With over 40 years of aviation experience, Steve has operated and instructed in over 17 types of aircraft from single-seat military fighter aircraft to wide-body commercial aircraft. He has flown the Boeing 737 The Airbus 320/319, the B757-767 and the B777, as well as the RQ-4 Global Hawk Unmanned Aircraft System in support of combat troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya and has flown unmanned aircraft humanitarian missions in Japan and North America. He is a veteran of the 1991 Gulf War where he flew the F-117A Stealth Fighter on combat missions in Iraq and Kuwait. Steve has amassed over 10,000 flight hours in his aviation career. He is also an FAA rated Air Traffic Controller in both Tower and Radar operations. He has served in both appointed and elected leadership roles in private, union, government, and military organizations. Steve holds several academic degrees ranging from a Bachelor of Science in Business and a Master of Public Administration to an Education Specialist (EdSp.) degree from the U of I.
ADAVSO has contracted with the State of Idaho Department of Commerce to consult and advise on all things UAS related. His company is also spearheading the effort to establish an Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center of Excellence in Idaho Falls collaborating with the Center for Advanced Energy Studies, ISU, BSU and U of I. He and his family moved to Star Idaho in 1998 and they have resided there since.
Brad Ward has over 11 years of experience in Unmanned Aircraft Systems in both his military and civilian life. He entered the Air Force in 1992, receiving his commission from the United States Air Force Academy. He served as the Commander of the 12th Reconnaissance Squadron at Beale AFB, CA; Director of Operations for the 432d Operations Support Squadron at Creech AFB, NV; and as the UAS Career Field Manager at Headquarters Air Force, Pentagon. He is a command pilot with more than 4,000 flying hours in the KC-135, C-12, MQ-1 and RQ-4 aircraft.
He is currently the Vice President of Advanced Aviation Solutions, where he works to develop commercial applications in agriculture and natural resource management for small UAS. He gives UAS presentations to government, academic and civic organizations throughout the year.
Mr. Ward holds a Master’s of Business Administration from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri. He also holds a Bachelors of Science Degree from the US Air Force Academy and a certificate in CNC Machining from Spokane Community College. Mr. Ward is also an adjunct professor at Whitworth University where he teaches Engineering Graphics and Manufacturing Processes.
He moved to Spokane, Washington from his last Air Force assignment and is married to his Academy classmate, Chaundra (McCanna) Ward of Spokane. They have been married for 22 years and have 7 children. Mr. Ward is an active member of his church where he teaches Sunday school and has served as an adult scouter in BSA troops around the country for the last 11 years.
Our Valuable Team Members
Ken McCormick is the Director of Operations for Advanced Aviation Solutions (ADAVSO) and an Instructor Pilot and Visual Observer for Empire Unmanned. Ken brings over 14 years of global aviation experience and technical education to this exceptional team.
Ken spent over 10 years in the United States Air Force where he commanded, instructed, and evaluated in aircraft that ranged from transport aircraft to remotely piloted aircraft (RPA). His most recent experience was spent as a Formal Training Unit (FTU) instructor and evaluator pilot where he trained the Air Force’s newest RPA pilots. Ken also has experience as an aviation training program manager where he was responsible for establishing new courseware and training products for developing RPA technologies and capabilities.
Ken holds a commercial and instrument pilot rating as well as a degree in Aerospace Engineering and an MBA with a focus on management. Ken has attended the Air Combat Command Classroom Instructor Course, the Instructional System Development Course as well as the United States Army Corps of Engineers Contract Officer Representative Course.
Ken and his wife Lisa have three children, two boys and a little girl they are in the process of adopting. He and his family currently reside in Boise, Idaho.
Gary Smith has been in global marketing and sales in the tech industry for over 35 years. Before moving to Idaho in 2006 Gary worked in the semiconductor and microelectronics industry for 35 years with Reeves Instruments, Raytheon Marine, Hughes Aircraft, GM Hughes, and Delta Design.
As a Vice President of sales and marketing, Gary was responsible for opening new markets in Asia, Europe and across the US. In his career Gary has worked with start-up companies as well as Fortune 500 companies. In that capacity he built and directed sales and marketing organizations, managed customer service staff and coordinated domestic and international trade shows, technical seminars, and industry workshops to introduce new products and services to an expanding global customer base.
Gary holds a Private Pilot, Multi-engine, Commercial, and Instrument Rated FAA License. He served on the Star City Council from 2010 to 2013 and is involved in local and state economic development projects working with the Idaho Department of Commerce and other state agencies. In 2015 he earned his UAS Visual Observer certification. Gary served in the United States Navy from 1970 – 1976.
Brock Lipple was originally introduced to GIS working for the National Park Service. He was employed at Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument surveying paleontological sites. He then went on to work for the State of Idaho Environmental Management Office Military Division.
He is currently the GIS Director and manages day to day GIS operations in addition to aiding technical and VO field assistance.
He holds in B.A. in Environmental Studies from Boise State University. In 2013 he received a teaching and research assistantship with Idaho State University where he researched land cover change and completed his M.S in Geographic Information Science.
Brock is a Boise native who enjoys fly fishing, camping and cycling. He is also a musician who enjoys playing in bands or around the campfire.