Will Guide the Education and Advocacy Group Through Next Phase of Growth

Washington, D.C. and Silicon Valley, June 14, 2017 – The Commercial Drone Alliance, an independent 501c6 non-profit led by key figures of the commercial drone industry, today announced Laura Ponto has been appointed to serve as Chairman of the Board. Ms. Ponto is the Head of Public Policy and Regulatory Affairs for Project Wing at X. Her term starts immediately. 

The commercial drone industry is growing quickly, but still faces legal and policy headwinds driven by current events. Ms. Ponto’s experience guiding one of the most innovative companies in the space will be a tremendous asset as the Alliance enters a new phase of educating and advising policymakers and delivering value to commercial drone end-users.  

“The Commercial Drone Alliance’s work is crucial to the growth of this industry, and the realization of all this technology has to offer,” said Laura Ponto, Chairman of the Board, Commercial Drone Alliance. “I’m very pleased to lead the Board and work with such a talented group of people. We are committed to connecting policymakers and innovators to unlock the potential of drones and safely integrate them into the national airspace.”

Formed in May 2016, the Commercial Drone Alliance supports enterprise end-users adopting drone technology and seeks to enable commercial drone market growth. The group’s mission is public and policymaker education to accelerate the realization of commercial drone benefits in a way that ensures the safety, security and privacy of the public.   

“We’re extremely fortunate to gain a leader of Laura’s caliber to drive the Alliance forward in pursuit of its mission,” said Gretchen West, co-executive director for the Commercial Drone Alliance. “Her depth of experience in government policy making and private sector innovation perfectly aligns her with our goal of delivering value to the commercial end-user community.”

“We’re entering a critical point for this industry and having Laura as the Alliance’s Chairman will greatly benefit us and the industry at large,” said Lisa Ellman, co-executive director for the Commercial Drone Alliance. “Developing policies that help the commercial drone space flourish and getting them implemented in a challenging political environment will take expertise, determination and a breadth of knowledge. With her deep FAA experience combined with her current role at X, Laura brings all of that and more to the table and together with our members, we’ll be in a tremendous position to advance our agenda.”     

Laura is deeply respected in the aviation industry, Congress, and the Executive Branch. She spent more than ten years in the FAA Office of Chief Counsel, most recently as Senior Legislative Counsel. She worked directly with Congress and the White House and was asked to serve as counsel on detail to the Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation during the last FAA Reauthorization. Before entering the legislative arena, Laura was a trial attorney and served as Special Assistant United States Attorney.