Island Conservation and Parallel Flight Technologies Partner

Island Conservation, a leading global nonprofit organization that restores and protects island-ocean ecosystems by removing destructive invasive species, has announced a strategic partnership with Parallel Flight Technologies, a California-based company specializing in heavy-lift drone and hybrid propulsion technology.

This partnership is expected to advance Island Conservation’s critical island restoration initiatives to new heights.

Islands are biodiversity hotspots that are home to an incredible range of birds and terrestrial animals, as well as abundant marine life in the surrounding ocean. However, they are also vulnerable to destructive invasive species, such as rodents that destroy natural habitat. Roughly 75 percent of reptile, bird, amphibian, and mammal extinctions combined have occurred on islands with invasive species as a primary cause. Removing this threat is crucial to ensuring ecological balance and diversity.

“Frequently, conducting invasive species eradications in order to protect these ecosystems involves huge logistical and resource challenges,” says David Will, Head of Innovation at Island Conservation. “Because of this, we have pioneered the use of drones in invasive rodent eradications to overcome the cost and skill barriers to conventional ground and helicopter-based approaches. However, we’ve reached the limits of what current all-electric drone technology can achieve.”

The solution lies in hybrid unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) with large payload capacities and long-range capabilities that can meet the demands of conservation interventions in remote locations. Parallel Flight Technologies offers a groundbreaking aircraft with hybrid propulsion technology that gives it a combination of lift, endurance and portability which are ideal to advance Island Conservation’s field efforts.

We see this technology as a game-changer, and we believe that it will allow us to achieve our goal to restore globally important islands more efficiently, effectively and sustainably,” says Will.

The aircraft can carry and spread a total payload capacity of approximately 100 pounds (45 kilograms) for over 1.6 hours of flight time and can autonomously fly pre-programmed flight paths while accurately delivering bait at prescribed application rates. The hybrid propulsion technology is highly efficient and relies on locally sourced fuels, eliminating the need for costly, wasteful batteries. It also dramatically reduces the carbon footprint and power requirements of continuous aerial operations in remote locations.

“Our work with Parallel Flight Technologies is timely, inspiring and necessary,” says Penny Becker, Vice President of Conservation at Island Conservation. “The continued development and adaptation of Parallel Flight Technologies’ autonomous heavy-lift drone technology will enable a significant increase in safety parameters and exponentially increase efficiency over traditional methods. With this drone technology, we will be able to restore islands on a much larger scale and in remote places that were once prohibitive, protecting more island wildlife, oceans and communities.”

Islands are biodiversity hotspots. Restoring islands is repeatedly proven to be one of the best interventions for protecting biodiversity and creating resilient, thriving ecosystems. Photo: Island Conservation.

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Joby Aviation

Joby Aviation: 2022 Chamber Business of the Year

JoeBen Bevrit, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Joby Aviation, has led the team since its inception, more than a decade ago. He has dedicated his life to driving radical innovation in electric propulsion and robotics. In 1999, JoeBen co-founded Velocity11 to develop high-performance robotic laboratory systems, which was acquired by Agilent Technologies.

Joby is a California-based company that builds quiet, all-electric aircraft: Connecting people like never before. With up to 150 miles of range and the ability to take off and land vertically, the Joby aircraft will change the way we move, while reducing the acoustic and climate footprint of flight.

Their long-term vision is to build a global passenger service that helps the world connect with the people and places that matter most, while helping to protect our precious planet. As well as strategic partnerships with Toyota, Delta, Uber, and many more, they have a team of more than 1400 engineers and experts working to bring aerial ridesharing to our skies. Congratulations Joby Aviation. Video produced by Lucid Sound and Picture

Monterey Bay DART Signs MOU with ChicoStart to Increase Innovation Pipelines for the North State

For Immediate Release
March 28, 2023

Marina, CA: The Monterey Bay Drone, Automation and Robotics Technology (DART) initiative is pleased to expand its partner network working with Chicostart to bring another valuable resource to the North State for entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses interested in drone, automation and robotics technology. This important partnership allows leveraging of resources, expertise and efforts to provide opportunities for:

  1. Identifying and supporting the “best value” drone, automation and robotics technology solutions to meet the current and future market demands and stimulate entrepreneurship; and
  2. Collaborating on programming, outreach and engagement with university and private sector innovators to increase innovation pipelines. This partnership fits within Chicostart’s Inclusive Innovation Hub2, supporting sectors in wildfire, Agtech, cleantech, water, robotics, advanced manufacturing, national security and wildfire/forest management in rural counties that include underserved communities. Chicostart and DART believe this collaboration will contribute to the curation and resilience of the California Statewide entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“The economic implications of commercial drone use are undeniable. The market for drones is estimated to be $127 billion across a variety of industries. On a macroeconomic scale, the integration of UAVs could create more than 100,000 jobs in California alone. Job creation from commercial drone use will consist primarily of manufacturing jobs and drone operators. The implications clearly have a positive impact on businesses and consumers. Our relationship with DART will introduce new industry and support pilot programs. We are excited to bring this to the North State.Eva Shepherd-Nicoll, Executive Director of Chicostart

“MBDART is thrilled to expand its partnership beyond the Central Coast to support DART-related innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the Golden State. Our industry, academia, public agency and philanthropy partners recognize the potential of these emerging technologies to help solve major challenges such as agricultural efficiency, wildfire risk reduction and management, infrastructure safety and security and many others. We look forward to working with the ChicoStart community to bring value to the North State.Josh Metz, Executive Director of Monterey Bay DART

In April 2022, Chicostart was 1 of 10 designees awarded the statewide iHUB2 grant from CalOSBA. Chicostart’s iHUB2 designation covers over 20+ counties in Northern California, focusing on building the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem for equitable access to entrepreneurial resources with inclusive ecosystem expansion into our rural and diverse communities. This includes expanding Chicostart’s growTECH and entrepreneurial initiative throughout the region.

About Chicostart: Chicostart supports and enriches Northern California’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem by providing small business, entrepreneurs and startups the resources they need to succeed. Our platform includes shared office amenities, mentoring, workshops, internships, tech talks, student to business projects, entrepreneurial events, satellite office programs, and anything else that helps our core mission of helping startups succeed. As a GO-BIZ iHub for the Far North, the Chicostart ecosystem includes but is not limited to investors, technologists, entrepreneurs, students, educators, local businesses, agencies and mentors.

About MBDART: The Monterey Bay Drone, Automation and Robotics Technology (DART) initiative is a 501 c3 public benefit corporation working with industry, academia, public agencies and philanthropy to deliver innovative, future-relevant, workforce and economic development solutions. DART leads public-private partnership apprenticeship programs with emerging technology manufacturers, completes technical and market studies to raise awareness about ecosystem and technology potential, and offers events throughout the year to bring together interested stakeholders for networking, collaboration, and strengthening the DART ecosystem. More information available online at


Monterey Bay DART Workforce Training Center Feasibility Study

PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release 3/22/23 

Monterey Bay DART Partners with the Hatamiya Group to Study Feasibility of Regional Workforce Training Center for Future Jobs in Advanced Manufacturing, Drones, Automation, and Robotics Technology 

Marina, CA – Monterey Bay DART is pleased to announce that it has contracted with the Hatamiya Group to complete a regional workforce training center feasibility study. The study will assess the need and demand for a regional workforce training center focused on preparing the local workforce for the jobs of the future in advanced manufacturing, drones, automation, and robotics technology. The continued growth of Joby Aviation’s advanced manufacturing operations at the Marina Airport, along with the presence of a growing cluster of advanced air mobility, agtech, and national security oriented firms throughout the Central Coast are driving increased interest in career technical education, and demand for workers with future-relevant skills including carbon fiber manufacturing, electric drive train assembly and maintenance, robot operations and maintenance, and skills generally grouped under the mechatronics heading.

The Monterey Bay DART Initiative is committed to promoting good fit, future-relevant economic and workforce development in the Monterey Bay region. As part of this mission, it recognizes the need to invest in the local workforce and prepare them for the jobs of the future. The feasibility study will take into account existing facilities, programs, structures, site options, and other factors to assess the need and demand for a new regional workforce training center that will provide the necessary training for individuals seeking employment in the advanced manufacturing, drones, automation, and robotics technology fields.

“We are excited to partner with the Hatamiya Group on this important study,” said Josh Metz, Executive Director of Monterey Bay DART. “The development of a regional workforce training center focused on advanced manufacturing, drones, automation, and robotics technology will help create new opportunities for our local workforce, and support economic growth and development in our region.”

The study will include an analysis of labor market trends, employer demand, and workforce training needs in the Monterey Bay region. It will also identify potential funding sources and partnership opportunities to support the development and operation of the workforce training center. The study process will include data gathering through surveys and direct interviews with employers, educators, public agencies, elected leaders, and community organizations.

“We are honored to have been selected by Monterey Bay DART to complete this study,” said Lon Hatamiya, President and CEO of the Hatamiya Group. “We look forward to working with the Monterey Bay DART team to assess the need and feasibility of a regional workforce training center, and identify opportunities to support the growth and development of the local workforce.”

The feasibility study is expected to be completed in the fall of 2023. The findings and recommendations of the study will be presented to the Monterey Bay DART Board of Directors and made available to the public.

For more information, please contact the Monterey Bay DART office at ‪(831) 264-8299.

About Monterey Bay DART: The Monterey Bay Drone Automation and Robotics Technology (DART) initiative is a non-profit public benefit corporation dedicated to promoting innovation, future-relevant, workforce, and economic development solutions. The team includes representatives from local government, business, education, and community organizations. 

About the Hatamiya Group: The Hatamiya Group is a consulting firm specializing in economic development, workforce development, and strategic planning. The firm has over 30 years of experience working with public and private sector clients in California and throughout the United States.  

Monterey Bay hosts Kern CTEC workforce training center exchange

Monterey Bay DART in collaboration with the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) hosted a visiting delegation from the Kern Career Technical Education Campus (CTEC) for an education and awareness raising exchange, tour and seminar. Kern CTEC Principal Brian Miller provided a presentation on the origins, process, and ongoing outcomes of the Kern High School District expansion of their leading edge career technical education program and facilities. Monterey Bay regional education and workforce training entities and employers that participated included Cabrillo College, UC Santa Cruz, CSU Monterey Bay, Monterey County Economic Development, Learning For Life Charter School, and Joby Aviation.

The Kern CTEC presentation covered the various educational and career opportunities available to students through the Kern High School CTEC program. CTEC stands for Career Technical Education Center, and it offers high school students a chance to learn technical skills and gain hands-on experience in a variety of industries, including agriculture, automotive technology, construction, and healthcare. The participants exchanged lessons learned, ideas and recommendations for a possible Monterey Bay regional workforce training facility to meet current and expanding skills demand in DART-related sectors.

Mr. Miller emphasized the importance of CTEC in preparing students for the modern workforce, stating that it provides a direct pathway to careers in high-demand fields that offer good salaries and job security. He also highlighted the partnerships between Kern High School District and local businesses, which provide students with real-world experience and opportunities for internships and job shadowing. “Sharing and learning from other regions has been an instrumental part of our expansion. Collectively we have the opportunity to do amazing things.” said Brian Miller, Kern CTEC Principal.

The presentation also touched on the role of higher education institutions in supporting CTEC programs. Representatives from Cabrillo College, UC Santa Cruz, CSU Monterey Bay, and Joby Aviation discussed their existing partnerships and the ways in which they support CTEC students, whether through dual enrollment programs, college scholarships, or job placement.

“We are pleased to support inter-regional collaborations and cross-pollination of ideas and best practices to advance future-relevant workforce training and education. The Kern CTEC is a leading edge case study in this arena, demonstrating the value of community alignment on big ideas, and setting the stage for the youth in our communities to succeed in the modern world. We will continue bringing the best ideas from around the State to share with the Monterey Bay community.” said Josh Metz, Monterey Bay DART Executive Director.

Overall, the presentation was informative and highlighted the valuable role that CTEC programs play in preparing students for successful careers. Attendees were encouraged to be inpired by the Kern CTEC example, support and advocate for CTEC programs in the Monterey Bay region and to explore opportunities for partnerships with local businesses and educational institutions. Joby Aviation hosted a tour of their prototype advanced manufacturing line at the Marina Municipal Airport.

Chris Bley Tech Titan

On behalf of Monterey Bay DART, we are beyond proud of our Board Member and Co-founder, Chris Bley, for receiving the incredible award: “Titan of Tech.” 

Every year, Santa Cruz Works honors the people who have contributed to the growth of the local tech and entrepreneurial community. In the past, several of the nominees have consisted of CEO’s and founders. This year, Titan of Tech awards highlighted the MVPs who are essential to any thriving business and make tremendous impact in more ways than one. 

In his acceptance speech, Chris reflected on “a chance meeting in my neighborhood with a neighbor that worked with Fort Ord Reuse Authority (FORA)… We got together and formed this non-profit (DART), which led into this connection with Joby Aviation and the re-education of under-privileged areas to work in the new manufacturing world that we would love to see in our communities.” He went on to share with the audience “I’m a little bit of an accidental entrepreneur and business owner, but, incredibly, it’s all worked out and I have to thank Santa Cruz for that.”

In addition to serving as a Board Member for Monterey Bay DART, Chris also brings years of entrepreneurial leadership to the Monterey Bay region and remains dedicated to tech related projects including Monterey Bay DART (a non-profit focused on supporting and connecting drone innovators), Insight Up Solutions (drone and sensor resale) and AirSpace Integration (provides shared work spaces, air spaces and training). These companies are located in the Monterey Bay region, La Selva Beach and the Marina Airport. Chris holds a BA in Biology from UC Santa Cruz.

Congratulations, Chris! You make the entire DART community so proud!
Watch his acceptance speech here.

2022 Monterey Bay DART Symposium Reaches New Heights

Monterey Bay Drone Automation and Robotics Technology (DART) held a symposium at the University Center of California State University’s Monterey Bay (CSUMB) campus, Nov 30 – Dec 1, 2022. Nearly 200 attendees enjoyed two days of compelling panel discussions, workshops, and networking opportunities. This year’s event was rich with collaboration, connections, and vision for a more robust and inclusive future.

Attendees heard from industry leaders, legislators, educators, and philanthropists on topics like:

  • Air taxis to logistics: what’s new in Advanced Air Mobility
  • Building an advanced aviation workforce
  • Enabling Innovation: Ecosystems, Districts & Facilities
  • Agriculture & Utilities Innovation & Economic Opportunity
  •  Innovation thru Inclusive Economic Development

“The Monterey Bay DART team is so grateful to our speakers, sponsors, and attendees,” said Joshua Metz, Executive Director and Co-founder of Monterey Bay DART. “These events are key to bringing the right people together to build the foundation for a stronger, more inclusive economy that leverages these budding technologies.”

Event videos and copies of presentations are available HERE. To sign up for the DART mailing list for occasional updates on drones, automation, and robotics technology, please click HERE.

Our Sponsors and Partners

Central Coast Flight Information Xchange

The CITRIS Institute for Drone education and Research (CIDER) at the University of California at Santa Cruz, in partnership with Monterey Bay Drone Automation and Robotics Technologies (DART), Airspace Integration, and ATA LLC, is developing the Central Coast Flight Information Exchange (CC-FIX). CC-FIX is a risk-based, federated approach to creating an “aeronautical information service-like” capability for the integration of Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS) and Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) into the airspace with the continued commitment to keep the airspace open, secure, and safe.  This coalition believes that a functional CC-FIX will accelerate UAS and AAM related R&D, providing significant economic development opportunities for Central California and communities across the state. 

The Central Coast Flight Information Exchange (CC-FIX) integrates federal laws and regulations, state and local advisories, public safety advisories, environmental sensors, weather sensors, data feeds, operations platforms, surveillance technologies and ground hazards (i.e. towers, buildings, population centers, etc.) through a public platform. Rather than needing to go to multiple places to access this important data, every person using a flight planning application that has a relationship with one of the participating approved UAS Service Suppliers will see CC-FIX data in their flight planning or control software or through the CC-FIX public website.  That brings all this critical information together making it available in one place.  If you ask any operator, especially in the public safety community, this is a huge leap forward in the communications and coordination needed to ensure that we take full advantage of the opportunities created by AAM and to integrate with the national airspace system safely.

FAA Airspace Guidelines for UAS Operators

The speed with which the UAS and AAM industry is developing continues to surprise and is putting pressure on needed changes to the fundamentals of aviation management. The FAA recognizes this in both its UAS Traffic Management (UTM) Concept of Operations (ConOps) and through the UAS Data Exchange Low Altitude Approval Notification Capability (LAANC) program; both of which acknowledge that existing air traffic management models alone do not adequately address the challenge of integrating UAS and other AAM transportation modalities into the national airspace. We’ve discovered through our current work that the best way to realize the infrastructure needed is to do it in a collaborative manner, working public-private partnerships across the industry and encouraging the creation of new relationships.  This way we can actually get to UAS and AAM operations at scale much more quickly in a more cost-effective and resilient manner. 

CC-FIX Data Model

CC-FIX allows for multiple ways to connect and share information, including web-based and programmatic alternatives. The system is intentionally designed to leverage current standards, open-source technologies, and existing background intellectual property to keep costs low. As a robust, cloud-based service, the technology underlying CC-FIX can quickly meet growing statewide and national demand. The intuitive user interface requires only a brief orientation during new user onboarding. CC-FIX is consistent with the FAA’s vision of a “community-based” system of industry, federal, and state and local governments cooperating to manage the anticipated heavy volumes of UAS traffic at low altitudes. CC-FIX sits at the center of this ecosystem enabling USS and commercial UTM providers to consume and share authoritative state data as a public service.

URL for the Central Coast Flight Information Exchange (CC-FIX):

Coalition Partner Contacts:

University of California – Santa Cruz
Michael Matkin
Assistant Director
CITRIS and the Banatao Institute
Baskin School of Engineering
(831) 459-4464

Monterey Bay DART
Josh Metz, Executive Director
(831) 264-8299

Airspace Integration
Chris Bley, CEO
(831) 428-6655

Scott Drew, UAS Project Manager
(804) 814-8148

2022 Monterey Bay DART Symposium - November 30 - December 1

Event: 2022 Monterey Bay Drone Automation and Robotics Technology (DART) Symposium: “Innovation Workforce: Ready to Fly!” 

Engage with public, private and philanthropic leaders to explore exciting economic and workforce developments in drone, aviation and robotics technologies at the 3rd Annual Monterey DART Symposium.

Monterey Bay Drone Automation and Robotics Technology (DART) will hold a symposium at the University Center of California State University’s Monterey Bay (CSUMB) campus, Nov 30 – Dec 1, 2022. Attendees will enjoy two days of compelling panel discussions, workshops, and networking opportunities.

This year’s theme, “Innovation Workforce: Ready to Fly!”, focuses on the economic development opportunities and challenges of expanding the DART innovation ecosystem with lessons learned from the Central Coast. Speakers will discuss advanced air mobility innovations, university connected innovation ecosystems, workforce opportunities, and inclusive economic development, with an emphasis on workforce upskilling and high-road jobs. 

Keynotes for the 2-day symposium include: Dean Donovan, Managing Director, Diamond Stream Partners, a leading aviation investment firm; Tony Tavares, Director, California Department of Transportation (CalTrans), the agency responsible for transportation system management and oversight in California; Bonny Simi, Head of Air Operations and People, Joby Aviation, a cutting edge electric aircraft company; and Don Howard, CEO, James Irvine Foundation, a foundation making catalytic economic empowerment investments supporting growth in this sector. 

While networking with these industry, agency and philanthropic leaders, attendees will participate in panel sessions and discussions with experts, entrepreneurs, educators, and policymakers regarding the latest developments in mobility, airspace management, carbon-neutral power, and other current sustainable infrastructure topics.

Space is limited so RSVP now to attend the 2022 DART Symposium. Attendees receive access to Early Bird discounted tickets by purchasing tickets by Oct 30. Attendees can also join our DART community as a member at a discounted rate with symposium registration.

“We’re on the cusp of a workforce transformation – and Monterey Bay, industry, governments and academia have joined forces to chart a path for drones and robotics to automate work while strengthening community.”, said Monterey DART Executive Director and Cofounder Josh Metz. “This symposium is a great opportunity for anyone interested in the industry, in economic or workforce development and for those looking for truly collaborative partnership models.”


The Monterey Bay Drone Automation and Robotics Technology (DART) initiative is a regional coordination and advancement forum, founded in 2018, bringing together industry, government and, academia, to align resources and benefit economic and workforce development. Monterey Bay DART seeks to inspire entrepreneurial minds, increase employment opportunities and stimulate economic growth to develop a diverse and inclusive tech community in the Monterey Bay area.

For more information, please visit the Monterey Bay DART website at


2022 Monterey Bay Drone Automation and Robotics Technology (DART) Symposium: “Innovation Workforce: Ready to Fly!” 

Contact Information:

Jen Simon

Shari Tavaf joins Monterey Bay DART as Project Manager


Marina, CA. CA. Shari Tavaf, a seasoned project manager in the transportation infrastructure industry joins Monterey Bay Drone, Automation and Robotics Technology (DART) Initiative to support the Executive Director Josh Metz in delivering the scope of work under the James Irvine Foundation Grant received last month. As part of the Foundation’s on-going Priority Communities Initiative, the $1.5M research and development grant will be used to increase technical capabilities in the Monterey Bay Region.

Shari will be focused on advancing workforce development initiatives in the region while partnering with the community-based organizations, supporting the current partnership with Joby Aviation and CSU Monterey Bay, and leading the feasibility study to identify optimal locations for the training facilities that will meet the upcoming demand for advanced manufacturing and emerging technologies in the area.

“We are thrilled to welcome Shari the DART team. She brings a wealth of experience with transportation system-related project management, workforce development and inter-governmental relations. Shari adds a strong engineering and organizational development component to our team and will be instrumental in helping us accomplish our goals,” said Monterey Bay DART Executive Director Josh Metz.

“I am very excited to join the DART team. The Irvine Foundation’s focus on increasing high-road opportunities and inclusive economic development in the Salinas Valley and the Monterey Bay region is perfectly aligned with my personal and professional values of transferring knowledge for meaningful growth. As I relocate to Monterey, I look forward to serving my new community, work closely with our local partners to develop and implement a robust technical training program and associated facilities,” said Shari Tavaf, Monterey Bay DART Project Manager.

Our expanding regional economic development initiative focused on innovation, job creation, and new venture formation, supported by the Irvine Foundation and through regional coordination, will leverage existing opportunities to expand new quality jobs and increase inclusive economic benefits.

Monterey Bay Drone, Automation & Robotics Technology (DART) Initiative. Monterey Bay DART is a 501 c3 organization working to align industry, academia, and governments towards these growth sectors for new venture formation, jobs growth and community vitality. More information can be found online at

Joby Aviation. Joby Aviation, Inc. (NYSE:JOBY) is a California-based transportation company developing an all-electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft which it intends to operate as part of a fast, quiet, and convenient service in cities around the world. To learn more, visit

CSUMB Institute for Innovation & Economic Development (iiED). The iiED supports the founding, funding, and growth of new ventures in the Monterey Bay Region. iiED is an institute of the College of Business at CSU Monterey Bay.

James Irvine Foundation. The James Irvine Foundation is a private, nonprofit grantmaking foundation dedicated to expanding opportunity for the people of California. The Foundation’s grantmaking is committed to a California where all low-income workers have the power to advance economically. Since 1937 the Foundation has provided more than $1.98 billion in grants to nonprofit organizations throughout California. With about $2.5 billion in assets, the Foundation made grants of $105 million in 2019.