About the Panel of Experts:
Chris Hernandez is the vice president of Advanced Systems for Business and Advanced Systems Development at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems (AS), a premier provider of manned and unmanned aircraft, space systems and advanced technologies critical to our nation’s security.
In this role, he is responsible for leading the creation of advanced system solutions for future programs, such as next generation air dominance fighters, low observable and counter low observable systems, long-range strike and ISR systems, advanced weapons and future cargo/transport systems.
Prior to that role, he was the chief technology officer and vice president, Technology Development, for AS’s former Advanced Programs and Technology business area. In that role, he provided senior leadership representation on technology matters with customers, universities, industry and the rest of Northrop Grumman. He was also responsible for technology development to support future programs as well as legacy programs for upgrade and improvement opportunities.
Before joining Northrop Grumman in 1987 as a project engineer, Hernandez worked for Rockwell International Corporation in the development of NASA’s Space Shuttle and other advanced space launch vehicle concepts.
Mr. Hernandez earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from California State University, Long Beach, and a master’s degree in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan Fellows program. He served on the board of directors of the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation since 2001. MAOF, the largest nonprofit social services organization in the U.S., primarily serves the Hispanic community of California. Hernandez is currently the chairman of the Dean’s Advisory Counsel to the College of Engineering at Cal State Long Beach; serves on the Technical Operations Council of the Aerospace Industries Association and is a past chairman; is active with the Boy Scouts of America and was awarded Engineer of the Year by the Great Minds in STEM in 2014.
Michael E. Drobac serves as Executive Director of the Small UAV Coalition, an organization composed of leading consumer and technology companies with the goal of advancing the recreational, public (first responders), philanthropic and commercial use of small unmanned aerial vehicles. Founding members of the Small UAV Coalition are (in alphabetical order): Airware, Amazon Prime Air, DJI Innovations, GoogleX, GoPro, Parrot, and 3D Robotics.
In his role as Senior Policy Advisor at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in Washington, D.C., Mr. Drobac advocates before Congress and federal agencies in support of the policy objectives of his clients in the technology and telecommunications sectors. His expertise includes Policy and Regulation, Privacy and Data Protection, and Communications and Information Technology.
He subsequently served as legislative counsel to U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and then as legislative director to U.S. Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN).
During his career, he worked as head of government affairs for two different technology-related organizations – Netflix and the Online Publishers Association – and served in a senior role at a third, IAC/InterActiveCorp. He established, and served, as the first director of Netflix’s Washington, D.C. office, where he identified and developed the first official set of short and long-term policy goals for the company on federal, state and international policy issues.
Mr. Drobac also founded an Internet start-up to address chronic disease.
He received his B.A. and M.A. at Stanford University, his J.D. at University of Oregon School of Law, and his LL.M. from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
For the past ten years, Kevin Hull has managed the Federal Aviation Administration’s Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office in Long Beach, CA. This office is responsible for the design approval and continued operational safety of all aviation products produced in California, Arizona, Nevada and Hawaii. In 2012 his responsibilities were expanded to include design approval and continued operational safety for all civilian Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in the United States.
The Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office consists of eighty engineers, flight test pilots, program managers and administrative staff that are regularly engaged with over four hundred projects at any one time. In 2012, he led a small team that resulted in issuing the first two types of certificates for civilian UASs in the United Stated. The office is currently active in the certification process of several UAS programs.
Prior to his move to the FAA, he was the Senior Manager of Airworthiness for McDonnell Douglas and then Boeing.
He received his B.S. in Industrial Technology at California State University Los Angeles, minoring in law and marketing. He is also a FAA licensed Airframe and Power Plant Mechanic.
Matt Petrime is a Group Vice President at Applied Medical. Applied is a global company that designs, manufactures and distributes medical devices. The company is focused on meeting three fundamental healthcare needs: enhanced clinical outcomes, cost containment and unrestricted choice. Mr. Petrime has been with Applied for over twenty years, holding various positions in engineering, manufacturing, operations, and general management. His current responsibilities have him managing the Global Education and Sales Operations teams within Applied Medical.
Mr. Petrime holds an MBA from the University of Southern California, an MS degree in Bioengineering from the University of California, San Diego, and a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from California State University, Long Beach.
Mr. Petrime and his wife, Shalini, have one child, Nayan, and reside in South Orange County.