Colloquium: September 11, 2012

Aeronautical Entrepreneuring with UAVs

Dr. Steven M. Sliwa, Former CEO Insitu Inc.

TUESDAY: September 11, 2012 2:00 P.M. in the H.J.E. Reid Auditorium.


UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) are currently on the aeronautics frontier. Former NASA Langely employee Steve Sliwa will present a case study of the development, introduction, and operations of what was a new class of UAV system. Sliwa was the CEO of Insitu leading it from 4 employees to over 850 employees with sales over $450 million. Insitu developed and operated the ScanEagle and Integrator UAVs in services which have logged over 800,000 hours of flight operations mostly in support of military operations around the world. Sliwa will describe some of the key contributors to success including the technical and business model breakthroughs (and, in some cases, luck) that fueled the growth and led to the sale to Boeing in 1998.


Steve SliwaDr. Sliwa was CEO of Insitu from 2002 through early 2011. During that time Insitu grew from 4 employees to 800+ employees and $400M in revenue. Insitu is a developer of miniature robotic airplanes or UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) for the military and civilian applications. Within Insitu’s market niche, it has a 90% market share with customers and operations throughout the world. Insitu provides UAVs and support equipment but also executes a thriving business model delivering intelligence through turn-key solutions.

Prior to Insitu, Dr. Sliwa had a varied career that included serving as research manager at NASA, founder of an educational software company, VP of Product Development for Silicon Valley engineering-software company, and President of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Dr. Sliwa has engineering degrees from Princeton, George Washington, and Stanford and a business degree from Stanford. He resides in White Salmon, WA with his wife Nancy and enjoys flying.