Who We Are
AmTech's Co-Founder and long-serving CEO is Karen Risa Robbins, Esq. Under Robbins' leadership, the organization expanded considerably in terms of clients, revenue, projects, and staff. Robbins took over leadership in 1995, following Dr. Stephen Gomes and Dr. Syed Shariq.
AmTech has benefitted from a prestigious Board of Directors, including Paul Dembling, the first General Counsel of NASA, Dr. George Kozmetsky, founder of Teledyne Corporation, and Dr. Paul Kaminski, former Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology.
AmTech's staff has included professionals in law, finance, software, and various fields of technology.
AmTech's first five years were focused on researching legal and policy issues affecting partnering between federal agencies and the private sector. By 1994, the flexible legal agreement AmTech developed and advocated as a new way of doing business – the Joint Sponsored Research Agreement (JSRA) - was adopted by NASA, and elements were being widely utilized by other federal agencies. Thereafter, AmTech shifted emphasis from policy research to implementation. NASA entrusted AmTech with forming three important government-industry partnerships in the aeronautics field, each worth more than $100 million dollars. Until 1999, AmTech was mainly involved in developing these partnerships and managing their legal, administrative, and collaborative aspects.
Between 1999 and 2009, AmTech diversified its core competencies and clients, grew its revenue stream, and expanded in staff. In addition to aeronautics, it handled collaboration-based projects in the fields of satellite technology, disaster management, space technology, medical technology, and information technology. Between 2003-2008, AmTech was asked by a coalition of six Federal agencies to lead partnership and stakeholder engagement for the $18 Billion program to redesign a critical national infrastructure, namely the national air transportation system.
AmTech has focused on how platform technology can best provide transparency, knowledge sharing, work flow, data management, stakeholder inclusion, and other benefits to common cause communities. It is also led and contributed to ideation for numerous ventures.
Partnerships AmTech Negotiated and Acted as Alliance Manager
• Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology – ERAST Alliance (1994-2004).
$160 million dollar partnership to build and flight test first drones for civil/commercial applications. NASA sponsored, 50+ partners. Spawned high altitude solar drone and Predator B.
• Access 5 (2004-2006). $100 million dollar partnership to develop regulations for drones. NASA, FAA & DOD, with Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, AeroVironment, General Atomics, and others. Resulted in regulations and policy changes and seeded the inception of the drone industry.
• AGATE Alliance (1994-1996). $100 million dollar partnership with 150 general aviation entities. Resulted in key advances in for the general aviation industry.
• Supersonic Cruise Industry Alliance (2004-2007). $5.5 million partnership to design a supersonic business jet.
• Center for Rotorcraft Innovation (2004 – 2007). $81.5 million dollar partnership to advance rotorcraft technology. Resulted in key advances, such as vertical lift and tilt rotor technologies.
• Satellite Communications Alliance (2002). Partnership between leading SATCOM companies.
• ACYSNT Institute (1990-1996). $75 million dollar partnership to develop aircraft design software, which became widely deployed in government and industry.
• Wind Tunnel Testing (1990 – 1993). $1 million dollar partnership to develop new testing methodology
AmTech Structured Alliance and Handled Partner Relations
• NexGen Aviation, 2003-2008. $18 billion dollar program to modernize the U.S. national air transportation system with respect to communications, navigation, surveillance, automation, information management, and drones. (www.faa/nextgen),
• UAV National Task Force (UNTF), 2003 – 2004. Multi-agency analysis team led by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Department of Homeland Security.
• Global Disaster Information Network (GDIN), 2003 - 2004. International group of disaster managers supported by the U.S. Department of State.
• Pulsed Power Partnership (1992 ). Recruited companies to license Sandia Labs' technology for commercial applications.
AmTech Formed and Managed Professional Associations
•UAV National Industry Team (UNITE)
• Doug Engelbart Institute (DEI)
• Center for UAS Integration Into the NAS
AmTech Supported Professional Associations With Specialized Services
Partial List of Clients
NASA; DOE; DOD; FAA; DARPA; NOAA; California Resources Agency
AeroVironment (AV Inc.); Aurora Flight Sciences; Bell Textron; The Boeing Company
Cessna Aircraft; General Atomics ASI; General Electric Engines; Hughes Space & Communications
Lockheed Martin Corporation; Motorola; Northrop Grumman Corporation; Scaled Composites
Shaklee Corporation; Sun Microsystems
Virginia Tech; New Mexico State University; University of Washington; San Francisco State University
University of Hawaii
California Space Authority; Council of Engineering Society Executives; Doug Engelbart Institute;
Global Disaster Information Network; International Photonics Society; NextGen Institute; Southeast Asian Youth Leadership Initiative; UAV National Industry Team
Government Services Administration, Finalist in Government Effectiveness Competition (2019)
NASA Group Achievement Award for Partnership (2004)
NASA Group Achievement Award for Partnership (2004)
National Partnership for Reinventing Government (2001), Awarded by Vice President Albert Gore, Jr.
Certificate of Appreciation (2001) GDIN (Global Disaster Information Network)
Certificate of Appreciation (2000) Bootstrap Institute & Stanford University
The NASA Public Service Group Achievement Award (1998)
Grover E. Bell Award (1998) American Helicopter Society
The NASA Public Service Group Achievement Award (1995)
Excerpts From Client Letters to Karen Risa Robbins, Chief Executive Officer
“Under your leadership, AmTech has been at the forefront, forging new alliances between industry and government. I wanted to take the time to express NASA's thanks for its long history of initiating and supporting collaborative research and development to further NASA's goals...your work was key to enabling dramatic progress for unmanned aircraft...the world of aeronautics is that much better because of your innovation and dedication." Dr. Richard Wlezian, Program Director, Fundamental Aeronautics, NASA Headquarters
“Your personal vision and leadership skills were critical to moving six competitors to join together.”
Frank Pace, President, General Atomics -ASI (makers of the Predator Drone).
"AmTech was vital. We couldn't have evolved the drones without AmTech. A big round of kudos for structuring the partnership, facilitating the strategy, minding the partnerships, and leading the innovative legal structure." Scott Dann, GA-ASI Program Manager
“I looked to you to create the framework for a collaborative organization and to manage key relationships.”
Dr. Doug Engelbart, Doug Engelbart Institute
“You think strategically and have the magic touch for getting people to align around a plan. You are as intuitive as you are determined. I’ve seen you structure complex partnerships and subdue difficult players.”
Dennis Crosby, Senior Manager, Northrop Grumman Corporation
"The groundbreaking work you did in developing the Joint Sponsored Research Agreement and your thoughtful stewardship of the agreement has been a significant contributor to the success of the ERAST project (which developed unpiloted aircraft). The cooperative environment which you and your team helped facilitate is recognized as the key enabler of that technical success." Kevin Petersen, Director, NASA Dryden Flight Research Center
"If it was not for Jenny (the NASA Program Manager) and Karen at AmTech, there never would have been a successful execution of the ERAST Program, which launched unpiloted aircraft." Karl Loutinsky, NASA Headquarters
"The guidance and support you gave to SALI during the formative phase was invaluable."
Leng Lim, Founder, Southeast Asian Leadership Initiative