Hoeven to Host Transportation Secretary Chao in Fargo

Senator Invited Secretary to Address Drone Focus Conference, Review North Dakota’s UAS Industry

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that he will be hosting U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao for the 2017 Drone Focus Conference starting on May 31st in Fargo, a gathering of local, national and global leaders in the unmanned aerial systems (UAS) industry. Following the senator’s invitation earlier this year, Secretary Chao agreed to address the conference and attend other events on the future of UAS in the state and around the nation. Further, Chao will meet with Grand Forks’ representatives about the unique UAS research, development and operations ongoing in the region.

“North Dakota continues to stand out as a leader in UAS technology research, development and training,” Hoeven said. “I appreciate Secretary Chao for accepting my invitation to visit the state and contribute to the 2017 Drone Focus Conference. We’re excited to show her the dynamic UAS industry in our state and its benefits for the nation in agriculture, energy, border security and many other areas.”

Last year, Hoeven kicked off the second annual Drone Focus Conference and hosted the event’s keynote speaker, Dr. John Cavolowsky from the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Dr. Cavolowsky is NASA’s lead researcher in the development of unmanned traffic management systems.

Hoeven has worked since his time as governor to establish North Dakota as a hub of UAS research, development and training. He recentlyinvited Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly to North Dakota to see local efforts to develop UAS technology at Grand Sky and the test site, which the secretary accepted. Hoeven also successfully urged the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to authorize the Northern Plains UAS Test Site to oversee UAS operations that go beyond the line of sight of the operator. This authorization gives the state a competitive edge in working with government agencies to integrate UAS into the national airspace.