Bringing together communities, thought leaders and companies to unlock economic prosperity and create jobs in the emerging Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) industry.

The growth of autonomous flight technologies means the traditional concept of "aerospace" is evolving into a different human experience. Our model of a separate transportation experience highly secularized and primarily financed through large government entities will begin to morph into a mode of commerce and cultural movement interwoven into our daily experience.

This new personal and local way of interacting with flight requires unique planning, strategy and infrastructure development for commercial entities and communities seeking to capitalize on future industry growth.

DronePort Network (DPN) as a company is filling the strategy and infrastructure gap communities of any size will need to address in order to remain competitive in the new "aero" economy.

Since 2018 our team has been developing business strategies and financial modeling tools to more deeply understand future demand for these new scalable economies. We have worked with cities, municipalities, tribal nations and commercial entities to create business development opportunities in their region. This is how we do it:

  • Industry Specific Business Development and Market Planning
  • Emerging Aerospace Technology Financial Modeling
  • Airspace Management Safety Planning and Implementation
  • Industry Outlook and Regulatory Timing Subject Matter Expertise
  • Full "Turn Key" Aerospace Facility Management (starting from an initial business development plan all the way to tenant recruitment, staffing and operational oversight/management)
  • Craig Mahaney - CEO
  • Sallie Traxler - Co-Founder and Board Member
  • Emily Bell - Chief of Staff
  • Christina Kappaz - Board Member
  • Robert Heard - Co-Founder and Senior Advisor

Craig Mahaney


Craig Mahaney photo

Craig Mahaney has more than 25 years of aerospace experience in the military, government and private industry. As CEO, he is responsible for the overall strategy, oversight and execution of all DronePort Network projects and ventures. Craig also serves as the Executive Director of the UAS Cluster Initiative which strives to create an Oklahoma centric industry ecosystem made up of companies, thought leaders, investors, and public partnerships focused on making the state a world class destination for all things Unmanned Aviation and Advanced Air Mobility. He also leads the UAS Angel Network, an international network of angel investors and venture capital firms focused on investment in the UAS and Advanced Air Mobility industry. Prior to the DronePort Network he served as Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor within the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Aviation Policy and Plans. In 2020 he was selected as a Georgetown University Capitol Hill Fellow where he served as a policy advisor and professional staff to Senator James Lankford (R-OK), subcommittee Chairman on the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. During Craig’s sixteen years with the FAA, he held numerous operational and management positions focused on Air Traffic Control, Traffic Flow Management, UAS, and Strategic Planning. Before joining the federal government, he spent five years in the U.S. Navy as an Air Traffic Control Specialist and completed multiple deployments to the Middle East. Craig is a certified private pilot, graduate of the FAA’s Aircraft Accident Investigation Course and has a bachelor’s of science degree in aeronautics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.

Sallie Traxler, MBA

Co-Founder and Board Member

Sallie Traxler photo

For over 20 years Sallie has been a strategic mind behind organizations identifying and achieving their goals through thought partnership, innovation and change management. Committed to creating the space for organizations to move from vision to implementation, she has led initiatives aimed at how organizations meet the needs of their customers and stakeholders. She is known for her ability to forge deep partnerships with businesses, nonprofits, and local, state and federal agencies.

Sallie has led and consulted with national and international professional and trade associations to drive strategic growth by aligning industry, network and organizational resources to meet emerging needs. Her work has raised the national bond cap for development authorities nationwide, advanced the campus housing profession for more than 970 institutions and 215 corporations worldwide, secured partnerships with leading Fortune 100 companies in support of startup businesses and business incubators, successfully secured grants and federal contracts, and led community development efforts for rural renewal.

Sallie has an MBA from The Ohio State University, and a MA from Morehead State University in Kentucky.


Emily Bell

Chief of Staff
Emily Bell photo

Emily Bell serves as Chief of Staff for DronePort Network, LLC. With nearly 15 years of program management and supervisory experience, Emily directs internal administrative and operational activities, facilitating productivity and effective decision making. She also builds relationships with prospective and current clients.

Prior to joining DronePort Network, Emily spent 13 years in various at the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) in Washington, DC, ultimately serving as Senior Director, Professional Development before stepping into a consulting role, working on special projects. As Senior Director, Professional Development, Emily oversaw the full suite of educational offerings for the association, including the wildly recognized Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) certification. Before her work with IEDC, Emily served as a youth development volunteer in Ukraine with the U.S. Peace Corps, and as Grievance Director for the Cuyahoga County Bar Association in Cleveland, Ohio. She currently also is the Program Manager for the UAS Cluster Initiative, an SBA funded Regional Innovation Cluster.


Christina Kappaz

Board Member
Christina Kappaz photo

Christina has been a Director of DCN since its founding. She is currently serving as a Business Development Director at DCN and as a member of the investment committee at DCN's affiliated investment firm, Cimarron Capital Partners (CCP). Christina has 30 years of experience working in economic development, with a focus on entrepreneurship, job training, and venture capital. She led DCN and CCP teams in advising the governments of Mexico and Colombia on the development of their venture capital industries and the establishment of Funds of Funds designed to attract capital and business building talent to targeted regions. She was the founding executive director of the Latin American Venture Capital Association.

Christina started her career at the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank before working as a consultant, both independently and as a partner with Millennia Consulting. She recently worked with an international NGO, Youth Business International, where she continues to serve as a strategic advisor on projects that support disadvantaged youth entrepreneurs.

She is currently a member of the investment committee for the Colombian agriculture development bank Finagro, and on the credit committee for the NESsT Small Enterprise Loan Fund. Christina is fluent in Spanish. Her B.A. in Government is from Dartmouth College. She holds both an MBA and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University.


Robert Heard

Co-Founder and Senior Advisor
Cimarron Capital Partners
Robert Heard photo

Robert Heard is a Cimarron Managing Director and Co-Founder of Cimarron Capital. Over the past 20 years he has founded three funds of funds and one direct fund. He is active as an individual investor in technology startups.

Robert was a founding director of the National Association of Seed and Venture Funds (NASVF), a founder of the Latin American Venture Capital Association, and co-authored the National Governors' Association study, “The Experience of States with Seed and Venture Capital." He currently serves on the Advisory Committees of numerous private equity funds and previously as a member of the National Advisory Council of the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer. 

Robert earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Oklahoma and his MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.