Martinsville, Va. – New College Institute (NCI) Interim Executive Director Karen Jackson has been elected as Board Chair of the Unmanned Systems Association of Virginia. The Unmanned Systems Association of Virginia (USAV) is a non-profit coalition focused on promoting a legal and regulatory framework that supports innovation, collaboration and growth in the unmanned systems industry in the Commonwealth.
“NCI is excited about growing Virginia’s unmanned industry and I am excited to continue my work in autonomy and join forces with USAV to ensure a robust future for all segments of the unmanned industry,” said Jackson. “This industry is rapidly expanding in Virginia, even through the pandemic, and at NCI we want to make sure the community can access this exciting career opportunity.”
Virginia currently has the eighth largest concentration of unmanned systems firms in the country and is rapidly expanding. The mission of the USAV is to foster the growth of the industry in Virginia through advocacy efforts focused on economic and workforce development, financial incentives and a business-friendly regulatory environment.
“We are excited to have Karen join us as the chair of our board of directors,” said USAV Executive Director Michele Satterlund. “Her experience across the state and as a leader in education at NCI showcases our commitment to building our state’s workforce to support the booming unmanned services industry.”
On June 30, Jackson opened USAV’s latest webinar “A New Normal – The Advancement of Unmanned Systems in a COVID-19 World.” The recording of the webinar and companion materials can be found here.
Prior to joining NCI, Jackson served as Virginia Secretary of Technology from January 2014 through January 2018 under then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe. She was responsible for overseeing the Commonwealth’s information technology infrastructure and driving innovation and the development of high-potential industries including cyber security, unmanned systems, and smart communities. She was instrumental in launching a number of nationally recognized programs, and contributed to laying the groundwork for Amazon’s HQ2 to Northern Virginia.
To learn more about USAV, visit unmatchedva.org.