Colonel Stephen "Lux" Luxion (ret.), Executive Director
Colonel (Retired) Stephen P. Luxion is the Executive Director of ASSURE (Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence) led by Mississippi State University. Steve is responsible for leading the alliance of 23 of the world's leading research universities and its industry partners. ASSURE is the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). ASSURE provides the FAA a wide-ranging UAS research portfolio and conducts specific research funded by the FAA to help inform and address the key challenges to safely and efficiently integrating UAS into the National Airspace System. ASSURE also has established a non-profit arm of the Alliance that leverages the ASSURE team, its expertise, experience, and knowledge to serve others outside the FAA.
Lux is a 34 year US Air Force veteran with over 2,500 hours flying time in the F-111 Aardvark, MQ-1B Predator UAV; and the F-14A Tomcat and EA-6B Prowler while on exchange with the US Navy; including 700 hours combat time in operations over Iraq, Bosnia, and Afghanistan. For his combat efforts, Colonel Luxion was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for Valor, 4 Air Metals, and 7 Aerial Achievement Medals.
Steve received his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and commission from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1984. Colonel Luxion has commanded at the squadron, group and center levels and helped lead the establishment of NATO's first Aerospace Center of Excellence. Steve retired from the US Air Force in 2014 from his last assignment at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Daytona Beach where he commanded the Reserve Officers Training Program.
Colonel Luxion is a distinguished graduate of both the USAF Fighter Weapons School and Air Command and Staff College. He is also a graduate of four Master Degree programs from Embry-Riddle, the School of Advanced Airpower Studies, and the National War College.
Billy Klauser, Deputy Director
In November 2018, Billy joined as the Deputy Director of ASSURE (The Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence) which is the FAA's Center of Excellence for UAS Research. He is responsible for business development and assisting with the ongoing success of the COE for the FAA.
Prior to joining ASSURE, he mostly recently served as the Chief of Economic Development for the State of Mississippi at the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA), the state's lead economic development agency. He oversaw the recruitment and retention of all companies looking to locate or expand in Mississippi. He was also responsible for the international trade, business intelligence and workforce divisions'.
Billy Klauser has served as Director of the Financial Resources Division of the Mississippi Development Authority. He was responsible for providing guidance to companies on available tax incentives and administers several incentive programs for businesses locating or expanding in Mississippi.
Before joining MDA in 2009, he previously worked at the Mississippi Department of Revenue for seventeen years, where he served as the director of miscellaneous tax and, most recently, as the director of income tax.
Billy has a bachelor's degree in banking and finance from Mississippi State University and an Accounting Certificate from Mississippi College.
Hannah Thach, Technical Director for Research
Hannah Thach is the Technical Director of Research for ASSURE (The Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence), which was named the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Center of Excellence (COE) for UAS Research in 2015. She is responsible for developing research teams from the ASSURE alliance to conduct projects at the request of the FAA. In addition, she oversees each project's overall performance and completion related to the objectives.
Hannah has worked in the aviation industry since 2006, where she began her career as a civilian Helicopter - Certified Flight Instrument Instructor (CFII). She later went on to receive her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Colorado State University and her Project Management Professionals (PMP) certification.
Before moving to Mississippi where she transitioned to the unmanned arena, she worked for FlightSafety International. There she designed, developed, and maintained helicopter training programs for various airframes.
Hannah started working for Mississippi State University's Raspet Flight Research Laboratory in 2017, first as a UAS Flight Operations Technician and later as a UAS Program Manager. There she managed the project portfolios for the FAA, to include all ASSURE projects, and the Department of Defense (DOD).