Akin Gump announced that Mark A. Aitken II, the former director of government relations at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), has joined the firm as a senior policy advisor in its communications practice. At Akin Gump, Mr. Aitken will advise clients on regulatory and policy matters pertaining to autonomous vehicles.
Mr. Aitken brings to Akin Gump many years of experience on both Capitol Hill and in the private sector as a legislative advocate and public affairs professional. While at the AUVSI, the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of unmanned systems, he served as legislative and policy lead for all issues at the federal level, developing wide-ranging policy positions on issues before federal regulators and lawmakers.
Mr. Aitken led the AUVSI’s advocacy efforts regarding the House and Senate versions of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization and associated appropriation measures and has worked to expedite the U.S. framework for integrating unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the National Airspace System for commercial opportunities. He also has significant experience working with the FAA on UAS-related matters, given his involvement with numerous Aviation Rulemaking Committees and appointment to the Drone Advisory Committee’s Subcommittee.
“With his extensive background in the policy and regulatory issues affecting the UAS industry, Mark will be a great addition to our acclaimed communications practice,” said Hal S. Shapiro, chair of Akin Gump’s regulatory practice steering committee. “He’ll join Jennifer Richter and others in creating a formidable team for clients in the UAS and broader unmanned systems space, and I am delighted to welcome him to Akin Gump.”
“As additional players seek to enter the UAS landscape and utilize this transformative technology, Akin Gump has an incredibly talented group of lawyers and policy professionals who stand ready to assist them,” said Mr. Aitken. “The firm’s work in this cutting-edge area of law is impressive. That, combined with its tremendous policy and regulatory platform, makes the firm an ideal fit for me, and I am thrilled to be here.”