Greg was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, his aviation career spans 46 years with companies such as FedEx Memphis TN, TNT Aviation Group Sydney AU, Airnet Columbus OH and Emery Worldwide, Dayton OH.
Greg retired in 2016 and founded The Canadian Drone Institute. During his 46 year aviation career Greg accumulated over 8,000 hours of flight time in Canada and The United States
Greg is a current RPAS Task Force (Ottawa) RTMAT Committee Member tasked with developing the Transport Canada Beyond Visual Line of Site (BVLOS) initiative in Canada.
Greg is a Transport Canada retired Senior Commercial Pilot and former Transport Canada Commercial Ground School Instructor Class 2, with a Class 1 Instrument Flight Rating in both Canada and the United States
Greg is leading the The Canadian Drone Institutes Corporate Flight Department training initiative in Canada and The United States. He resides in Kingston, Ontario
Sharon Rossmark, MBA
CEO Women and Drones
Sharon Rossmark is the Chief Executive Officer of Women and Drones, the premier global platform featuring women who are disrupting, innovating and shaping the future of the drone industry. She is also a FAA Certified Drone Pilot. In 2018 and 2019, the company was listed as one of the “Top 100 Companies To Watch” in the drone industry.
Sharon is an international speaker, panelist and facilitator. She has taken the stage to share her passion for drones from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC to the World of Drones Congress in Brisbane, Australia.
The organization’s educational theme centers on “learning through the wonders of flying robots.TM” The focus is on collaborating with community and educational programs to incorporate drones into STEM programming for youth with an emphasis on engaging girls.
She is the co-author of several books introducing young children to drones. The books are available in English and Spanish. Most of the characters in the books are girls which is a purposeful, important part of her commitment to engaging more girls in STEM and aviation.
Sharon earned her MBA from University of Illinois – Chicago and her BS from Illinois State University.
Senior Advisory Board Member
We are pleased to announce that Ross comes to the Canadian Drone Institute Advisory Board with a wealth of knowledge and experience from over 40 years in both fixed wing and rotary wing, commercial and government aviation.
Ross attended and graduated from Moncton Flight College in 1974. He spent a number of years working as a flight instructor and a bush pilot in northern Ontario and Manitoba. During this time, he flew De Havilland Beavers, Noorduyn Norseman, Cessna types 180/185 and Cessna 206 on floats. He instructed private and commercial pilots on floats as well.
In 1981, Ross joined the team at Nova Scotia Lands and Forests / Natural Resources flying fixed wing aerial water bombers on floats for wildfire suppression. In 1984, he obtained a commercial helicopter license from Fredericton Helicopters. A sampling of the type of flying work he has performed for DNR is fire detection, wildfire suppression, aerial wildlife live capture of deer and moose, search and rescue, fixed wing and rotary wing wildlife surveys, transportation of government personnel. This included single and multi-engine fixed wing aircraft and single and multi-engine light and medium helicopters.
In 1998, Ross was chosen to be Director of the Fleet Management Division, which encompassed the Provincial Aviation Services, DNR Fleet Vehicle and Equipment Services, and the Provincial Integrated Mobile Radio System. He was Operations Manager/ Chief Pilot for the DNR Aviation Services for 16 years.
Complementing the flight experience, Ross has an extensive background in many areas including management, aviation operations, safety management systems (SMS), aircraft accident investigation to name a few.
Ross has flown a variety of aircraft over the 40 years in the aviation industry. He accumulated over 10,000 flight hours on fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft. He held a Canadian Airline Transport Pilots License - ATPL A&H (Aeroplanes and Helicopters) Single & Multi engine Land and Sea, IFR, Rotary License’s for Bell 47, Bell 212, Hughes/ MD 500 C/D/E, Eurocopter EC120B.
Ross retired in September 2014 after working 33 years for DNR. He currently resides in Fort Ellis, NS with his wife Shelley.
Victor (Vic) Sparks
Flight Evaluator New Brunswick
Vic is retired after 17 years of service as a Military Policeman with extensive classroom instructor experience in Military Police operations Also Vic is an instructor and trainer for the National Association of Underwater Instructors, American/Canadian Underwater Council
Vic has also worked as the Team Leader of the investigations unit for South West Nova Scotia
Vic has extensive Drone experience having flown over the last 3 years in several different countries.
He holds an Advanced Drone certificate as well as a Transport Canada examiner certificate under The Canadian Drone Institutes examiners license with Transport Canada.
Flight Evaluator Nova Scotia
Adrian Fish is a Toronto born photo-based artist and educator currently living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. He holds an MFA from York University in Toronto (2004), as well as undergraduate accreditation from OCAD University in Toronto (1999) and the Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Oakville, ON (1997).
Adrian has been a drone pilot since 2017, and is a Transport Canada Small Advanced RPAS pilot and Flight Reviewer with the Canadian Drone Institute. His work has been featured in publications such as Canadian Art, Vice Magazine and WIRED.com.
Adrian is currently Associate Professor and Chair of the Division of Media Arts at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
President & COO
Shelly Leighton is a Professional Engineer and Commissioned Canada Lands Surveyor. She holds a Transport Canada Advanced Operations Certificate and has conducted many UAV operations over the past few years
She began flying drones in 2015 and began her own inspection and mapping company in 2016. Her company uses unmanned systems for confined space inspections, UAVs for mapping and topographic data collection using unmanned surface vehicles.
Shelly’s company was the first in North America to be certified to the DNV Remote Inspection Techniques process (DNV RIT), for using drones to inspect offshore platforms.Her company was the 2nd in North America to be certified under the Lloyd’s register process for RIT.
She has an avid interest in 3D data collection and processing using the latest software. She has developed a number of courses for the Canadian Drone Institute and is happy to share her knowledge with her clients.
Shelly resides in St. John’s NL and as a certified flight reviewer, conducts all in person flight reviews for anyone in the province.
Director of Northern Canadian Operations
Jonathan has been surveying for 20 years now. He started flying RPAS in 2014. With experience in fixed wing and multirotor craft, he has accumulated over 400 hours of flight time in the challenging climate of northern Canada. With mineral rich terrain, frigid temperatures, and turbulent wind conditions, Jonathan has faced many challenges on the ground and in the air, all to get the data that industry needs to push the boundaries of innovation, safety and productivity.
The flight time and experience Jonathan has accumulated during his time working with RPAS, helped him become one of the first Advanced Operations pilots in northeast Canada, as well as an accredited flight assessor.
When he started his business, SOARGIS, he sought to bring these skills to a wider audience. To help people see what can be done with the help of RPAS, a skilled pilot and a fantastic data set.
Anthony (Tony) Thornton
Vice President of Operations, North America
Tony’s is a current Transport Canada Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) with over 18,000 hours of flight time Globally.
Tony currently holds Aircraft Types Licenses on the Boeing 737, Gulfstream 200, Canadair 550, Canadair L65, Boeing 777 and Airbus 320
In addition, Tony has extensive International experience and is a former Transport Canada Approved Check Pilot. His expertise is in developing SOP manuals and providing training syllabus development for flight departments.
Tony was the Project Manager for the Boeing 737 and 800 series and has acted as the CARS (Transport Canada Canadian Aviation Regulations) section 705 Chief Pilot.
Tony’s real-world aviation experience will be a tremendous resource as Transport Canada and the FAA move towards Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS).
Senior Advisory Board Member
Al brings a wealth of hands of experience to our Advisory Board as a former Military and Civilian jet pilot and Flight Instawructor.
After graduating from the Moncton Flight College in 1972, Al went on to fly in the Canadian Northern Airspace as a Twin Otter bush pilot accumulating over 1000 hours Pilot in Command time in the severe cold weather operating environment in the former Northwest Territories.
Al’s career path led to be accepted by the Canadian Armed Forces as a jet pilot and to become a Military Jet Qualified Flight Instructor (QFI) and Operations Manager at the 436 Squadron, CFB Trenton, Ontario.
Al had the pleasure of working with The Snowbirds the Canadian Armed Forces aerobatic team.
During this phase of his career Al flew the McDonnel Douglas CF-101 “Voo Doo”, The Canadair CT-114 Tutor, a Canadian-built jet trainer and also trained on the Bell UH-1N Twin Huey a twin-engine medium military helicopter.
In the Canadian Military, Al taught basic flight school, instrument flight procedures, aerobatics and formation flying at night in high performance Jet aircraft. A feat not for the faint of heart!
In total Al has over 7,000 hours as a Transport Canada Flight School trainer and Pilot in Command Jet and rotary wing time over his career before his retirement from the Military.
Al currently resides in Toronto, Ontario with his wife and is enjoying a successful Real Estate career with ReMax Canada. During his spare time Al is an avid outdoorsman and an expert nature photographer.
Dr. Mark Cohen
Flight Evaluator Ontario
Marks interest in aviation began with a fear of flying. Trying to conquer that fear he started building radio control airplanes to learn about wing strengths Reynolds numbers and aerodynamics.
Mark started building and flying drones ten years ago,when drones were in their infancy. He has completed the basic ,advanced ,and Review er exams and is pleased to share his experience and knowledge with the Canadian Drone Institute.
Mark holds a private pilot license with night rating in Canada as well as an FAA airman license. He was twice recognized by the FAA with a Safety Award for a commitment to safety and recurrent training.
When not flying Mark maintains his license as a practising dentist in Toronto and has had appointments as Reviewer for the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario.
Markis also a guest lecturer at McGill University. Mark has five sons the youngest of which is an airline transport pilot , having won the prestigious Webster Trophy.