation background in government programs which positions him to seamlessly direct
technical projects related to UAS/RPA, Remote Sensing, Imagery Intelligence and Signal Intelligence disciplines.
Paul’s educational background includes a Master of Science Degree in Instructional
Design and Technology, University of North Dakota, Bachelor of Professional Aeronautics
Embry Riddle Aeronautical University; Paul has worked as a Tower and Radar Air Traffic
Controller from January 1979 to July of 1998. From September of 1998 until present
Paul has been a faculty member at the University of North Dakota. Paul is also the
Director of Contract Training for the UND Aerospace Foundation managing ICAO Air
Traffic Control Training Programs from 2000 to present. Paul is currently Co-Director
of the FAA AT-CTI Air Traffic Control program at the University of North Dakota.
Mr. Nelson currently serves as a UND UAS Research Assistant and UAS Pilot. He is certified by ALPA, having completed the Advanced Accident Investigated Course. He served the University as an MQ-9 Instructor/Evaluator for Customs and Border Protection at the Grand Forks AFB from 2008-2009.
Mr. Nelson graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1986. He graduated from Specialized Undergraduate Navigator Training in 1988 from Mather AFB, CA, and went on to graduate with honors from Undergraduate Pilot Training in 1991 at Williams AFB, AZ. He started a 25-year military career in the Duluth, MN, Air National Guard, with follow on assignments at Tyndall AFB, FL, and Langley AFB, VA. He has over 3500 flight hours in T-43, T-37, T-38, AT-38, F-4C/D, and F-16A/B, MQ-1 and MQ-9 aircraft systems. He retired from the 119th Wing, home of the “Happy Hooligans” in Fargo, ND, in 2008. As a Command Pilot and Instructor, he served as the Airspace Manager, Chief of Training, Chief of Wing Plans, Chief of Weapons and Tactics, Chief of Safety, and Operations Support Squadron Commander. Mr. Nelson holds commercial instrument single engine land and mulit-engine ratings. He is has been an instructor in the MQ-1, MQ-9 and F-16. He became a member of the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, and the UND UAS Center of Excellence for UAS Research, Education and Training in November, 2008.
Ric Ferraro — Director of General/Experimental PhD program
F. R. Ferraro completed his BA degree in psychology at SUNY-Potsdam (1982), and
his MA (1986) and PhD (1989) in Experimental Psychology from the University of Kansas.
From 1989-1992, he was a neuropsychology postdoctoral fellow in both the psychology
department and the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Washington University
in St. Louis.
Since 1992, he has been a member of the psychology department and risen through
the ranks of professor (Assistant, Associate, Full) and been tenured at the University
of North Dakota (UND). He currently serves as the Director of General/Experimental
PhD program and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the areas of Developmental
Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Neuropsychology, and Adulthood & Aging. He
has published over 180 papers, book chapters and book reviews and has made over
220 presentations locally, nationally, and internationally in the areas of cognitive
aging, gerontology, and information processing.
Ferraro has also reviewed over 400 manuscripts for over 50 professional journals
and currently sits on the editorial boards of 9 journals. In 2005, Ferraro received
the Thomas J. Clifford award for his research. In 2007, Ferraro was awarded the
Chester Fritz Distinguished Professorship, the highest faculty honor at UND. His
human factors interests started in 1983 and he is currently a Member of the Human
Factors & Ergonomics Society. From a human factors perspective, he has published
papers dealing with reading text from a computer screen, how individuals comprehend
written and auditory information, attention allocation, dual-task processing, divided
attention, text processing, information processing and cognition. He teaches both
the undergraduate and graduate level classes in cognitive psychology as well as
classes in development and aging.
Alan Frazier — Assistant professor within the University of North Dakota's Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences
Alan Frazier is an assistant professor within the University of North Dakota’s Odegard
School of Aerospace Sciences. Courses taught include: Public Safety Aviation; Helicopter
Aerodynamics; General Aviation Management and Operations; Instrument Regulations
and Procedures; and Introduction to Aviation. Professor Frazier also serves as a
flight instructor and stage check pilot providing instruction in airplanes (land
and sea) and helicopters. He has accumulated over 6100 hours of pilot-in-command
flight time with over 3400 hours as a flight instructor. He holds an FAA Airline
Transport Pilot Certificate and is rated to fly airplanes (single and multiengine),
helicopters and gliders.
Professor Frazier served as a law enforcement officer for over 30 years. His police
assignments included Patrol; Special Enforcement; SWAT-Hostage Negotiations; Internal
Affairs/Training; and Air Support. He is the former officer-in-charge of the Glendale
(CA) Police Air Support Unit where he accumulated over 800 hours of turbine helicopter
flight time supporting police operations including numerous high speed pursuits
and covert counter-narcotics surveillances. Professor Frazier has also served as
a National Park Service Ranger-Pilot supporting law enforcement operations at Katmai
National Park and Preserve, Alaska.
Professor Frazier possesses a BS degree from Middle Tennessee State University (aerospace
administration) and an MPA degree from the University of Southern California (public
Current research includes the establishment of the Red River Regional Air Support
Unit, a multi—jurisdictional law enforcement air support partnership; Application
of UAS to law enforcement missions; and EMS heliport lighting.
Emmanuel Grant, Ph.D. — Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of North Dakota
Emanuel S. Grant received a B.Sc. from the University of the West Indies, MCS from Florida Atlantic University, and a Ph.D. from Colorado State University, all in Computer Science. Since 2008, he is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of North Dakota, USA, where he started as an Assistant Professor in 2002. His research interests are in software development methodologies, formal specification techniques, domain-specific modeling languages, and model driven software development.
Emanuel is an adjunct professor at the Holy Angel University, Philippines, where he is conducting research on software engineering teaching with collaborators from HELP University College, Malaysia, Rochester Institute of Technology, New York, Baylor University, Texas, Montclair State University, New Jersey, and University of North Carolina Wilmington, North Carolina. Emanuel is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
Mark Hastings — Chief Pilot for Unmanned Aircraft systems for the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences
Mark Hastings is the Chief Pilot for Unmanned Aircraft systems for the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.
He holds a commercial pilot certificate with instrument rating in both single and multi-engine aircraft, CFI, CFII, MEI.
He provides flight instruction and check airman duties in a wide variety of aircraft including the CRJ-200 and King Air
C90. His experiences also include integral roles in aerospace employee management and the development and implementation
of standard operating procedures. Mark holds Operator and Maintenance level I & II certification on the Boeing/INSITU
Scott S. Kroeber — Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Research Assistant, Center for UAS Research Education and Training, Aviation Department, JDOSAS, UND
B.S. Geography, University of North Dakota, May 1986
M.S. Geography, University of North Dakota, December 2002
2011 - Present Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Research Assistant, Center for UAS Research Education and Training, Aviation Department, JDOSAS, UND
1995 - 2011 GIS-Remote Sensing Specialist, Faculty Research Assistant, RWIC/Surface Transportation Weather Research Center (STWRC), John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, UND
1993 – 1995 Geographical Information System (GIS) Technician, Regional Weather Information Center (RWIC), John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, UND
1991 – 1996 Hazardous Materials Coordinator, Atmospheric Sciences Department, John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, UND
1989 – 1992 Meteorology Lab Coordinator, Atmospheric Sciences Department, John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, UND
1986 – 1988 Weather Radar Research Technician, Atmospheric Sciences Department, John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences (JDOSAS), University of North Dakota (UND)
Post-Doctorate – Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
PhD – St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO
M.S – University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
B.S – North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND
RN, C.N.S., F.A.D.A., FAAN
Dr. Lindseth serves as Associate Dean and Director of Research for the College of
Nursing at the University of North Dakota. Her research focuses on the nutritional
effects associated with performance and gastrointestinal distress of 'at-risk'
populations. Her primary research funding sources have included the National Institutes
of Health (NIH), the Department of Defense, and the Retirement Research Foundation.
Dr. Lindseth has also been instrumental in gaining NIH funding for construction
and development of the Northern Plains Center for Behavioral Research on the UND
campus, a state-of-the-art research facility scheduled to open this fall. She is
now focused on securing additional funding to build a clinical research infrastructure
in the NPCBR. This work is being facilitated through a funded planning grant from
the NIH to establish a Northern Plains Center for Research Translation. The goal
being a successful Clinical and Translational Sciences Award (CTSA) application
that would provide funding towards translational research on behavioral science
and health promotion. Dr. Lindseth is also a Co-investigator on a State Center of
Excellence for Economic Development award from the State of North Dakota.
1998 – Ph.D. in Computer Science, North Dakota State University
1995 – M.S. in Computer Science, North Dakota State University
1985 – B.S. in Physics, North Dakota State University
Computer Science Courses:
Graduate Level: Computer Graphics I, Advanced Computer Graphics, and Programming
Languages and Paradigms
Undergraduate Level: Computer Architecture, Operating Systems I, Computer Graphics
Dr. Ronald Marsh joined the University of North Dakota faculty in 1999 as an assistant
professor of Computer Science. He was promoted to the rank of associate professor
Dr. Marsh brings to the team over 23 years of research and applications experience
with the design of weapons systems, including image processing, target recognition,
and optical design. Dr. Marsh was an optical engineer with the Naval Air Warfare
Center, China Lake, Ca. for 8 years where he contributed to the design of several
naval weapons systems. His current research efforts include image processing, computer
graphics, and computer science education. Relevant experiences include the following:
Lead engineer for the development of a 4-f optical correlator as part of a proposed
upgrade for the cruise missile’s target recognition system.
Lead engineer for the development and deployment of a naval sensor suite.
Lead engineer for the development of optical systems (seekers) for several naval
Participated in the development of flight planning software for the cruise missile.
Conducted image processing research on several food processing applications, pattern
recognition systems, and image analysis systems.
Jeremy McNeal — UAS Lead Flight Instructor, Flight Operations, ScanEagle UAS Instructor
Jeremy McNeal is a UAS Lead Flight Instructor for the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences. His primary
responsibilities consist of instruction on the Boeing/INSITU ScanEagle UAS Platform and course development.
Jeremy served four years in the United States Army as an AAI Shadow UAV Operator, which included a 1 year tour in
Iraq. After his tour he became a Standardization Instructor Pilot for the Shadow UAV System. Upon completion of
his military service, Jeremy received training as a civilian ScanEagle UAS operator in September of 2007. He operated
ScanEagle in support of the United States Marine Corps operations in Iraq. In July of 2008 he was trained as an OEM
certified instructor for the ScanEagle UAS system which he currently instructs in.
John Nordlie — Faculty Research Assistant, Regional Weather Information Center
Mr. Nordlie received a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Geography in
1990, and a Master of Science in Space Studies in 1992, both from the University
of North Dakota. He joined UND's Regional Weather Information Center in 1996, performing
systems administration, programming, web development, sensor design, database development,
and supporting field research efforts. Mr. Nordlie also collaborates with other
UND departments on various projects relating to remote sensing, rocketry, high-altitude
ballooning, and Unmanned Aircraft Systems. These departments include Atmospheric
Sciences, Computer Science, Aviation, Space Studies, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical
Engineering, and the Upper Midwest Aerospace Consortium. He holds a general class
license in amateur radio, has a life-long interest in electronics, computer controls
and robotics, and has over two decades of experience with remote controlled model
John Nordlie piloted the first Unmanned Aerial Vehicle operated by UND, and currently
manages and trains students in the CropCam UAS project.
Thomas Petros, now a Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor, started his career at UND in 1980.
He earned a B.A. (1975) in secondary education, and a M.A. (1978)
and Ph.D. (1981) in cognitive-developmental psychology, all at Kent State
been awarded several research grants by such agencies as the National Institutes
of Health and the Department of Defense. His areas of research have included
reading processes; memory and aging; pharmacology and memory; and aviation and
Hassan Reza, Ph.D. — Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of North Dakota
Dr. Hassan Reza is an Associate Professor in the School of Aerospace Sciences at
the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks since 2000. He received his Ph.D. in
2002 from the Department of Computer Science and Operation Research at the North
Dakota State University, Fargo.
Hassan is a Chair of the International Conference on Software Engineering Research
and Practice and PC member for a numerous Software Engineering Related conferences.
His primary research interests are in software architecture, heterogeneous design
modeling, formal specification and verification, Applied Petri net design patterns,
software agents, architectural styles and domain-specific software architecture
(DSSA), and architectural evaluation methods, and Model-Based Software Engineering.
He is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and the Institute
of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
1999 – Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison
1993 – M.S. in Engineering Mechanics and Astronautics, University of Wisconsin-Madison
1991 – B.S. in Physics, Bemidji State University
Dr. William Semke joined the University of North Dakota faculty in 2000 as an assistant
professor of Mechanical Engineering. He was promoted to the rank of associate professor
Dr. Semke conducts contemporary research in precision motion and vibration control,
smart structures, and aerospace hardware design; along with instruction in the areas
of mechanical design and experimental methods. He established the Vibration and
Precision Engineering Laboratory (VPEL) within the School of Engineering & Mines
to support his research and teaching. The equipment includes a laser vibrometer,
1200-lb and 100-lb mechanical shakers, digital vibration controller, laser displacement
sensor, capacitance gauge, dynamic surface profiler, high voltage amplifier, digital
data acquisition systems, digital signal analyzer, commercial finite element software,
professional CAD software, mathematical software packages, and assorted accelerometers
and load cells.
Chris Theisen graduated from the University of North Dakota with a B.S. (May 2003) and M.S.
(May 2006) in Atmospheric Sciences. During his M.S. studies, he specialized in polarimetric
radar meteorology with emphasis on cloud microphysics while also working as a weather forecaster
for Meridian Environmental Technology, Inc. He then joined the faculty of the Atmospheric Science
Department at UND (August 2006) as a temporary instructor of radar meteorology. In May of 2007,
Mr. Theisen became a full-time staff member of the Regional Weather Information Center at UND
and actively oversees maintenance and operations of UND’s polarimetric Doppler weather radar (NorthPol).
He also has worked heavily with UND UAS Center on UAS projects in ground based and airborne sense and avoid.
In January 2014, he assumed duties and responsibilities of the Director of Research, Development, Test, and
Evaluation (RDT&E) for the Northern Plains UAS Test Site.
Mr. Theisen brings to the team a solid knowledge base on radar meteorology including Doppler,
polarimetric and phased array radar applications and has experience with UAS research, deployments,
and operations. His other areas of interest include climatological observations of radar data for
hydrological applications, polarimetric radar weather observations, mitigation of spurious radar data,
snowflake density characteristics, electromagnetic wave propagation, weather applications for
automobile and unmanned aircraft radars, atmospheric science applications with unmanned aircraft,
airspace visualization, and sensor data fusion processes.
Ben Trapnell — Lead Associate Professor Center for UAS Research, Education and Training for John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences
Professor Trapnell leads the development and implementation of the University’s
Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operations degree program.
Bachelor of Science Physical Sciences, United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland
Masters of Aeronautical Science, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Additional Formal Education:
Aviation Safety Programs Management, Naval Post Graduate School, Monterey, California,
Landing Signal Officer School, Jacksonville, Florida
Low and High-speed Aerodynamics, Gas Turbine Engine Systems, Aircraft Systems, Driftdown
Procedures in Transport Aircraft
Professor Trapnell has been involved with the development of UAS programs and research
since their inception at the University of North Dakota. Funding for research has
come from the Federal Aviation Administration and the United States Air Force, through
the Joint UAS Center of Excellence at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada. He spearheaded
the ongoing development of a ground-based radar risk mitigation system (GPARS RMS)
that has led to the adoption of ground-based radar as an interim solution for the
integration of UAS into the National Airspace System. Published works include papers
outlining the regulatory history of See and Avoid, the development of ganged phased
array radars for use in UAS risk mitigation and risk indication, and the preparation
for a career in UAS operations.
Trevor Woods — Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Lead Instructor
Trevor Woods graduated in 2008 with a B.B.A in Aviation Management from the University of North Dakota.
He holds a Commercial Pilot certificate with single-engine, multi-engine, and instrument ratings. Trevor
also holds Operator qualifications for the AeroVironment Raven-B UAS and Draganflyer X6 UAS. He has been
serving as a CFI and CFII for John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences since graduation and conducts
training for Private, Instrument, Commercial and Flight Instructor-Instrument courses. Trevor has been
assisting with several of UND’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems operations and research efforts prior to
transitioning into his current position of UAS Lead Instructor.
Mr. Olsen currently serves as a Project Manager for various UAS Center of Excellence projects and programs. Since 2011 he has been Principal Investigator for a North Dakota Center of Research Excellence grant developing a Global Hawk Sensor Operator Part Task Trainer, working in collaboration with Northrop Grumman Corporation and other industry partners. He is also Co-Investigator for a UAS simulation project with Rockwell Collins, Inc.; contributes to collaborative efforts with a number of UAS COE research partners from industry, academia, and state and federal agencies; assists with development of research, and operational funding opportunities; and serves as occasional guest lecturer in the undergraduate UAS program. Mr. Olsen represents UND on the FAA-chartered RTCA SC-228 Committee, working to establish Minimum Operational Performance Standards for integrating UAS into the National Airspace System (NAS).
Prior to joining the UAS COE, Mr. Olsen served as Associate Director for the Center for People and the Environment (CP&E) within the Earth System Science and Policy (ESSP) department of the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences. As Associate Director he was responsible for direction and oversight of the Center’s non-teaching research faculty and staff, leading efforts ranging from sensor development and operations to image processing and analysis, the latter of which included interactive web portal data delivery to and training of general public end users of Center resources. He was Co-Investigator on a number of NASA-funded research projects, and remains Principal Investigator for the North Dakota Center of Excellence in Space Technology and Operations. Among other efforts, while Associate Director Mr. Olsen was the Project Manager for development and operation of two NASA-funded multi-spectral sensor systems at UND – the Airborne Environmental Research Observational Camera (AEROCam), flown on a UND aircraft for research and precision agriculture end users; and the International Space Station Agricultural Camera (ISSAC), which remains in orbit onboard the ISS.
Mr. Olsen is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor in both the Electrical Engineering and the Space Studies departments at UND. Prior to joining UND, he spent 15 years working for various aerospace companies including Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and Hughes (now Raytheon), the latter while at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Mr. Olsen holds an M.S. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota and a B.S. in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from North Dakota State University.