Are Drones the Ultimate Disruptive Technology?

Date: Thursday, May 18, 2017
Time: 6:00pm-8:30pm
Location: KPMG
3975 Freedom Circle Drive
Santa Clara, CA 95054



Unmanned airplanes – hype or game-changer? Google, Amazon, DHL, Ali Baba, as well as 7-Eleven, have pilot programs demonstrating drone delivery. Uber and Zee.Aero are building flying cars. Are they high tech toys or will they revolutionize last-mile delivery and personal transportation? The answer may be more in the hands of regulators than innovators. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration says that more than 770,000 drone owners have registered to fly in U.S. airspace. Although the FAA forecasts millions of commercial drones by 2021, the regulations they enacted in 2016 require that unmanned aircraft remain in the sight of a trained pilot at all times.
China is more permissive, and several companies are already doing drone delivery to remote areas. Will the U.S. be left out of the unmanned flight revolution? Will an unmanned flight revolution even happen?

Join ACG Silicon Valley’s Keynote Panel on Drones at KPMG and find out!


Our Distinguished Panel


Vivek Wadhwa

Distinguished Fellow
Carnegie Mellon University – College of Engineering

Vivek Wadhwa is a Distinguished Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering and a Director of Research at Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering. He is a globally syndicated columnist for The Washington Post and author of The Immigrant Exodus: Why America Is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent, which was named by The Economist as a Book of the Year of 2012, and of Innovating Women: The Changing Face of Technology, which documents the struggles and triumphs of women. Wadhwa has held appointments at Stanford Law School, Harvard Law School, and Emory University and is a faculty member at Singularity University.

Wadhwa is based in Silicon Valley and researches exponentially advancing technologies that are soon going to change our world. These advances–in fields such as robotics, artificial intelligence, computing, synthetic biology, 3D printing, medicine, and nanomaterials–are making it possible for small teams to do what was once possible only for governments and large corporations to do: solve the grand challenges in education, water, food, shelter, health, and security. They will also disrupt industries and create many new policy, law, and ethics issues.

In 2012, the U.S. Government awarded Wadhwa distinguished recognition as an “Outstanding American by Choice”, for his “commitment to this country and to the common civic values that unite us as Americans”. He was also named one of the world’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers” by Foreign Policy magazine in that year; in June 2013, he was on TIME magazine’s list of “Tech 40”, one of forty of the most influential minds in tech; and in September 2015, he was second on a list of “ten men worth emulating” in The Financial Times.

Wadhwa teaches subjects such as technology, industry disruption, entrepreneurship, and public policy; researches the policy, law, and ethics issues of exponential technologies; helps prepare students for the real world; and advises several governments. In addition to being a columnist for The Washington Post, he is a contributor to VentureBeat, The Huffington Post, LinkedIn Influencers blog, and the American Society of Engineering Education’s Prism magazine. Prior to joining academia in 2005, Wadhwa founded two software companies.


Gretchen West

Senior Advisor
Hogan Lovells US LLP

Gretchen West serves as Senior Advisor focusing on Innovation and Technology at Hogan Lovells and is a member of the firm’s Global Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Group in Silicon Valley. Gretchen is also a leading policy advocate in the firm’s Government Regulatory practice group, with a focus on drone technology, automated driving and other innovative technologies. Gretchen serves as co-executive director of the non-profit Commercial Drone Alliance and is a founder of the Women of Commercial Drones group.

Gretchen has served the unmanned systems and drone industry over a decade and is an industry-leading advocate for commercial drones, innovation, entrepreneurship and robotics. Prior to joining Hogan Lovells, for over a decade, Gretchen served as AUVSI’s Executive Vice President, overseeing AUVSI’s global business development initiatives, international growth strategy, government relations and advocacy efforts for the unmanned systems and robotics industry.

Gretchen currently is the National Advisory Board Chairperson for UAVUS ( and serves on the Advisory Board for the Drone World Expo. Previously, she served on the advisory boards for Skyward, Nightingale Intelligent Systems and Aerobo. Gretchen has an MBA from the George Washington University and a BA in leadership studies from the University of Richmond.


Matt Yearling

President & CEO
PINC Solutions

Matt Yearling has been the Chief Executive Officer of PINC Solutions Corp. since March 2013. Matt served as Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Embarcadero Systems Corporation where he was responsible for the product development, technology operations and the delivery of services to many of the world’s largest transportation supply chain companies.

Matt spent over 15 years at Oracle Corporation holding several executive roles within the internal IT, product development and support services organizations. Matt also served as Vice President of On Demand where he spearheaded the process, technology and operation architectures that enabled On Demand to become Oracle’s fastest growing business.

Matt held various engineering positions within Her Majesty’s Government Ministry of Defense (UK) that focused on the logistics of naval vessel overhauls. Matt holds a M.S. in Technology Management from Pepperdine University and a HND in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Plymouth, England.


Shaun Budnik

Partner & National Audit Innovation Leader

Shaun Budnik is a Partner and the KPMG Audit Innovation Leader, steering the audit practice’s journey to transform the audit culture and professional mindset so that KPMG is positioned to deliver high quality and relevant audits. In her role, she has implemented new governance models, programs and technologies to advance the audit practice’s people, processes and technologies.

Previously, she was a partner (now retired) at Deloitte LLP on assignment to DTTL, Deloitte’s Global Firm. She was part of the Global Audit Innovation Leadership team and supported Global Audit Strategy initiatives.

Prior to her global leadership role, she was president of the U.S. Deloitte Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports educational programming that is shaping the talent of the future. She currently serves on the AACSB’s Business Practices Council and Accounting Accreditation Committee. She is an Advisory Board member for her alma mater, the Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University (Chicago), and serves on the Tulane Freeman School of Business Advisory Council and the Western Connecticut State University Accounting Advisory Board.



Our Distinguished Moderator


Don Proctor

Founder & CEO
Bk97 Digital
Former SVP at Cisco Systems

Don Proctor is the Founder and CEO of Bk97 Digital, providing advisory services to companies and government agencies on product strategy, innovation, technology policy, and cybersecurity.

Don was previously a Senior Vice President at Cisco Systems, Inc. As leader of the Cybersecurity Task Force, he worked with worldwide government leaders in defense, civilian agencies, and the intelligence community to advance the safety, privacy, and integrity of their critical infrastructure.

Don was Senior Vice President and General Manager of Cisco’s Collaboration Software Group, Voice Technology Group, and Service Provider Switching Group. Early in his tenure at Cisco, he led the product team that developed Cisco’s first integrated voice/data router.

A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, Don teaches in graduate programs at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, the UC Berkeley College of Engineering, and in the University of San Francisco’s Silicon Valley Immersion program. He formerly taught Internet technologies in the UC Berkeley Engineering Extension program.

Don serves as chair of the advisory board of the Lawrence Hall of Science, focused on K-12 STEM education, and is a member of the advisory board for the national College Promise Campaign. He is a trustee on the board of the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California and the national board for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.