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crumb trail: Home >> Whistle Online >> Archives >> Feb. 23, 2009

ATAS director named

Rusty Roberts has worked at GTRI since 1988

Abby Vogel
Research News

Rusty Roberts recently returned to the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) Cobb County Research Facility, where his career with Tech began in 1988. In January, he was named director of GTRI’s Aerospace, Transportation and Advanced Systems (ATAS) laboratory, one of two units headquartered at the Cobb facility near Dobbins Air Reserve Base.

  GTRI ATAS Director Rusty Roberts

Rusty Roberts

“I’m excited to lead the ATAS laboratory and inject my own thoughts and ideas into the direction that this group of researchers should go,” Roberts said. “I was able to hit the ground running because I already knew about 80 percent of the researchers in the laboratory—whether from working here previously or from reaching out and collaborating while I was in ITTL.”

His appointment comes after eight years as associate director for business development in GTRI’s Information Technology and Telecommunications Laboratory, 12 years as program manager in the Systems Development Laboratory that was merged to create ATAS and 10 years as an officer in the U.S. Army Signal Corps.

ATAS has a long legacy of providing threat radar simulators to the test-and-evaluation community, but also of solving complex problems in the diverse areas of aeronautics, acoustics, transportation, and power and energy. Another key capability within ATAS is its Food Processing Technology Division, which provides technical solutions to the food processing industry.

“The diversity of the laboratory presents its challenges, but I’m going to try to connect the overlapping capabilities and core competencies, both technical abilities and sponsors, among the groups,” Roberts said.

Roberts plans to gradually increase the number of laboratory personnel and sponsors.
“I want to revitalize our core threat business, exploit our prototyping abilities, use my expertise in business development to expand the outreach of the Food Processing Technology Division, and bring some of the U.S. Department of Defense contacts I’ve developed to the aerospace researchers.”

He also wants to grow the laboratory’s unmanned autonomous systems capability. Growth in this area will be aided by a contract recently awarded to Roberts and GTRI principal research engineer Lora Weiss to support development of a roadmap designed to improve the testing and evaluation of unmanned and autonomous systems for the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense. GTRI is also participating in other UAV programs, including a multi-organization effort aimed at developing very small autonomous devices.

Roberts is currently vice president and executive committee member of the International Test and Evaluation Association. He also started and presently leads a GTRI-wide test and evaluation initiative that brought together the Joint Systems Integration Command and the Defense Test Resource Management Center. The resulting collaboration directly led to a $1.9 million research award.

He has been married since 1990 to Cindy, whom he met while working at GTRI. She currently supports GTRI’s deputy director of support operations. They have three adult children, Bobby, Christina and Kevin, and live in Marietta.



Approved by the Office of External Affairs on 09/24/97
Last Modified: February 23, 2009