Venture-backed commercial drone company Volansi recruits Dr. Will Roper to CEO role after serving on the Volansi Board. Co-founder Hannan Parvizian moves to the role of Chief Technology Officer and Product Architect.

SAN FRANCISCO, JULY 8, 2021 – ​Volansi​, the leader in autonomous, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) delivery drones for medium to heavy-weight payloads, today announced the appointment of Dr. Will Roper, one of the country’s foremost experts on aerospace transformation, as its new Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Roper joined the Volansi board of directors in March 2021. Volansi’s primary venture capital investors are Lightspeed Venture Partners and Icon Ventures.

Dr. Will Roper, CEO

Dr. Roper served as Assistant Secretary of the US Air Force for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, where he oversaw an annual budget of $60 billion. Since leaving government in January 2021, he has been an advisor and board member for technology and investment companies.

“As a Volansi board member, I’ve been impressed by the company’s capacity for innovation,” said Dr. Will Roper. “The company’s VTOL designs are well-suited for a range of commercial and military applications. It felt like a natural fit for me to bring my industry knowledge as well as operations and logistics experience to help create disruptive solutions for the transportation of medium to heavy weight payloads. It’s an exciting opportunity.”

While serving in the Air Force, Roper was responsible for all research and development, test, production, modernization, and logistics efforts for the Air Force and Space Force. Dr. Roper was the U.S. government leader in identifying and supporting private sector technology companies to get access to Department of Defense resources. He led Air Force-wide technology transformations for software development, artificial intelligence, and digital engineering. He also initiated high-tech programs for hypersonic weapons, autonomous drones, and a militarized internet of things, all while overseeing the day-to-day logistics of over 5,000 military aircraft and support systems. 

Hannan Parvizian, CTO and Product Architect

“At Volansi, we are very proud of having assembled a world-class team and demonstrated a track record of technical excellence in design, test, and production,” said founding CEO Hannan Parvizian. “Attracting Dr. Roper, first to our Board of Directors and now as CEO, will help us surpass even our most ambitious goals. I look forward to working alongside him in my new role as the new Chief Technology Officer and Product Architect to set the vision and strategic direction for the company’s future.”

Dr. Roper joins a growing executive leadership team at Volansi that includes former members of successful tech companies and global logistics companies like FedEx. “I am delighted to announce Will as Volansi’s new CEO and Hannan as its new CTO and Product Architect,” said Board Chairman Paul Ricci. “We are excited about the leadership team and the future of this rapidly growing company.”

About Volansi: 

Volansi provides fast, on-demand aerial delivery services for time-critical shipments over long ranges. We build and operate autonomous long-range, medium-to-heavyweight payload drones for commercial, federal, and humanitarian applications. Leveraging drone technology as a transportation method, we help our customers gain control of their supply chain by delivering critical equipment, essential supplies and humanitarian aid where it otherwise faced unpredictable delays– saving time, money, and lives. To learn more, visit Volansi.com or follow us on Twitter @volans_i.

 

Hutton brings 20+ years of experience in the public and private sectors, including the professional staff of the Senate Appropriations and Senate Armed Services Committees, and in the offices of Sens. John McCain and Joe Manchin.

SAN FRANCISCO, June 28, 2021 – Volansi, the leader in autonomous vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) point-to-point drone delivery services, today announced the appointment of Church Hutton as the company’s Vice President of Government Affairs. In his new position, Hutton will help Volansi deliver relevant and innovative capabilities to government customers at the speed of commerce.

“We’re delighted to welcome Church to the Volansi team and are looking forward to the expertise and new ideas he will bring to the table,” said Volansi CEO and Co-founder, Hannan Parvizian. “Church’s deep knowledge and experience in government relations will help us sharpen our focus on the federal portion of our business at a pivotal time for business growth.”

Hutton brings a unique perspective to the Volansi team with 20+ years of experience in both the public and private sectors. His most recent position was at Sierra Nevada Corporation, an innovative aerospace and electronics integrator, where he was head of legislative affairs. In that role, Hutton and his team partnered with government agencies and Congress to increase competition in federal programs, expand the national security industrial base, break vendor lock, and accelerate the pace of innovation in government programs. 

Prior to the private sector, Hutton spent 12 years in senior national security staff positions on Capitol Hill where he served on the professional staff of the Senate Appropriations and Senate Armed Services Committees, and in the offices of Sens. John McCain and Joe Manchin. He has a reputation for collaboration across the political spectrum and a deep understanding of national security policy and budgeting. 

“I am grateful to Hannan and the rest of the Volansi team for this opportunity,” said Hutton. “We’re being asked to provide federal agencies with systems and capabilities at a fraction of the cost of traditional programs while innovating and improving performance at much higher cycle times than operational users are accustomed to. Now is our time to show we can compete at this level.” 

About Volansi: 

Volansi provides fast, on-demand aerial delivery services for time-critical materials over long ranges. We build and operate long-range, heavy-payload drones for commercial, federal and humanitarian applications. Leveraging drone technology as a transportation method, we help our customers gain control of their supply chain by delivering critical equipment, essential supplies and humanitarian aid where it otherwise faced unpredictable delays – saving time, costs and lives. To learn more, visit volansi.com or follow us on Twitter.

Smith’s distinguished career and expertise in global supply chain logistics to further bolster market leading VTOL drone delivery services 

 

SAN FRANCISCO, May 18, 2021 – Volansi, the leader in vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) point-to-point drone delivery services, today announced the appointment of Marvin Smith as the company’s new Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Business Development. In his new position, Smith will build a customer-centric, partner-engaging, and high-performance organization, continuing to position Volansi as the global leader in drone delivery for years to come.  

Smith comes to Volansi from FedEx Worldwide Services, where he was managing director for over two decades. In that role, his group partnered with some of FedEx’s most strategic customers in delivering global business solutions, managing close to $1B in revenue. He was pivotal in the design and creation of Worldwide Services, the global sales arm of FedEx. His experience there also included work in operations, field sales, and global sales training. 

“We’re thrilled to have Marvin join our team. At this stage of our growth journey, it was critical for us to find someone that had a people-first focus, customer mindset, global revenue expertise, and an intimate understanding of the global supply chain landscape,” said Volansi CEO and Co-founder Hannan Parvizian.

Smith’s 30-plus years of experience at FedEx will help Volansi build a team that takes its market expansion efforts to the next level. Having worked in various verticals, he will provide a unique perspective of supply chain challenges and opportunities from around the world.

“I’m grateful to be joining the Volansi team. Knowing the great people, market-leading solutions, and an ecosystem vision to maximize growth, it’s the perfect opportunity to leverage my experience and be part of a world-changing growth story similar to what we did at FedEx,” Smith said. “The building blocks are in place to change logistics as the world knows it and help us grow exponentially.” 

As the leader in autonomous drone delivery, Volansi is the first company to fly BVLOS unmanned operations in Senegal. 

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, March 25, 2021 – Volansi, the leader in autonomous Vertical Take-off and

Landing (VTOL) point-to-point drone delivery services, today announced it has Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flight approval in Senegal.

Volansi is the only cargo drone operator in Senegal that has BVLOS approval to fly unmanned operations. This capability has enabled the company to build sky lanes or aerial delivery routes, for its mining customers in West Africa. In the near future, they plan to expand the network and become the first interconnected delivery drone network of sky lanes across the continent connecting mission points over rivers, bridges, and hills enabling reliable and quick deliveries via drone.

“Our mission at Volansi is to build a world unbound by the limitations of infrastructure, and with sky lanes, it’s totally possible,” said Volansi CEO and Co-founder Hannan Parvizian. “This will have a massive impact on Africa’s economy, offering limitless development and accessibility will increase by more than 100 percent, creating more than a million jobs in the region.”

Currently, a typical delivery is done using a truck, van, or motorcycle. Depending on road conditions and traffic, the journey can take two and a half hours or more to complete. Volansi drone delivery services provide an essential supply chain solution, particularly in areas where logistics is challenging and can complete these same journeys in just 30 minutes. The company is delivering cargo on-call, at dramatically reduced times, improving uptime and cost savings for industries such as healthcare, oil and gas, and mining.

“We see this as a huge opportunity in Africa,” said Parvizian. “We are going to revolutionize how people think about access and reach within the continent. Just as Africa skipped landline development and took a giant leap to cell phones, I believe that it will jump right into VTOL. It’s going to happen fast, and Volansi is geared up to build the first interconnected delivery drone network within the continent.”

Leader in autonomous drone delivery welcomes Mike to the executive leadership team to shape culture and lead recruiting efforts for top industry talent

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, March 9, 2021 – Volansi, the leader in autonomous vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) point-to-point drone delivery services, today announced the appointment of Senior Vice President of People Mike Guerchon. Mike will lead human resource efforts to build dynamic teams of high-performing people and shape the culture of the rapidly growing company to reach its maximum organizational potential.

“We are so excited to have Mike join the Volansi team. Mike’s hire comes at a crucial point for our business as we’ve grown our operations significantly. Mike’s leadership will help us refine our talent management process and continue to build an engaged, inclusive, and high-performing culture,” said Volansi co-Founder and CEO Hannan Parvizian. His passion for people and nearly three decades of leadership experience will be invaluable as further our commitment to putting people first and creating a world-class organization.”


As an accomplished human resource and workplace executive leader, Mike has more than 25 years of experience in both ground-level start-ups and global public companies. Throughout his career, he has focused on building dynamic teams of high-performing people and shaping the culture of the rapidly growing worldwide organization and the long-term growth of the company.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to be joining Volansi in the midst of this tremendous growth trajectory. I was attracted to the company by its outstanding culture and the leadership team’s commitment to its people,” said Volansi Senior Vice President of People Mike Guerchon. “The company is at a unique point and I am energized and honored to help shape the future of Volansi.”

Prior to joining Volansi, Mike was the vice president of human resources at RealWear, a knowledge transfer company that provides software and hardware to help people improve safety and increase productivity at work. Mike has led organizational transformations in recruiting, leadership development, training, employee relations, compensation, performance management, and engagement. As chief human resource officer at Riverbed Technology, Mike helped lead the organization through its IPO and rapid growth in revenue from $2 million to $1.2 billion and employees, rising from 60 to 2,800. Additionally, under his command, the company was recognized in 2014 as #4 in the world in Glassdoors’s rating of “Culture and Values” and in the top 20 worldwide for 2013 and 2014 of “Best Place to Work.”

Former Assistant Secretary of the US Air Force brings deep expertise in unlocking defense spending in R&D and emerging technologies to venture-backed companies

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, March 3, 2021 – Volansi, the leader in autonomous, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) middle-mile drone delivery services, backed by Lightspeed and Icon Ventures, today announced the appointment of Dr. Will Roper, the former Assistant Secretary of the US Air Force, to its Board of Directors. Dr. Roper will focus on the company’s strategy, operations, and growth in defense markets.

In his prior role, Dr. Roper served as Assistant Secretary of the US Air Force for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, where he oversaw an annual budget of $60 billion. He was responsible for all research and development, test, production, modernization, and logistics efforts for the Air Force and Space Force, and was instrumental in accelerating acquisition processes as well as fostering a disruptive innovative culture inside of government.

“Dr. Will Roper joins Volansi’s board with a reputation as a transformative, forward-looking leader,” said Volansi CEO and co-Founder Hannan Parvizian. “His deep expertise in emerging technologies and the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in logistics operations will be instrumental in aiding Volansi’s mission to change the future of supply chain. I’m thrilled to welcome Dr. Roper into the Volansi team and look forward to his leadership as we continue to push the boundaries of autonomous flight.”

While at the Air Force, Dr. Roper made large strides to open defense market opportunities to commercial companies and private investors, spearheading initiatives like AFWERX and Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) reform. He led Air Force-wide technology transformations for software development, artificial intelligence, and digital engineering. He also initiated high tech programs for hypersonic weapons, autonomous drones, and a militarized internet of things, all while overseeing the day-to-day readiness of over 5,000 military aircraft and support systems.

“Commercial technology companies like Volansi are leading a wave of disruptive innovation for defense missions,” said Dr. Roper. “Bringing speed and agility historically absent in government procurement, many vendors have early revenue-generating opportunities in national security as a path to commercial success. Volansi is uniquely positioned in the commercial UAV market because of their focus on cargo and logistics, both huge components of modern militaries. I am excited to help them think through opportunities to bring on-demand, life-saving capabilities to men and women in uniform.”

Earlier in his career, Dr. Roper was the founding Director of the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO), which leverages existing government and commercial systems to solve the military’s most pressing problems. His programs spanned concepts like hypervelocity artillery missile defense, multi-purpose missiles, smartphone-navigating weapons, big-data enabled sensing, 3D-printed systems, standoff arsenal planes, autonomous mini-fighters, and swarming drones, demonstrating the world’s largest swarm in 2017.

Volansi’s relationships with the Air Force and Department of Defense are well-established. The company was awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) through the Department of the Air Force Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Center of Excellence innovation program. Volansi was also named an official vendor of the United States Air Force’s Skyborg Vanguard Program.

The strategic relationship seeks to expand Volansi and Quickstep’s reach into the global drone market.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, January 20, 2021 – Volansi, Inc., a leader in vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) middle-mile drone delivery services and Quickstep Holdings Limited,, Australia’s largest independent aerospace advanced composites manufacturer, today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

Under this MoU, Volansi and Quickstep will engage with various regulatory, operational, and commercial stakeholders to promote Volansi drones to the commercial and defense services markets, most notably the Australian Department of Defence. Volansi and Quickstep will also continue discussions on the potential application of Quickstep’s proprietary aerospace manufacturing process, ‘AeroQure’, to manufacture Volansi drones.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Volansi,” said Hannan Parvizian, CEO and Co-Founder of Volansi. “This MOU will allow us the opportunity to combine our depth of industry knowledge with Quickstep’s composite component expertise to grow our market presence in Australia as well as the Asia-Pacific region.”

As the leader in commercial deliveries using long-range, heavy-payload drones, Volansi provides delivery services for customers in commercial, defense and humanitarian sectors in emerging markets. Most recently, they were selected by the U.S. Air Force to participate in the $400 million Skyborg program, one of three U.S. Air Force Vanguard programs.

Mark Burgess, CEO of Quickstep said, “Expanding our presence in the unmanned sector is a key element of Quickstep’s growth strategy. We are excited by this opportunity to build our relationship with Volansi, who have already established credibility in the Advanced Air Mobility market with their mature platform range. This is aligned to our on-going expansion across the aerospace manufacturing and services markets and we look forward to bringing Volansi’s Aircraft to Australia soon.”

Volansi’s autonomous drone delivery service recognized for company of the year

San Francisco, CA – December 9, 2020 – Volansi has been named a silver winner for Company of the Year by the Best in Biz Awards, the only independent business awards program judged each year by prominent editors and reporters from top-tier publications in North America.

Volansi provides an innovative drone delivery service that provides access to vital goods, especially in hard to reach areas. The company’s drones eliminate middle-mile supply chain and mobility issues by taking parts, medical supplies, aid and critical equipment exactly where they needs to be. This year, Volansi launched a commercial healthcare drone delivery program in partnership with Merck, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. As part of the on-going project, in September, Volansi completed the first successful drone delivery of temperature-controlled vaccines within the U.S. and is now conducting routine, autonomous delivery flights daily.

“We are honored to be recognized by Best in Biz for Company of the Year,” said Hannan Parvizian, CEO and Co-Founder of Volansi. “We’ve seen the world’s supply chain strained like never before from the impact of COVID-19 and there’s now an accelerated need for rapid advancements in supply chain technology, especially in healthcare. We believe drone delivery is the key solution to getting critical supplies where they are needed, at the moment they are needed most.”

2020 marked the 10th annual Best in Biz Awards and – with a continuing global pandemic – was also a year like no other in the program’s 10-year history. Despite the global challenges, the 10th annual program saw a particularly strong field of entries from public and private companies of all sizes and spanning all geographic regions and industries in the U.S. and Canada, ranging from some of the most recognizable and admired global brands to the most innovative start-ups and nimble local companies – proving North American business’ resilience and continuing innovation and growth despite the odds. The judges were impressed with this year’s winners’ agility and adaptability that allowed their businesses to thrive, their willingness to always go the extra mile to help their customers in these unusual times and particularly, many winners’ efforts to maintain their commitment to the environment and to prioritize helping others in their communities.

Since the program’s inception in 2011, winners in Best in Biz Awards have been determined based on scoring from independent judging panels assembled each year from some of the most respected newspapers, TV and radio outlets, and business, consumer, technology and trade publications in North America. Combining top editors’ and reporters’ unparalleled expertise and experience with the objectivity inherent in the journalistic ethos and further enhanced by the variety of outlets represented, Best in Biz Awards judging panels are uniquely able to determine the best of the best from among the hundreds of competitive entries. The 2020 judging panel included, among others, writers from Barron’s, Consumer Affairs, USA Today and Wired.

“2020 has been a year defined by a need for resilience and I’m amazed to see companies pushing past the obstacles to continue innovating, adapting, and thriving,” said Christopher Null, Wired, having judged seven of the last 10 Best in Biz Awards programs. “I’m so inspired by the companies that have prioritized tackling today’s problems to lead us to a better future.”

Best in Biz Awards 2020 honors were conferred in more than 90 different categories, including Company of the Year, Most Resilient Company, Fastest-Growing Company, Most Innovative Company, Best Place to Work, Customer Service Department, Executive of the Year, Operations Executive, Most Innovative Product, Enterprise Product, Best New Product, App, CSR Program, Crisis Management Program, Marketing Program and Annual Report of the Year.

Leading drone delivery service provider welcomes start-up veteran Mark Mesler to the leadership team

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, November 10, 2020– Volansi, Inc., the leader in vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) middle-mile drone delivery services, is pleased to announce its recent hire of Mark Mesler as Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

A start-up veteran, Mesler has significant experience commercializing and scaling emerging technologies. Prior to joining Volansi, he served as Vice President of Finance and Investor Relations at Bloom Energy, a position that saw him play an integral role in taking the company through several funding rounds and an eventual IPO. Mark also worked as Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Operations at Aquest Systems and as Director of Finance at KLA-Tencor.

Autonomous delivery drones are well-positioned to be the transformational supply chain technology of our age, and Volansi simply has the best technology out there,” says Mesler. “I was also impressed by Volansi’s mission-driven, sustainably smart business model, and market approach.”

At Volansi, Mesler will spearhead the company’s financial and capital raising initiatives, as well as implement infrastructure to enable the company to strategically scale to meet its global market opportunities.

“Having recently raised $50 million in Series B financing, Volansi is set to take our mission of freeing the world from the limits of infrastructure to a whole new level,” says Hannan Parvizian, Co-Founder and CEO of Volansi. “The wealth of operations-centric experience and impressive track record for driving financial performance that Mark brings to the table will be essential to us achieving this mission.”

After years of working to transform the way global businesses procure their critical energy needs, Mesler is excited about the opportunity to transform the way businesses address their critical logistics requirements. “Whether it be delivering spare parts to remote industrial sites or life-saving medication during a disaster relief effort, Volansi is already proving the many benefits of delivery drones,” he adds. “I am thrilled to be a part of a company that is having such a positive impact on the world.”

 

Expansion will leverage the Bend area’s rich talent pool and aviation technology expertise to help scale drone delivery worldwide

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, November 16, 2020– Volansi, Inc., the leader in vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) middle-mile drone delivery services, is pleased to announce the opening of a new facility in Oregon’s Bend area. The location will support the company’s expansion as it develops, produces, and tests its next generation of industry-defining delivery aircraft. The facility will also manufacture Volansi’s existing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, or more commonly known as drones) in production.

“We have always applied a rapid, iterative approach more commonly used in robotics design or software development when innovating with our technology. With deep industrial roots, a rich talent pool, and mostly year-round good weather, the fast-growing Bend metro area was the obvious choice for co-locating the development, production, and testing of our aviation technology,” said Hannan Parvizian, Co-Founder and CEO of Volansi. “We look forward to joining the community and making the Bend area our second home.”

Volansi utilizes drone technology to provide delivery services to enterprise customers in the medical, oil & gas, mining, and defense industries. The company has on-going operations in Africa, the Caribbean, and the US.

Volansi develops, manufactures, and operates its own aircraft, including the first-of-their-kind VOLY C10 and VOLY M20 autonomous drones. The VOLY C10, the workhorse of Volansi’s UAV fleet, carries up to 10-pounds of cargo over 50 miles.

Notably, Volansi’s recently announced, on-going drone delivery project in North Carolina demonstrates the VOLY C10’s hybrid eVTOL fixed-wing flight system, making it one of the only drone delivery services capable of transporting fragile, temperature-controlled vaccines.

The VOLY M20 is a dual role aircraft with the ability to simultaneously carry up to 20-pounds of cargo, in addition to 10-pounds of sensor payloads. It has a 350-mile range, a cruising speed of 75 mph, and more than eight hours of endurance for sensor operations.

The expansion into the Bend area comes on the heels of the company raising $50 million in a Series B round of financing. This new funding allows Volansi to expand its team and facilities, launch new projects, and scale current initiatives in emerging markets and the US.

“Central Oregon and the Pacific Northwest provide amazing access to great talent, a plethora of supply chain options, and an excellent operating environment,” said Mike Jackson Volansi, Vice President of Global Operations. “We feel the area is very well positioned to support both our growth potential and our pending production requirements.”

Volansi also has locations in the San Francisco Bay Area and Arizona.