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.

Peggy Pan

Title at Volansi: Recruitment Coordinator

Joined the team: 2021

Team member #128

Hometown: Vestal, New York


Tell us a little bit about your background and the work you did before joining the Volansi team?

I graduated from Binghamton University with a degree in Human Development and did a service year with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) – Pacific Region. During my service year, I had the opportunity to help underserved communities across the country as well as directly support recruiting efforts for the program. Following my service year, I worked as a medical scribe and briefly at an AV startup as a recruiting coordinator before landing at Volansi.

In your own words, what do you do at Volansi?

I am a recruiting coordinator here at Volansi. I work closely with our recruiters to coordinate all interviews and ensure an excellent candidate experience. I am also the office manager for the Concord and eventually Hayward offices.

What has been your favorite project so far at Volansi?

I work closely with our recruiters to coordinate all interviews and ensure an excellent candidate experience. I am also the office manager for the Concord office

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love outdoor activities, especially hiking, biking and swimming. I also like to play basketball and tennis.

Who are your heroes in aviation, drone, or logistics history?

My aviation hero is Amelia Earhart because she really pushed the boundaries of aviation and broke a lot of barriers.

We are in the dawn of unmanned flight and autonomous mobility. What are the applications that excite you most?

I am most excited about being able to bring physical goods to locations that would otherwise not have access to them.

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.

Jacob Crabill

Title at Volansi: Chief Engineer of SARA

Joined the team: 2018

Team member #13

Hometown: Swartz Creek, Michigan


Tell us a little bit about your background and the work you did before joining the Volansi team?

I earned dual bachelor’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Physics at Kettering University in Flint, Michigan. Kettering is a co-op based school, and I did all of my rotations at Pratt & Whitney AutoAir, doing a mix of CAD design and manufacturing engineering. I was also heavily involved in the SAE Aero Design team, where you design, build and then fly a complete RC aircraft for what is basically a weightlifting competition. I then went on to earn my masters and doctoral degrees at Stanford University in the Aeronautics and Astronautics department, where I performed research into high-order numerical methods for computational fluid dynamics (CFD) with a focus on methods for moving-grid simulations on GPUs (the signature simulation for my dissertation was a spinning golf ball – harder than it sounds!). As I neared graduation I was starting to look for jobs in the field of scientific computing, but Manuel Lopez (employee No. 1) was one of my labmates and he convinced me to come work for him at Volansi.

In your own words, what do you do at Volansi?

This has changed a lot over the years! I started out doing aerodynamic design and performance analysis and eventually became the sole developer of our autopilot software. That eventually led to my current role of leading the Embedded Systems Team. My team covers not just the autopilot, but many of the peripheral devices that interface with it, along with all of our communications systems. More recently I was also given the role of Chief Engineer of the SARA platform, which involves taking a broader look across all of the SARA teams and ensuring that our technical approaches remain aligned with meeting our near- and long-term goals.

What has been your favorite project so far at Volansi?

This is a tough one. I guess I’d say my current “pet project,” which is still very much in progress, involves working with the global PX4 development community to make PX4 more modular, developer-friendly and extensible through the use of PX4-based CAN nodes and the UAVCAN protocol. It’s a little abstract, but my concrete goal is to enable live system health monitoring of all actuators (servos and ESCs) via CAN nodes – as in full feedback of RPM, torque, current, voltage, etc.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I’m a cyclist/mountain biker and I love doing all-day rides into the wilderness from my front door – sometimes even multi-day bikepacking trips! I love just being outdoors in general, and particularly in the mountains.

Who are your heroes in aviation, drone, or logistics history?

I’d say my two biggest heros are Kelly Johnson and Burt Rutan. Kelly Johnson was the first leader of Lockheed’s Skunk Works (HIGHLY recommend reading Ben Rich’s book, Skunk Works!) and just an amazing aeronautical engineer. Burt Rutan is another aircraft designer, known for his really off-the-wall designs – look up the Voyager, Proteus or Boomerang aircraft.

We are in the dawn of unmanned flight and autonomous mobility. What are the applications that excite you most?

I think one of the coolest possible applications that’s not too different from what Volansi is tackling is wilderness search-and-rescue. Imagine scanning a remote forest to find a lost hiker and either dropping medical supplies or lifting them out, all autonomously – we could get there!

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.

Jeff Gerry

Title at Volansi: Senior Flight Test Engineer

Joined the team: 2020

Team member #110

Hometown: Old Town, Maine


Tell us a little bit about your background and the work you did before joining the Volansi team?

I come fresh from INTEL Corporation where I was a Drone Technical Engineer. I had the opportunity to fly over 500 light show drones at one time at various venues, including the Air Force Academy and Universal Studios “Harry Potter Experience”. Currently, I am nominated for an EMMY Award for my work with the Junior Olympics in Switzerland where I got to fly, map and create an Augmented Reality application for spectators so they could see what the competitors see. I’ve held multiple roles previously, including Senior Support Engineer at a manufacturer of large-format digital printers and Radio Engineer at Clear Channel Communications (now known as iHeart Radio). I am also a 10-year United States Marine CH-46e Helicopter Crew Chief and served in Desert Storm/Desert Shield, Bosnia, Somalia, Haiti, Liberia, and many other places.

In your own words, what do you do at Volansi?

As a Senior Flight Test Engineer, I provide the flight operations team insight, solutions and a sounding board for ideas and improvements. I bring engineering experience to the field where they have a readily available resource to make changes and complete their missions.

What has been your favorite project so far at Volansi?

M20. This is the best team I’ve ever worked with. There is a certain “ownership” I’ve taken with the M20 Flight Team as a facilitator that I have really enjoyed.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I enjoy creating with LEGO. I have so many drones I don’t know what to do with them all and I’m still trying to sort out my “Cornucopia” which is my storage unit (those who know, know).

Who are your heroes in aviation, drone, or logistics history?

I’ve flown with my heroes. I have been lucky to be with some of the best pilots, military and civilian alike. I would also say that the first flight I had with my uncle at age 7 sparked my interest in aviation.

We are in the dawn of unmanned flight and autonomous mobility. What are the applications that excite you most?

The concept of “send it, and forget it.” That is the coolest! When you know that the aircraft, vehicle, device, robot, or whatever, is going to follow the plan and complete the task, mission, delivery, that is a game changer!

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.

Raleigh Hoban

Title at Volansi: Senior Director of Sales Operations Enablement

Joined the team: 2021

Team member #137

Hometown: Danville, California

Tell us a little bit about your background and the work you did before joining the Volansi team?

I’ve been in sales operations for a very long time, mostly with startups. I find the startup environment interesting and fun because building something from the ground up is very satisfying, and if we are successful then everyone benefits. When you work in a startup environment, everything you do has an impact. It’s evident that your contributions helped the end result. For my third job out of college, I was tired of commuting to the city and was hired by a local startup as employee No. 96. There were weeks where we weren’t going to make payroll and we didn’t have a clear path for sales, but we figured it out and merged with another startup, which took off like a rocket. I was training 40-to-50 sales reps a quarter and we turned into a $1.2 billion company. That was a fun ride!

In your own words, what do you do at Volansi?

I manage Sales Operations, so I work on streamlining the sales process, forecast and sales reporting process. I also provide support to sales efforts. In short, I help the sales team in any way I can.

What has been your favorite project so far at Volansi?

My favorite project is making Salesforce our system of record. I want it to be so data-clean that we can push a button and have any type of accurate sales information that is needed. My favorite thing about Volansi as a whole is the company culture. I like how everyone is so friendly and willing to help one another in any way necessary. Working remotely, one would think it would be lonely, but not at Volansi. The amount of collaboration that goes on is quite unusual.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I am very close to my family (five siblings). I mostly hang out with them and my children on the weekends. During COVID, we got hooked on a card game called 5 Crowns and our games tend to become very competitive. I also enjoy reading a good “pink book” (the equivalent of a rom com movie) poolside and barbecuing during the summer. I also like to take long walks to try and stay in shape.

Who are your heroes in aviation, drone, or logistics history?

My aviation hero is Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who piloted US Airways Flight 1549. I remember watching the Today Show that morning in January 2009 and seeing the plane successfully land in the Hudson River. It was so incredible that no one died or was injured and I remember thinking how lucky the passengers were to have had such a skilled pilot like Sully. He happened to live in a neighborhood near me and many times after the crash, I would see him walking in the evening with his wife. We would say “hello” and he was very kind and humble.

We are in the dawn of unmanned flight and autonomous mobility. What are the applications that excite you most?

What fascinates me the most about this industry is the innovation that is required, and all the smart people it attracts because I can learn from them and they get you to think about things differently. At Volansi, we are in the forefront of something new and have a lot of really smart people to work with and learn from, which is so exciting.

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.

Ryan Marshall

Title at Volansi: Flight Operations Manager

Joined the team: 2019

Team member #65

Hometown: New York, New York

Tell us a little bit about your background and the work you did before joining the Volansi team?

After graduating from Embry Riddle Daytona Beach with a degree in Aeronautical Science, I entered into the commercial drone industry during its emerging years. I was a part of founding BNSF Railway’s UAS program. This was the first beyond visual line of sight operation within the United States as a partner in the FAA’s pathfinder program. Years later at another company, I helped to make drone delivery a reality connecting hospitals and clinics with critical medical supplies.

In your own words, what do you do at Volansi?

As a flight operations program manager, I help take a concept and make it a reality. It’s worth mentioning none of this would be possible without the support from a stellar flight operations team who continuously sets the industry standard.

What has been your favorite project so far at Volansi?

Actualizing first-of-its-kind drone delivery programs in two different countries.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I enjoy competitive driving events and getting my hands dirty with anything and everything automotive. When I am not in the garage or out on a race track you can find me backpacking or searching for the next adrenaline rush.

Who are your heroes in aviation, drone, or logistics history?

Charles Lindbergh, who completed the first solo transatlantic flight in 33 hours and 30 minutes. His determination to take on the unknown in an airplane overloaded with 450 gallons of gas with no front windscreen was nothing short of remarkable. I recommend anyone read about his journey battling deadly icing, unintentional bouts of sleep and getting lost along the way. It’s a testament to the willpower required to overcome challenges with seemingly no resolve in sight and to do what no person has done before.

We are in the dawn of unmanned flight and autonomous mobility. What are the applications that excite you most?

What Volansi is in the process of bringing to the world! Building and creating an entirely new mode of logistics. Better connecting people to the things they need at a pace not seen before.

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.

Johnathan Leppert

Title at Volansi: Director of Software Engineering

Joined the team: 2019

Team member #35

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

Tell us a little bit about your background and the work you did before joining the Volansi team?

I’ve been working in software for more than 15 years. I specialize in early-stage startups, taking ideas from the concept stage through to production systems, along the way building out high-performing software teams. I have worked on large-scale business and consumer data-driven applications, working everywhere from single-person startups to large enterprises. Over the past five years, I’ve worked in the drone industry at companies such as Airware, Kespry, and Fimratek primarily building analytical mapping applications for the mining, construction, and insurance industries. Now I am at Volansi working on bringing drone-based delivery and logistics accessible to a wider audience. I am passionate about the applications of drone technology and making complex technology easy and safe to use for end-users.

Starting in my early teen years, I began building and flying model fixed-wing and rotor aircraft, mostly R/C helicopters. I was known around the neighborhood as the crazy kid with the gas-powered helicopter. Years later, after I moved to the Bay area, I eventually would get a chance to continue my passion with the birth of the modern drone industry. I built my first multirotor aircraft in 2010 and immediately knew this is what I wanted to be doing with my time. Watching something you have built with your own hands and programmed or designed take flight is exhilarating. I have been fortunate to work on and be involved in several large-scale drone projects, and I have seen firsthand the transformational impact this technology can have on industry. I am able to combine my extensive software background and experience with R/C aircraft — it turns out quite a bit of software is involved in making these systems work.

In your own words, what do you do at Volansi?

At Volansi, I am responsible for the overall software team. This includes the management and growth of the team as well as the roadmap for the development and implementation of software within the company. I also work hands-on with many of the technical projects and still love to get my “hands dirty” with development. I really enjoy mentoring new engineers and watching them develop as they get better at their craft, then look at it in awe with what was developed as a team.

What has been your favorite project so far at Volansi?

My favorite project has by far been the design and building of a hexacopter we used to test software. It was something I hadn’t done before and we successfully used it as an aid for software development and as a test and demonstrator aircraft. It was fun to actually build something physical, while at the same time build software that would run on it. Seeing the whole thing come together at the end and fly was a lot of fun.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

In my spare time, I enjoy taking my dog, Artu to the dog park. I also love to explore the bay area and I’m into art, especially street art and murals. I still build and own more model aircraft than I care to admit, my latest side projects are building and flying fully 3D printed airframes.

Who are your heroes in aviation, drone, or logistics history?

Growing up in Ohio, of course, the Wright Brothers. I visited the Wright-Patterson Airforce Museum (the world’s largest aviation museum) many times as a child that served to be the catalyst that got me into building my own aircraft.

We are in the dawn of unmanned flight and autonomous mobility. What are the applications that excite you most?

I think that not too long from now, certainly within my lifetime, sending physical goods will be as easy and accessible as sending an email. In the way that the Internet and email transformed communications, accessible, easy to use and safe drones of all sizes will similarly transform aviation and many other industries. We are still building the foundational drone infrastructure and technology today like the original Internet networks were being built in the ’80s and ’90s that led to all the modern technology we now take for granted.

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.

Liz Stalford

Title at Volansi: Head Aviation Regulatory Affairs

Joined the team: 2021

Team member #124

Hometown: Bend, OR

Tell us a little bit about your background and the work you did before joining the Volansi team?

I have a BS degree and Commercial Multiengine and Seaplane ratings. After a few years as an Alaska Bush Pilot, I began my unmanned aerial systems (UAS) career by managing one of the FAA UAS Test Ranges. I went on to become the General Manager of a company that specialized in fire mapping using an aircraft equipped with multispectral payload and integrated augmented reality systems.

In your own words, what do you do at Volansi?

I partner with regulatory bodies for Volansi’s certifications and compliance. I am also expanding the current operating boundaries through operational waivers which will allow us to increase our capabilities for customers in the near and long term.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love to hike, ski, garden, and of course, fly.

Who are your heroes in aviation, drone, or logistics history?

Richard Bach is one of my favorites. He is not only an adventurous aviator but an outstanding author as well.

We are in the dawn of unmanned flight and autonomous mobility. What are the applications that excite you most?

The delivery of essential items to remote areas that have been isolated for far too long.

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.

Matt Mason

Title at Volansi: Senior UAS Quality Assurance Technician

Joined the team: 2018

Team member #14

Hometown:Parkersburg, West Virginia

Tell us a little bit about your background and the work you did before joining the Volansi team?

It all started way back in the day, on a Wednesday in January of 2005. I started to attend WVU for a Mechanical Engineering Degree while working as a Car Audio Installation Tech with Circuit City on the side. Being just out of high school, the pace of the day-in and day-out of continuing school was harsh. To make a long story short, I happened to venture into a recruiting office for the United States Marine Corps. A few months later I was standing on the yellow footprints outside of the Paris Island Recruit Depot in South Carolina. I attended the Naval Air Technical Training Center in Pensacola Florida as an Avionics Electrician. Then something special happened, which later would spark the rest of my career in Aviation! I was assigned to the CH46 (PHROG) Platform. If your not familiar look the Aircraft, look it up, it’s the most fantastic helicopter ever!

In your own words, what do you do at Volansi?

A little bit of everything. I primarily focus on the production of the  VOLY 10 Series unmanned aerial system (UAS), but I have also worked with the aircraft maintenance team traveling around the globe, helped the engineering team build their designs, assisted with the documentation of procedures, and help where I can to offer my skills.

What has been your favorite project so far at Volansi?

There is not just one favorite project. Every project I have been part of brings new challenges and obstacles to overcome. Overall, I would say my favorite part has been seeing the aircraft from day one mature into the planes we have flying all over the world today.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

My spare time consists of being a Dad to the greatest kids ever, and a husband to my wonderful wife. Activities that fall under that category would be anything outdoors (fishing, jeeping, hiking, camping, etc.), watching Jeopardy whenever I can, playing my guitar, and exploring the new areas where I live.

Who are your heroes in aviation, drone, or logistics history?

My heroes would be the men and women (military and civilian) who risk their lives to fly into harm’s way to rescue those in need.

We are in the dawn of unmanned flight and autonomous mobility. What are the applications that excite you most?

Being able to send an autonomous aircraft into situations that exceed safety margins for manned aircraft. If something happens, then we can send more.

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.

Stephen Morris

Title at Volansi: Vice President of Aircraft Engineering

Joined the team: 2019

Team member #71

Hometown: Aliquippa, PA

Tell us a little bit about your background and the work you did before joining the Volansi team?

I earned a Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University. I have had several technology roles in my career, including being the Director of Advanced Technology at Neptune Medical, CTO at Martin UAV, Inventor of V-Bat UAV, and Founder & President of MLB Co. (UAV developer and manufacturer). Additionally, I was a design team member with SWIFT hang glider, the highest performing hang glider ever manufactured.

In your own words, what do you do at Volansi?

I’m in charge of the aircraft engineering efforts (aerodynamics, structures, and propulsion) at Volansi. I lead new aircraft design research and development, as well as product development up to the production stage. I also assist other discipline teams as needed.

What has been your favorite project so far at Volansi?

Designing Volansi’s next-generation aircraft and working through flight testing.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

For the past 40 years, I’ve enjoyed flying hang gliders, riding dirt bikes, and building model airplanes.

Who are your heroes in aviation, drone, or logistics history?

It’s hard to narrow it down, but a few are:

  • Charles Lindbergh- Entrepreneur, aviator, and engineer
  • Jimmy Doolittle- Aviation record holder, aviation military leader, heroic
  • Dr. R.T. Jones (inventor of swept wings)- Self-taught genius in many fields, especially aircraft aerodynamics. Inventor of the oblique wing design
  • Stanley Hiller- One of the inventors of the modern helicopter, engineer, successful businessman, highly innovative VTOL designer
  • Niel Armstrong: Engineer, Astronaut, The Right Stuff

We are in the dawn of unmanned flight and autonomous mobility. What are the applications that excite you most?

Airborne access to information, travel, and goods for the betterment of humanity.

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.

Mike Guerchon

Title at Volansi: Senior Vice President of People

Joined the team: 2021

Team member #146

Hometown:Washington, DC

Tell us a little bit about your background and the work you did before joining the Volansi team?

I studied Finance at the University of Arizona on a wrestling scholarship. I went through Pillsbury’s management training program and got assigned to their restaurant group in Texas. I worked my way up from there into my first human resources role as the Director of Training. I’ve been in human resources for more than 25 years now.

One of my most fun adventures was joining Riverbed Technology in San Francisco when they were at $20 million in revenue and about 60 employees. Ten years later they achieved $1.2 billion in revenue, 2800 people, and the best IPO in the world the year we went public. The opportunity, the people, and the excitement at Volansi remind me of that same feeling.

In your own words, what do you do at Volansi?

My role at Volansi is to ensure that you find your dream job! My team and I want your experience to be great in every way. Although there are a lot of moving parts to achieve this, we believe one key element to set employees up for success is getting consistent employee feedback. Volansi is a great place for us all to grow our careers, be wildly successful, and have some fun along the way!

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I enjoy spending time with my family skiing, fly fishing, riding, floating, and hiking. Exploring the great outdoors is one of the reasons we moved to Bend!

Who are your heroes in aviation, drone, or logistics history?

It’s hard to beat some of the exceptionally brave accomplishments from Amelia Earhart. For someone who was born in the 1890s she had a lot more faith in aviation than I would have.

We are in the dawn of unmanned flight and autonomous mobility. What are the applications that excite you most?

I think the humanitarian and medical applications are really life-changing uses of our technology.