Will Roper Named CEO of Venture-Backed Drone Maker Volansi

Will Roper, former acquisition chief at the U.S. Air Force and three-time Wash100 winner, has been named CEO of Volansi, four months after he joined the cargo drone manufacturing company’s board of directors.

He succeeds Volansi founder Hannan Parvizian, who has transitioned to new roles as chief technology officer and product architect, the company said Thursday.

Roper led Air Force programs with an annual budget of more than $60 billion from February 2018 to January 2021 as the branch’s assistant secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics. His initiatives covered hypersonic weapons and autonomous drones and he helped link private technology businesses to the Department of Defense as well as managed military logistics for more than 5,000 aircraft.

He previously served as principal adviser to the Air Force Secretary and Chief of Staff, founding director of DOD’s Strategic Capabilities Office and acting chief architect at the Missile Defense Agency, where he oversaw system advancement efforts such as a European defense architecture.

Backed by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Icon Ventures, San Franciso-based Volansi offers an autonomous vertical-takeoff-and-landing aircraft designed to transport medium to heavy payloads.

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