Dr. Jay Gundlach, president of RapidFlight LLC and Cerberus Managing Director, is a leading UAS subject matter expert with two decades of experience in UAS product development. He co-founded FlightHouse Engineering LLC in 2016, which specializes in detail design and prototyping. He founded Gundlach Aerospace in 2013 to support UAS product development, strategy, and DOD program offices. In previous positions, Dr. Gundlach led advanced aircraft studies and invented and developed various platforms including the Navy’s RQ-21A Blackjack. Dr. Gundlach earned his Ph.D. and MS from Virginia Tech with research on Multidisciplinary Design Optimization (MDO) of advanced transport aircraft and UASs. Over his career, Dr. Gundlach has worked on over 50 unique UAS types that achieved at least first flight. His UAS designs has cumulatively achieved over a million operational flight hours. Dr. Gundlach has written three authoritative textbooks on UAS design and teaches short courses.
Bradley Schneider has over 35 years of experience in the aerospace and defense industry, focusing the last decade and a half on the development of unmanned aerial vehicles, small satellite, and small launch vehicle technologies.
Mr. Schneider has performed senior leadership roles as Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Revenue Officer, and General Manager for successful start-up/private companies including MicroSat Systems, Rocket Lab, Firefly Aerospace and extensive public sector experience with Lockheed Martin Corporation and Raytheon. As a senior executive of innovative aerospace companies dedicated to the design, development and manufacturing of state-of-the-art systems, Mr. Schneider has been committed to reducing the barriers for delivering critical air/space derived information to the end user.
Mr. Schneider received a B.S. degree in Finance and Accounting from Brigham Young University. He has been recognized by the DoD, NASA, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), Wharton Business School and Inc. 500 for outstanding leadership and achievement.
Mr. Jean-Charles (JC) Ledé is the Chief Technology Officer for RapidFlight. He leads the Research and Development activities for the company which include engineering, prototype manufacturing, flight operations, project management, and Intellectual Property development.
Prior to joining RapidFlight, JC was the Air Force Research Laboratory Autonomy Technical Advisor reporting to the Commander. In this role JC oversaw the entire AFRL Autonomy and AI portfolio and made recommendation on new programs leveraging internal and external research. JC was the senior Air Force Research Laboratory representative in the OSD Autonomy Community of Interest and the Department of the Air Force AI Cross Functional Team. He also served as the autonomy Member at Large for NATO Science and Technology Office System Concept and Integration Panel.
Prior to these positions, Mr. Ledé was a Program Manager at DARPA within the Tactical Technology Office and the Defense Sciences Office. Starting in 2013, he led multiple autonomy programs including Collaborative Operations in Denied Environment (CODE) aimed at increasing the capabilities of existing unmanned systems via heterogeneous teaming at the tactical edge, the Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program to enable autonomous navigation of small quadcopters in complex environment with no external sensing (including GPS) and no a priori knowledge, the Centralized Control of Commercial Drones (C3D) that provides a safe and effective mean of controlling multiple commercial UAS. JC also led several classified programs focused on reducing time and cost while improving performance of UAS, as well as several counter UAS programs. In addition, he developed several critical technologies to enable novel aircraft configurations including new aerodynamic effectors, new motors, and other subsystems (radios, sensor payloads, advanced fuel).
Prior to joining DARPA, JC was the Director for Autonomous/Unmanned Systems at Raytheon Missile Systems, where he provided a vision for innovative autonomous systems concepts and products and oversaw the development of a miniature strike weapon. Before working at Raytheon, JC held multiple positions with Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation, ultimately becoming Vice President for Advanced Concepts. At Aurora, he focused on rapid prototyping and the development of new unmanned air vehicle concepts.
Mr. Burak Uzman is the Director of Automation Innovation at RapidFlight. He is responsible for developing RapidFlight's intellectual property portfolio and leads the company strategic initiatives to design, manufacture, and deliver products faster. Burak brings 25 years of executive management and technical leadership experience in UAVs, robotics, and artificial intelligence to RapidFlight. Prior to joining RapidFlight, he was one of the co-founders at NeuralAgent GmbH, a Munich based AI/ML company that is supported by the European Space Agency (ESA) and Airbus. Burak has held executive leadership roles as General Manager, Managing Director, and Business Development Manager at private companies including Coriolis Composites, ALA Group, and Aurora Flight Sciences (a Boeing Company). He has an MBA degree in addition to MS and BS degrees.
Thom has been a part of RapidFlight from its inception, initially as an independent contractor engaged to stand up the company and now as the Director of Business Operations. Thom has nearly 40 years of leadership experience delivering information technology and business solutions to complex organizations. He completed a distinguished 31-year military career as an Army Signal Officer where he held command and staff positions from the platoon to combatant command level, with multiple combat and operational deployments to Europe, the Middle East, Pacific, and Africa. Since leaving the military, Thom has focused on starting, running, and growing businesses. As a consultant, he implemented IT processes and systems across several industries for large and small organizations. Prior to joining RapidFlight, he was the Senior Vice President of Business Operations at R9B, LLC, a leading cybersecurity company acquired by Deloitte and Touche, LLP. Outside of work, he is an avid triathlete and 5 time Ironman.
Mr. Frattin joined the RapidFlight team in September of 2021 as the Director of Engineering. He is developing a growing team of Engineers and Engineering Technicians and provides leadership support in all aspects of research, design, development and manufacturing of RapidFlights’ products. Prior to joining RapidFlight Mr. Frattin held positions of progressive responsibility working for aerospace and defense companies such as Northrop Grumman, QinetiQ (formerly MTEQ) and L3 Communications (Aeromet) spanning a career of over 25-years. From his early career as an avionics/electronics engineer, he quickly grew into leadership roles responsible to build and guide comprehensive engineering teams engaged in all aspects of the design and development of novel airborne systems, design and integration of extensive aircraft modifications and related ground and flight test programs. Outside of the office, Mr. Frattin is a general aviation pilot, drone and amateur radio enthusiast, and volunteer in the Civil Air Patrol and Scouts BSA.
Jeff Ratcliffe is the Business Development Director for RapidFlight, LLC where he helps customers to solve difficult problems with solid technical and business strategies. He has served in the defense, technology, and unmanned systems industries for over twenty years developing semiconductors, production lines, payloads, and propulsion systems. He is active in the professional community, serving on the AUVSI Board of Directors and as President Emeritus of the Cascade Chapter of AUVSI. Jeff also serves on the SAE E-39 Subcommittee on UAV Propulsion. He enjoys spending time with family, hiking trails to waterfalls, and exploring museums and historical areas.
/ Contract Manager
Board of Directors
Jim Geisler, Co-Chair
/ Cerberus Capital Management Operations
/ DynCorp International
/ United Technologies
/ Managing Director Tracker Capital Management
/ Central Intelligence Agency
Jay Gundlach, PH.D., CEO
/ Managing Director, Tracker Capital Management
Anthony Vinci, Chairman
/ Managing Director, Tracker Capital Management
/ CTO, NGA
Jonathan Gallen, Director
/ Managing Director, Cerberus Capital Management
Greg Nixon, Director
/ Head of Strategic Investments for Cerberus Capital Management