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Oklahoma is the premier location for the ever-evolving unmanned systems sector. Companies like Kratos Defense, Skydweller, Vigilant Aerospace and WindShape are advancing the industry here. And key assets and test sites across the state are setting the stage for research and development, manufacturing and more. 

Oklahoma State University’s Oklahoma Aerospace Institute for Research and Education (OAIRE) acts as the center of gravity for a statewide initiative to answer industry and federal demand for innovation, excellence, and expertise in aerospace.

Meet the Oklahoma Team

Oklahoma is committed to helping your company achieve success in our state. The Oklahoma Team offers the highest quality, one-stop professional assistance to make that happen.

Leshia Pearson
Leshia Pearson
Director of Aerospace + Defense
Kallie Hanisch
Kallie Hanisch
Program Coordinator
Vince Howie
Vince Howie
State Director of Aerospace + Defense

AUVSI 2024 Partner Directory


Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

James Grimsley, Executive Director



The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma is a recognized leader in emerging aviation. The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma’s Advanced Technology Initiatives Department manages the 44,600+ acre Choctaw Nation Emerging Aviation Technology Center. The Choctaw Nation was the only tribal government lead participant selected for the FAA UAS Integration Pilot Program (IPP) and currently is the only tribal lead participant on the FAA’s UAS BEYOND program. The Choctaw Nation is the third-largest Indian Nation in the United States. The first tribe over the Trail of Tears, its historic reservation boundaries are in the southeast corner of Oklahoma, covering 10,923 square miles.


Krista Ratliff, President and CEO

The Fires Innovation Science and Technology Accelerator (FISTA) is a state-of-the-art facility committed to supporting the warfighter and empowering partners in the aerospace, defense, and related industries. We offer tailor-made commercial spaces, advanced STEM education programs, government relations assistance, and specialized testing facilities to foster innovation, collaboration, and triumph in the dynamic landscape of defense and security. The best workspaces provide everything you need to think creatively, collaborate, and manage your work effectively—and that’s exactly what the FISTA Innovation Park does. From secure meeting spaces to an onsite STEM lab, we offer everything you need to develop the best in engineering and defense technology.

Oklahoma Department of Aerospace & Aeronautics

Oklahoma Department of Aerospace and Aeronautics

Doug Wood, UAS Program Manager

The Oklahoma Department of Aerospace and Aeronautics is the lead state agency for promotion, advocacy, and development of aviation and aerospace, ensuring the needs of commerce and communities across Oklahoma are served through the network of 108 airports in the Oklahoma Airport System and supporting the viability of the state’s second largest industry. 

The Commission also houses the UAS/AAM Program Office established by the Oklahoma legislature in 2021, which serves as the lead entity to help coordinate, organize, and strategically plan UAS/AAM activities on a statewide level, ensuring Oklahoma continues to lead the Country in testing, development, and integration of emerging aviation technologies.

Tulsa Innovation Labs logo

Tulsa Innovation Labs

Daniel Plaisance, Senior Associate, AAM

Tulsa Innovation Labs (TIL) is a tech-led economic development organization building innovative public-private partnerships to drive workforce development, innovation, entrepreneurship, and industry growth across Tulsa’s top emerging tech niches.

In 2022, TIL spearheaded the development of three projects as a part of the Tulsa Regional Advanced Mobility (TRAM) Cluster Build Back Better Regional Challenge application, resulting in ~$70M in funding to develop a world-class advanced mobility ecosystem in Tulsa.

TIL is seeking strategic and programmatic partners interested in designing, deploying, and scaling innovative solutions to the toughest challenges facing the UAS and AAM industries.

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