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James E. Spencer Jr.

Spencer Jr. named advanced air mobility director at OAIRE LaunchPad

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Media Contact: Asia Allen | Communications Coordinator | 405-744-2325 |

The Oklahoma Aerospace Institute for Research and Education has announced James E. Spencer Jr. as the new director of Advanced Air Mobility at the LaunchPad Center.  

As director, Spencer will bring his knowledge and experience to supervise the expansion of advanced air mobility operations in Tulsa and the surrounding communities. Located at Oklahoma State University-Tulsa’s Helmerich Research Center and working under the umbrella of The Innovation Foundation at OSU, the LaunchPad Center for Advanced Air Mobility houses dedicated resources to promote the development of new technologies in advanced air mobility. It includes staff to solicit projects from industry, engineers and researchers to build new products, along with supporting services to help commercialize technologies and develop new companies. 

Spencer comes to OAIRE with over 25 years of experience in strategic development in aerospace and aviation, federal government contract proposal writing (management and technical sections), technology-driven economic development, and other related industries.  

“At The Innovation Foundation, we are focused on establishing and building partnerships that will benefit the state of Oklahoma and the nation,” said Elizabeth Pollard, executive director of The Innovation Foundation and president of Cowboy Technologies at OSU. “Naming Spencer as the Advanced Air Mobility director at LaunchPad Center of OAIRE will further our focus on expanding opportunities for entrepreneurship and workforce aligned with our technology leadership in Oklahoma.”  

Spencer has already begun his duties at OAIRE, having recently attended Tulsa Innovation Labs’ TRAM Summit as a panelist on the use of modern technologies for drone development.  

“I am excited for this opportunity to join OAIRE as the director of the LaunchPad Center for Advanced Air Mobility,” Spencer said. “I look forward to overseeing OSU’s mission to expand this transformational capability through new technologies, new STEM jobs, new startups and local business development that will directly benefit Tulsa and the surrounding areas while advancing the state-of-the-art in AAM nationally.”

Dr. Jamey Jacob, OAIRE executive director, said Spencer is exceptionally qualified to fill the crucial role at the helm of the LaunchPad.

"The LaunchPad director fills a unique gap within the aerospace ecosystem, namely crossing the valley of death that sits between early stage research that universities excel in with late-stage maturity that is needed for a product to go to market,” Jacob said. “This allows the LaunchPad to assist start-ups early on in their development process to ensure that the challenges are being met and to utilize resources across the OSU system to help solve those problems. James’ background provides expertise across a wide range of areas, including startups, government and academia, to provide the necessary perspective to assist entrepreneurs of all flavors.” 

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