Wade Lester


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Wade Lester has been employed by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at Daytona Beach Florida since 2003. Embry-Riddle is the world’s largest and most prestigious university specializing in aviation and aerospace. Mr. Lester first managed the university’s IT infrastructure and then moved to Embry-Riddle’s NextGen program upon its inception in 2008. During the early stages of the Embry-Riddle NextGen Program, Wade formalized the Florida NextGen Test Bed which has now grown into a robust NextGen capability leveraged by the FAA and the international community. He also co-chaired the Integrated Airport Initiative, a group of prestigious industry leaders organized to help promote and accelerate the FAA’s NextGen program. His project portfolio includes advances in FAA systems, Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Information Exchange, and Operational Concept development.

Prior to joining Embry-Riddle, Wade served in the United States Air Force for 23 years. He retired in 2003 as a Major (O-4). He was enlisted for 10 years as an electronics technician. Wade’s experiences include inertial navigation, RADAR, analog and digital circuit repair, as well as a TRACON systems technician. He worked initially on the Air Force’s C-5 Galaxy and the C-141 Starlifter, and later moved to digital switching systems. After completing his BS in Electronics Management from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, he attended the Air Force Officer Training School and was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in 1990. His first assignment as a commissioned officer was Missile Launch Officer, Malmstrom AFB, MT. After his four year tour as a “Missileer”, Wade returned to technology related assignments. He led large data centers, software teams, and IT systems teams in support of the Intelligence community. Mr. Lester completed his MS in Technical Management, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, in 2001.

Currently, Wade is Embry-Riddle’s Sr. Executive Project Manager for NextGen. He leads a team of industry and international participants in support of the FAA’s Mini Global project. Mini Global will demonstrate the sharing of common flight, weather, and aeronautical information elements among the internal FAA National Airspace System (NAS) components and between the NAS and international Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs). Information exchange between NAS systems and International systems is made possible through a common System Wide Information Management (SWIM) platform.