James Grimsley serves as the Executive Director for Advanced Technology Initiatives with the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and also serves as an Oklahoma Transportation Commissioner with oversight and governance responsibilities for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. Mr. Grimsley currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Commercial Drone Alliance (CDA) as well as a variety of other boards and advisory groups. As part of Mr. Grimsley’s Choctaw Nation duties, he currently manages the FAA BEYOND Program (the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma is the only tribal lead participant in the BEYOND program), and previously managed the FAA Integration Pilot Program (IPP) for the Choctaw Nation. In October 2022 U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg appointed Mr. Grimsley to the FAA’s Advanced Aviation Advisory Council (AAAC).
Mr. Grimsley’s undergraduate and graduate degrees are in aerospace and mechanical engineering, and Mr. Grimsley has more than 32 years of professional experience in the aviation and defense industries including corporate executive experience as well as being an Associate Vice President for Research at the University of Oklahoma. Most of Mr. Grimsley’s career has involved uncrewed aerial systems (UAS). Mr. Grimsley has published papers in both peer-reviewed engineering journals and law journals on issues related to drones and emerging aviation. Mr. Grimsley has also testified before Congress on aerospace innovation topics and has appeared multiple times before the Oklahoma legislature to discuss aerospace and aviation policy issues, and was a speaker at the White House Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) Summit in August 2022. Mr. Grimsley has been a regular speaker at industry conferences and a commentator in the press since 2007 for drone and emerging aviation topics.