The Future of Flight Speakers


Jonathan Ruane Profile Pic (1).png

Name: Jonathan Ruane

Title:  Lecturer in Global Economics and Managment Group

Company: Sloan

Jonathan Ruane is a Lecturer in the Global Economics and Management group at Sloan where he teaches "The Business of Artificial Intelligence" and a Researcher in the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy. He is a Fulbright recipient and a former lecturer in entrepreneurship at University College Dublin. He serves on the advisory board of the Cantillon Centre for entrepreneurship research. Jonathan leads a blockchain collaboration between MIT and an industry wide insurance consortium and is interested in the impact of digital technologies such as artificial intelligence on businesses and markets.


Name: Gareth Keane

Title:  Senior Investment Manager

Company: Qualcomm Ventures

Gareth joined the team in 2012 and has been heavily involved in Qualcomm Ventures activities in the hardware and connected device ecosystems. He helped define the Qualcomm Ventures investment thesis around UAVs and robotics, and led the Qualcomm Ventures investments in companies like 3D Robotics and Spire.

Gareth started his professional career as an engineer, and spent many years in engineering roles before turning to the darkside. He graduated from the National University of Ireland with a Bachelor’s degree in Electronic Engineering in 1994, and followed this up with a PhD in Electronic Engineering from The Queen’s University of Belfast in 1999, where his thesis focused on low-power design methodologies for signal processing systems. His first job out of graduate school was working on complex semiconductor design tools for Cadence, and he continued working on methodologies and design flows as an engineer and manager at PMC-Sierra. After eight years solving technology challenges in successively smaller silicon geometries he decided it was time for Business School and spent two years in the MBA program at UPenn/Wharton in Philadelphia, graduating in 2010.


Name: Dan McKinnon

Title: Director of Product

Company:  3D Robotics

Dan McKinnon received his bachelor’s degree in Physics and doctorate in Chemical Engineering before co-founding Agribotix after being conscripted by the Denver Zoo to develop a drone for wildlife observation and capture. At Agribotix, he has worked extensively with growers and agronomists to develop both a front-end data collection workflow and a back-end data processing solution that quickly and easily gets valuable actionable intelligence into their hands. These efforts have resulted in the establishment of several concrete value propositions for drones in agriculture as well as numerous lessons for what works and what doesn’t in the field.


Name: Ben Marcus

Title: CEO and Co-Founder

Company:  AirMap

Ben Marcus is an FAA-certified Airline Transport Pilot and Flight Instructor with over 4,000 hours of flight experience in more than 100 aircraft types. Prior to AirMap, Ben co-founded jetAVIVA, the largest aircraft sales company in the world that centers on light jets. 

The Santa Monica, CA, resident grew up in the shadows of that city’s airport, took his first flying lesson at 10, became a licensed pilot at 17, and obtained his college degree from Purdue University in aviation technology. He serves as vice chairman of Angel Flight West and is a member of the Space Angels Network. Ben also flies volunteer missions for animal rescue groups Pilots N Paws and Wings of Rescue.


Name: Travis Mason

Title: Public Policy and Government Relations

Company:  Google[x]

Travis G. Mason is a member of Google's public policy & government affairs team focused on the company's most innovative work in autonomous technology, renewable energy and health sciences primarily at Google[x]. From smart contact lenses to cargo delivery via self-flying vehicles, Travis works with regulators and industry leaders to advance next generation technologies. Before Google, Mason worked at Booz Allen Hamilton with government leaders at the Departments of Homeland Security, Defense and State.

He graduated from the Maxwell School of Citizenship at Syracuse and was recognized as a Harry S. Truman Scholar, one of the country's most prestigious undergraduate awards. He earned his Masters from the University of Michigan and has also studied at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government as a Galbraith Scholar. Mason is also a classically trained pianist and vocalist who enjoys good Jazz.