Leading Unmanned Systems and Robotics Industry Advocate Gretchen West Joins Hogan Lovells

WASHINGTON, D.C., 8 September 2015 – Bolstering its position as the premier global law firm representing the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) industry, Hogan Lovells announced today that Gretchen West has joined the firm’s Government Regulatory practice as Senior Advisor for Innovation and Technology in the Silicon Valley office.

After serving the unmanned systems and drone industry for over a decade, West is recognized as a leading advocate for commercial drones and robotics. She will enhance the firm’s ability to serve not only clients in the UAS industry, but also in related industries such as automated driving and consumer robotics, plus sectors such as energy and agriculture that are poised to become heavy users of unmanned systems.

West will provide clients in the commercial and consumer unmanned systems and robotics industries with emerging technology guidance and support them in acquisitions, understanding market potential, and creating end-user business cases. She will also bring extensive experience and knowledge in cultivating coalitions that advance common interests in evolving industries.

As a true pioneer in this field, Gretchen shares our commitment to remaining on the leading edge of a transformative and emerging industry,” said Lisa Ellman, co-chair of the firm’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Group. “Her unparalleled strategic, business development and regulatory experience will also be critical to helping us grow and serve our clients better. We welcome her to the firm.”

West joins Hogan Lovells from San Francisco start-up DroneDeploy, a commercial drone software provider, where she was Vice President of Business Development and Regulatory Affairs.

Previously, she served for more than a decade as Executive Vice President of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the world's largest non-profit organization devoted exclusively to advancing the unmanned systems and robotics community. In this role, she was responsible for overseeing AUVSI’s global business development, international growth strategy, marketing, government relations, and advocacy efforts. West and her team at AUVSI were at the forefront of advocating for the safe, timely and responsible integration of unmanned systems into the National Airspace System. She also served as the AUVSI member on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) UAS Study Group, which was tasked with creating a roadmap for the global integration of UAS.

With more than ten years of experience in the global unmanned systems market, Gretchen’s network is vast and deep and will serve as a great asset to the firm,” said Cole Finegan, the Regional Managing Partner of the Americas for Hogan Lovells. “Her policy skills are a tremendous complement to our deep and innovative legal bench in Silicon Valley, and her expertise will be instrumental in counseling our clients as they continue to navigate the uncertain UAS regulatory terrain.”

West is currently the National Advisory Board Chairperson for UAVUS (uavus.org) and serves on the Advisory Boards for Skyward, Nightingale Intelligent Systems, Aerobo (formerly AeroCine) and the Drone World Expo. She was formerly a member of Women in Aerospace (WIA) and the Association for Women Executives and Entrepreneurs (AWE).

My passion is moving the industry forward, and I’m excited for the opportunity to enable companies to become successful by providing them with the excellent and various counseling practices Hogan Lovells’ preeminent UAS Group offers,” said West. “Companies around the world and in multiple industries, such as disaster response, insurance, construction, newsgathering, real estate, energy, and agriculture are considering, with great interest, the numerous possibilities that unmanned aircraft systems create. With these opportunities comes a host of business, legal and regulatory questions. I look forward to working with these companies to position themselves to take full advantage of this innovative technology.”

West earned her B.A. in Leadership Studies and Sociology from the University of Richmond, and her MBA in Marketing from the George Washington University.

Hogan Lovells has perennially top-rated Aviation, Communications, Export, Legislative, Privacy, and Transactional practices, all of which are required to address the regulatory and transactional issues facing the UAS industry. The firm’s dedicated multidisciplinary UAS Group works across its global platform to address the business opportunities and regulatory challenges posed by this new technology. 

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