Meet the team behind Volansi’s flying robots. Each week we share stories from the team at Volansi highlighting their journey to joining the team, how they help keep our drones taking off, and some quirky fun along the way.
Title at Volansi: Chief Financial Officer
Joined the team: November 2020
Team member #113
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Tell us a little bit about your background and the work you did before joining the Volansi team?
I spent 11 years at Bloom Energy as Vice President of Finance and Investor Relations. Over my tenure, I scaled their finance team and infrastructure to support a high growth alternative energy business. I was a key member of the team which took Bloom public on the NYSE in July 2018.
Prior to Bloom, I was the CFO at Aquest Systems, a venture-backed semiconductor equipment manufacturer, and I also held various corporate and division level finance roles at KLA Tencor, the leader in yield management and inspection equipment to the semiconductor industry.
I received a BS in Finance from Penn State and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University.
In your own words, what do you do at Volansi?
I provide the strategic financial leadership to Volansi to ensure that we are capitalized appropriately (think fundraising) to meet our aggressive growth goals, as well as ensure that we have the appropriate financial infrastructure and team to provide critical decision support as we scale the business.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
My family and I really enjoy spending time together at our house near Lake Tahoe. We enjoy downhill skiing, Nordic skiing, paddle boarding, and hiking. I am an avid fly fisherman, so I fish the Truckee River whenever I can, in addition to taking one or two trips a year to Montana and Idaho for some big Western river angling.
Who are your heroes in aviation, drone, or logistics history?
Louis Schalk, a test pilot for Lockheed Martin, flew the first test flight for the CIA’s Operation OXCART program in 1962. OXCART was the successor to the U-2 program and predecessor to the SR71 Blackbird. The plane he flew was unlike any other flown in history – it was a revolutionary design and it would eventually be able to fly 3X the speed of sound and 3,000 miles without refueling and eventually be able to cruise at 90,000 feet. The skills and mental disposition required by Louis at that time with this technology were unprecedented, and the impact on future tech, including stealth technology, was largely unheralded.
We are in the dawn of unmanned flight and autonomous mobility. What are the applications that excite you most?
I think one of the most exciting opportunities for autonomous flight mobility is the automation of traditional core logistics supply chains. I look at what robotics has done for manufacturing over the past three to four decades and the benefits that have been achieved, and I am excited to see how autonomous flight can improve service, reduce cost and increase the reliability of the supply chains to automated factories. The U.S. has always led the world in logistics expertise dating back to the World Wars of the 20th century. I am excited to see how we at Volansi can innovate the supply chains of the 21st century.
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