Dr. Parimal Kopardekar, NASA

CSI Distinguished Speaker Series

By Grace Tevaseu, Correspondent

On Sept. 25th, the College of Security and Intelligence Distinguished Speaker Series continued with its first speaker of the 2020 school year. All the way from NASA, the Director of Aeronautics Research Institute (NARI), Dr. Parimal Kopardekar, spoke on the topic of Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) Supply Chain Management via Zoom. 

Dr. Kopardekar is an AAM Supply Chain Management Subject Matter Expert (SME); he has numerous prestigious accomplishments to his name. Dr. Kopardekar has previously earned the honor of being a renowned influential figure working on next gen air transportation systems, as designated by the commercial drone industry. Previously he won the “Oscar,” the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal, of the federal workplace. With all his hard work, Dr. Kopardekar now resides as a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and enjoys sharing his knowledge with prospective industry employees.

The session covered the topic of AAM Supply Chain Management. Dr. Kopardekar opened his presentation with the basics of AAM, before diving into his supply chain expertise. “Our mission is to find pillars so we can focus on our RND [Research and Development] on each one of the pillars: vehicle management and operations, air space system design, airspace and fleet operations, community integration,” and so forth, explained Dr. Kopardekar. As an audience member that is unfamiliar with AAM and supply chain, I appreciated that he took the time to explain its framework and the benefits it reaps to society.

According to Dr. Koperdekar, AAM can “really transform the society and transportation at large. You don’t really have to have a lot of businesses congregating in the same place, in the urban air space, or where it splits vehicles into two lanes. You can actually have a much more green, more integrated lifestyle. Aviation can meet you where you need to, rather than everyone struggling in the highway system and creating congestion.” For society, it may take time to adjust to this new form of transportation. Dr. Kopardekar highlighted the importance of “community acceptance, with noise, automation, and community interactions,” since the people are the customers. He painted a picture of modern technology functioning successfully in conjunction with an accepting American culture. 

Transitioning to his preferred topic of supply chain management, Dr. Kopardekar stated, “The fundamental thesis I have is that the supply chain impacts the entire life cycle, right from the early conceptual design to very high-volume manufacturing.” He cautions on “resiliency around you, so you are not dependent on just one or two suppliers” as people are prone to face difficulties like strikes that can affect production. While Dr. Kopardekar did speak more descriptively on this topic, I would recommend you communicate those inquiries directly to him. Overall, Dr. Kopardekar and AAM Supply Chain Management was a great continuation of the CSI Speaker Series.