Iris Automation Appoints Aerospace Veteran Jon Damush as CEO

San Francisco, Calif. Commercial drone safety technology innovator Iris Automation announces its new CEO, Jon Damush, effective immediately. Co-founder Alexander Harmsen has been promoted to Chairman of the Board where he will guide strategy for the company and provide thought leadership on beyond line of sight (BVLOS) drone operations.

The move reflects the continued growth at Iris Automation and the opportunities in the global commercial drone market space.

Jon brings over 30 years of extensive aviation technology experience and executive leadership, building upon his technical background in engineering, software development and systems integration. Most recently he led new business ventures at Boeing NeXT. Before that he was Chief Growth Officer at Insitu, Inc., a Boeing subsidiary, developing novel aircraft and UAS innovation including detect-and-avoid. He was also a Boeing executive liaison and board observer to SkyGrid, LLC, a joint venture between Boeing and SparkCognition.

Quote from Jon Damush, CEO of Iris Automation:
“I am honored to be taking over leadership of this incredible company. James and Alex have built an amazing team, developed a critical technology and achieved results where others have failed. As we grow into our next phase, I am eager to collaborate with our customers, partners, global regulators and investors to bring these capabilities to everyday use and make flying safer.”

Quote from Alexander Harmsen, co-founder and chairman of the Board at Iris Automation:
“I am thrilled to have Jon join Iris Automation to accelerate our mission and take us to the next level. From when we started the company six years ago, we have built and validated incredibly difficult autonomous vehicle software, grown to support customers worldwide, and achieved ground-breaking regulatory approvals in the U.S. and internationally. Now, we are seeing our systems used to enable safe flights across the entire UAS ecosystem, validating our vision. I look forward to working together with Jon on this next chapter, capitalizing on the momentum to take Iris to the ranks of the world’s largest and most trusted aerospace companies.”

Quote from James Howard, co-founder and VP of engineering, Iris Automation
“We could not have envisioned a better fit in a leader for Iris Automation. Jon has the technical knowledge, and strategic capacity to bring innovation like ours to market at scale. I look forward to partnering with him as we continue to improve airspace safety, unlock BVLOS for customers today, and take on exciting new opportunities in the future.”

Prior to Insitu, Jon was the CEO of 2d3 Sensing, and led the successful turnaround and growth of the company from a niche entertainment software provider to a leading provider of computer vision-based image processing software for aerial surveillance, culminating in a successful acquisition. Needless to say, Jon is an aviation enthusiast. He is an FAA certified commercial pilot with multi-engine and instrument ratings and a certified flight instructor.

About Iris Automation

Iris Automation is a safety avionics technology company pioneering Detect-and-Avoid (DAA) systems and aviation policy services that enable customers to build scalable Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations for commercial drones; operations unlocking the potential of countless industries. Iris’ DAA system runs entirely onboard Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), allowing them to fly safely at long distances and without human intervention. We work closely with civil aviation authorities globally as they implement regulatory frameworks ensuring BVLOS is conducted safely, partnering on multiple FAA UAS Integration Pilot Programs, NASA’s Unmanned Traffic Management program and Transport Canada’s BVLOS Technology Demonstration Program. Iris is recognized by AUVSI as the number one Technology and Innovation Leader for 2020.  Visit

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