INSTRUCTOR BIOS

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JOHNNY ATHAS

FDNY Special Operations Robotics Division, New York, NY

Led search/rescue operations, including fires emergencies, construction incidents, marine operations, hazmat incidents, air quality testing, brush fires, and terrorist activities. Operated and Maintained numerous drone systems, platforms and payloads including DJI and Autel products. Utilized Pix4D React for photogrammetric imagery processing. Used RTMP and Autel Live Deck for live streaming of major incidents.  Supported training programs by recording drone footage during Special Operation drills to be used in training videos to secure Federal Grants. Recorded and maintained flight log books and maintenance reports on all drones for FAA. Conducted pre-flight, in-flight, and post flight safety checks. Assessed UAS performance and drone system capabilities. Executed daylight flights and night operation in compliance with FAA regulations.  Captured surface temperature data by using Flir XT2 radiometric thermal drone camera. Relay real time information to the Command Post with images, video, and situational awareness of the incident.Achieved flight clearance by collaborating with FAA, National Park Service, US Secret Service,
NYPD, and LAANC.
• Performed aerial photography, video, and mapping with drones and ground systems.
• Cooperated with NIST in establishing federal flight qualifications for first responder drone pilots.

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JONATHAN BEAL

Sgt. Gresham Police Department
UAS Supervisor/ President at Law Enforcement Drone Association (LEDA)

Jon Beal is a Sergeant with the Gresham (Oregon) Police Department and the supervisor of their UAS Team.  He started his career as a police officer in 2008 with the Los Angeles Police Department.  In 2013, he moved his family to the Portland Metro area and joined the Gresham PD.  He spent his time as patrol officer, Field Training Officer, then Narcotics Detective, where he discovered a passion for drones.  He worked diligently to start a UAS program at GPD since 2017, writing policies, procedures, attending trainings and writing training curriculum.  Since his promotion to Sergeant in 2018, Jon continued his work on the program getting FAA waivers and approvals from GPD's command staff and finally created GPD's first UAS team, comprised of 10 pilots and six aircrafts.  He continues to develop new methods of training and technology to support the team and its function as well as spending time helping other agencies get their programs up and running.  He spends his free time with his family and flying drones in the private sector as a contract pilot.

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JAMES (DOUG) DANIELS

Sgt. at Greenfield Police Department (Ret.)
Senior Law Enforcement Training Officer at Ohio Attorney Generals Office (Ret.)

Doug served for 23 years with the Greenfield Police Department where he attained the rank of sergeant. Doug joined the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) staff in 2000 as a full-time instructor. Doug is recognized as a subject matter expert by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission in several law enforcement disciplines including conducting research for Law Enforcement in the use of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS)/Drones and instructed courses for sUAS/Drones at OPOTA for Public Safety. After 20 years with OPOTA & the Ohio Attorney General Office as a Senior Law Enforcement Training Officer (Ret.), Doug has retired from the State of Ohio. Doug is a member in good standing with the National Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor Association (NLEFIA), International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors (IALEFI) and the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA). He has taught at four IALEFI Annual Training Conferences and one IALEFI Regional Conference, two ILEETA Annual Training Conferences and two Ohio Tactical Officers Annual Training Conferences, and at the 1st Annual Southwest Ohio NAPWDA Conference and at the Southwest Regional K-9 Training Group Night Tracking and Drone Integration Seminar. Doug holds a Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate with the FAA and is a member of Airborne Public Safety Association (APSA), is the Deputy Director Midwest Region for APSA, and presented at APSA’s Public Safety Drone Expo, a member of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), AUVSI Wright-Kettering Chapter, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems Association (UAVSA), the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), DRONERESPONDERS, the International Public Safety Association (IPSA), and the Law Enforcement Drone Association (LEDA). Doug has also collaborated together with PoliceOne and instructed an online course for the PoliceOne Academy titled: Drone Use for First Responders. Doug serves as a Special Deputy and Remote Pilot with the Highland County Sheriff’s Office.  Doug has formed an LLC, Triple D’s Drone Training & Aerial Services.

BRANDON KARR

National sUAS SME for Public Safety

Chair for the Gulf Coast Public Safety Unmanned Response Team (PSURT)
Co-Founder Unmanned tactical Group

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Brandon Karr is from Pearland, Texas.  Brandon started his interest in aviation in 2006 where he earned his Commercial and Certified Flight Instructor licenses for manned fixed wing single-engine, multi-engine, and instrument ratings. He used his aviation knowledge and experience in law enforcement and major incident response to assist over 200 agencies start or develop their programs across the nation. He has developed programs to be integrated into patrol, K9, SWAT, crash reconstruction, and crime scene functions. Brandon is also the lead UAS curriculum developer and instructor for Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service and Forensic Mapping Solutions. Brandon has developed several courses involving utilizing UAS in public safety including Part 107 Ground School, Basic to Advanced Flight Scenarios, Night Operations, Crime and Crash Scene Mapping, and Legal Concerns for UAS. Brandon is a committee member on two subcommittees for the State of Texas regarding the implementation of sUAS for major disasters or incidents.

 

Brandon has also spoke at multiple conferences across the nation such as: the National Public Safety UAS Conference, DJI Airworks, NCAUVSI UAS and Disaster Response, National Forum for Black Public Administrators, AUVSI, Commerial UAV Expo, and Law Enforcement Drone Association.  

Brandon is also President of the Gulf Coast Regional Public Safety UAS Response Task Force. This regional team is comprised of over 85 agencies with over 200 pilots that are tasked with responding to law enforcement, fire/EMS, or OEM purposes in the event of disasters or major incidents. The regional team has responded to multiple incidents across the state, provides a variety of UAS training to the region, and assists Public Safety agencies develop UAS programs.

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LLOYD MACKINNON

Lieutenant/Watch Commander at Stanislaus Sheriff's Office

Lloyd is one of those rare instructors that pours his heart and soul out when he is in the classroom.  His passion and love for the “job” and members of law enforcement comes through every time he teaches and he always gives 110% to his students.


Lloyd began his law enforcement career in 1998 in New Haven, Connecticut, as a Deputy Sheriff with the New Haven County Sheriff’s Department, working mainly in the courtroom arena. Lloyd then became a police officer for the North Haven Police Department in Connecticut.


Lloyd continued to work in the Town of North Haven for four more years until he moved out West to California in 2003. He applied and tested number one with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department who offered him an opportunity to go back to his Deputy Sheriff roots. Lloyd knew he had found his forever home with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s even though his field training proved difficult due to his heavy East Coast accent and his complete unfamiliarity with California lingo. 


Once at the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department Lloyd became a Canine handler. During his tenure, he had three canine partners and became an expert in suspect tactics and perimeter deployment. Lloyd took that talent to the air and founded the UAS/Drone Unit and authored the first COA with the FAA for the Department. He also served as a TFO (tactical flight officer) another natural spot for him. As a TFO he became eyes in the sky for chasing bad guys, setting up perimeters, and conducting longline rescues. As a Deputy Sheriff Lloyd worked on the Mobile Field Force, Dive Team, as a Community Deputy, Homicide Detective, and on a Stanislaus County District Attorney‘s Office Taskforce. Lloyd’s current favorite assignment is teaching recruits at the Stanislaus County Regional Training Center.


Lloyd was promoted to Sergeant with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department in January 2015 and then to Detective Sergeant in 2017. He was Sergeant of the Stanislaus County Dive Team for five years. In 2020 Lloyd was promoted to Lieutenant. He is currently a  Watch Commander and has returned as Lieutenant Commander of his favorite unit…K9!

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SCOTT MLAKAR

Asst. Chief (Ret.) Willoughby Fire Department
Lake County Unmanned Aerial System Team Coordinator/Chief Pilot
Co-Founder Unmanned Tactical Group

Scott Mlakar is an Assistant Chief (Ret) with the Willoughby (OH) Fire Department where he has served for 37 years. He is a paramedic, hazmat specialist, technical rescue coordinator, fire investigator, FAA Remote Pilot. He serves on the Fire Chief's Special Operations Committee in Lake County. He developed and is the Chief in charge of the Lake County Public Safety Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) team, composed of Firefighters and Police officers. It provides UAS support to all of Lake County's emergency services, special teams and government agencies.  He has presented at various National UAS conferences including Interdrone, Commercial UAV Expo Americas, and the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) on Public Safety UAS Programs.  He has published articles for Fire Engineering magazine on Public Safety UAS. He serves as lead Instructor at Tri-C Community College as part of their Public Safety Drone program, and as an Instructor for Flymotion Unmanned Systems training public safety professionals all across the country.

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DOUG SEIRUP

Deputy Sheriff at Benton County Sheriff's Office
Public Affairs Liaison at Law Enforcement Drone Association (LEDA)

Doug Seirup is a Deputy with the Benton County (Oregon) Sheriff's Office and oversees the law enforcement division's UAS Team.  He started his law enforcement career in 2008 in the state of Utah, before moving to Corvallis, Oregon, and joining the BCSO in 2015.  Doug is a Field Training Deputy, EVOC instructor, and a member of the Major Crash Team.  With a passion for technology and finding ways to incorporate it into law enforcement, Doug helped start the UAS program in Benton County in early 2019.  With seven aircraft and three part 107 certified operators, Doug has helped the Benton County Sheriff's Office implement their UAS program into many facets of law enforcement work, including crash and crime scene reconstruction/mapping, assisting patrol with crimes in progress, and providing overwatch aerial support for SWAT missions.

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KATIE (GAUSMANN) THIELMEYER

Firefighter/Paramedic
Risk Reduction Officer/UAS Program Manager

Katie Thielmeyer is a firefighter/paramedic and FAA Part 107-certified remote pilot who assists public safety agencies implement best-of-class drone programs based on ASTM and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) flight standards.  She is regarded as a subject matter expert in the use of sUAS for mission-critical public safety applications.

Ms. Thielmeyer serves as the Risk Reduction Officer with the Woodlawn (Ohio) Fire Department, where she oversees the Risk Reduction Division, delivering an array of essential services including fire & EMS response, community outreach, and fire prevention programs.  In 2018, Thielmeyer created the Emergency Services Special Operations (ESSO) sector within the Risk Reduction Division to implement a public safety unmanned aviation program focused on sUAS response.  That team, in collaboration with other fire and law agencies, now provides mutual assistance for regional deployments in the Cincinnati area and beyond.

Katie also serves as a project manager and principal investigator with DRONERESPONDERS, the world’s fastest-growing non-profit program supporting the use of sUAS by public safety agencies and emergency services around the globe.  In this capacity, Ms. Thielmeyer oversees DRONERSPONDERS’ partnership with NIST, as well as other specialized initiatives.

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JOHN WAKIE

Firefighter/sUAS Pilot with FDNY
sUAS Instructor and Consultant

As a 14 year veteran firefighter with the country's largest department, John has been operating
drones as a hobbyist and a professional for over 8 years. Combining his two passions became a
reality when his department decided to start a sUAS program.
When his department made the move to transition its sUAS program to robotics, John was one
of only a handful of firefighters tasked with molding an effective, organized, and teachable
solution.
"Being on the forefront of building a program for such a large department was no easy task. My
colleagues and I learned a lot in the process. Constantly looking at the latest equipment and the
endless hours of researching sUAS allowed me to accept a position as a sUAS instructor for
New York State Preparedness Training Center. In our classes we work with Public Safety sUAS
operators from all over the country and in all branches of Public Safety.”

MICHAEL WALL

Firefighter/sUAS Pilot with FDNY
sUAS Instructor and Consultant

Michael Wall is a veteran firefighter with over 17 years of service in the F.D.N.Y. As the only firefighter still with the unit since its inception and initial joint venture with the FAA, Michael provides effective sUAS flight in the highly controlled and complex airspace of NYC.

​As a licensed Part 107 Pilot, he has flown both with his Department and privately. The majority of incidents piloted have occurred in the Class B airspace surrounding Laguardia, JFK, and Newark airports. In addition to his Part 107 license, Michael was also a sUAS instructor for the New York State Preparedness Training Center.

"I love the ability to change public perception of sUAS operations and be a part of something so groundbreaking in Public Safety. So many advancements in Police and Fire technology are usually the result of tragedy within a department. To be attached to a completely proactive program is a rare and exciting thing. I now strive to develop Public Safety sUAS programs that, once established, their absence becomes an abnormality in the eyes of the public and the City Government.”

CLAY REGAN

Patrol Division Commander for Midlothian Texas Police Dept.
founding member of the North Texas Public Safety Unmanned Response Team (NTX PSURT)

Commander Clay Regan is currently a Patrol Division Commander for the Midlothian Texas Police Department. He was hired as a Patrol Sergeant in March of 2018 after serving 28 years with the Bedford Texas Police Department.


During his time in Bedford, Clay held such positions as Patrol Officer, 5th/7th Grade DARE Instructor; Field Training Officer; Gang Unit Investigator; Field Training Coordinator, SWAT Team Member, Patrol Supervisor, Department Instructor, K9 Decoy, and Detective. He proposed and developed several of the department’s first programs, such as the Designated Marksman Program, Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Program, Honor Guard Program, and Critical Incident Stress Program and Policy.  Hs is a founding member of the North Texas Public Safety Unmanned Response Team (NTX PSURT), and has numerous UAS responses under his belt, including a deployment to south east Texas in support of the Hurricane Harvey Response. He ended his career in Bedford developing the department’s first Tactical Intelligence Program.


Since his arrival with the Midlothian Police Department, he has developed the UAS Program and authored the cities first Certificate of Waiver and Authorization (COA), allowing for UAS flights by the Police and Fire Departments.


Chief Master Sergeant (CMSgt.) Clay Regan retired from the US Air Force in December 2020 after serving 26+ years as on active duty, and as a reservist. While on active duty, he was an Explosive Detector Dog Handler, Military Working Dog Section Trainer, and worked extensively with the US State Department and US Secrete Service.  Clay has several deployments under his belt, including 19 months in response to 911, and a deployment to Kandahar Afghanistan. He retired as the Security Forces Manager/Senior Enlisted Member, of a large Security Forces (Police) Unit in Florida.


Clay is a 1984 graduate of Midlothian High School. He is also a graduate of several civilian Law Enforcement Leadership Courses and US Military Command Schools. He holds a Bachelors’ Degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Columbia College and a Masters’ Degree in Critical Incident Management/Emergency Management from St. Leo University in Florida.