Thomas Reese Joins Unmanned Safety Institute as Head of Operations

Unmanned Safety Institute (USI) announced today that they have hired Thomas Reese as their new vice president of operations. In this role, Reese will oversee the company’s continued growth in both its academic and commercial markets. Reese brings his education in aeronautical science along with significant operational experience in both crewed and remotely piloted aviation to USI.

USI President and CEO Josh Olds commented, “Thomas brings very unique qualifications to USI, continuing our commitment to integrate aviation safety practices into emerging technology utilization. Not only does he possess pilot qualifications and experience from both crewed and remotely piloted operations, but he is also a certificated A&P mechanic and brings recent four years of large-scale commercial UAS operations experience with a Fortune 500 company that was committed to a best-in-class type of program.”  Olds added, “Thomas’ focus will be on managing USI’s operational growth as we scale past 500 academic institutions leveraging USI’s workforce development programs. He will also be supporting a rapidly growing number of commercial operations that are scaling to hundreds of aircraft and pilots over large geographic regions.”

Reese first started his relationship with USI as a customer. “I was able to experience the USI commitment to excellence in UAS operations firsthand,” said Reese. “I was extremely impressed with how USI focused on helping us as their customer achieve the ROI that is expected of commercial drone programs. Seeing how USI leads the UAS industry in standardized workforce development through their commercial, high school, and collegiate programs, added to my excitement about my new role.” Reese continued, “The industry will need hundreds of thousands of well-trained workers over the next decade, and I’m proud to join USI in leading the development of the workforce, establishing and implementing safety standards and best practices, to provide a highly-sought-after talent pipeline.”

Reese is replacing industry pioneer and long-time USI Vice President Don ShinnamonShinnamon will continue his work at USI as director of audit programs shaping the growing safety programs, gap audit, and best practices product line.

About Unmanned Safety Institute

Unmanned Safety Institute (USI) is the industry’s most widely recognized leader in flight safety solutions for individuals, academia and organizations focused on integrating and operating UAS for civil or commercial purposes. Unmanned Safety Institute provides UAS flight safety training and certification to operational standards based on the adoption and modification of time-honored aviation safety practices. With more than 300 instructors and over 15,000 USI Certifications awarded around the world, USI works with large commercial enterprises and nearly 500 schools in all 50 statesUSI is the global leader in commercial and academic UAS training and certification, delivering the most highly regarded training program of its kind. Programs include the Small UAS & Advanced Safety Certifications, Visual Line of Sight Systems Operations™ (VSO) and Professional Remote Operator™ (PRO) certifications and Unmanned Connect™ workforce development initiative. USI’s training and certification programs are endorsed by major aviation insurance providers, widely utilized in current BVLOS operations, and implemented nationwide as a workforce pathway program from secondary or post-secondary to the career field to align skillsets to industry pay scales. Discover more at

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