Chamber Panel to Discuss Unmanned Aircraft in Ag


The Hermiston Chamber of Commerce will host a panel discussion on agriculture later this month.

“They’re Not Drones: Potatoes and the Future of Unmanned Aircraft” will be the topic of the discussion at noon on June 25 at the Hermiston Conference Center.

The panel will include Dan Gadler of the Boeing Company, Josh Brungardt of PARADIGM and Phil Hamm, director of the Hermiston Agriculture Research and Extension Center.

Gadler is an engineer in the Strategy and Innovation division of Boeing Research and Technology. He has over 40 years of experience as an operations research analyst working with projects involving commercial remote sensing, including NASA’s Resource21 program, tactical missile programs, sensor development, directed energy (lasers and particle beams), and theater air defense systems, as well as classified intelligence programs. His recent projects include work on UAS-based Precision Agriculture, advanced UAS concepts, applications, and operations analysis, architectures for homeland security and national defense, decision support for optimal routing and resource allocation, architectural concepts for access to space, and advanced military communications architectures.

Brungardt founded the nation’s first academic program in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) at Kansas State University. In his career he’s worked as chief test pilot for Lancair Aircraft; was an instructor pilot for the U.S. Air Force; trained military crews in the operation of unmanned aircraft; authored the textbook “Introduction to Unmanned Aircraft Systems;” competes at the Reno National Air Races; and currently serves as the director of UAS for PARADIGM.

Hamm oversees the research and extension service supporting nearly 500,000 acres of irrigated agriculture in the Columbia Basin of Oregon and Washington. The center provides a wide variety of research and extension support to innovative agricultural and horticultural opportunities, and works with farmers to solve the problems that restrain production. The center also focuses on integrated pest management of insects and insect transmitted diseases, plant disease control and environmental issues. Hamm is also the incoming president of the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce.

Each of the panelists will discuss their vision for the future of unmanned aircraft technology. The cost of the luncheon is $10 for chamber members and $13 for nonmembers.

RSVP for the event by calling the chamber at 567-6151 or e-mail the chamber at