Prior to being named the new Executive Director of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office, Peter “Jay” Merkle was the Deputy Vice President (DVP) of the Program Management Organization (PMO) within the Air Traffic Organization (ATO). The PMO is responsible for all NextGen program activity; all National Airspace System (NAS) communications; navigation, weather, surveillance and automation modernization programs; and all service life extensions to legacy NAS sensors, communications and navigation aids. Given the tight coupling between successful automation program delivery and current system operation, the PMO also leads and manages all second-level automation engineering efforts. Lastly, the PMO works with FAA operations and aviation users to ensure globally interoperable solutions for NextGen.
Prior to that position, Merkle was the Director of Program Control and Integration, AJM-1, in the PMO for the ATO. In that capacity, he led the PMO in developing effective, timely, and innovative solutions to evolving business needs. The focus areas were program control, cross-cutting analysis and integration, and special initiatives.
Since joining the FAA, Merkle has served as the Manager of Systems Integration for Portfolio Management and Technology Development within the NextGen organization. He also has held positions as the Lead Engineer for tower, terminal, and en route automation systems, as the Chief System Engineer for En Route and Terminal Domains, and as the Chief Architect for NextGen at the Joint Planning and Development Office.
Merkle has over 30 years of extensive experience in engineering and program management. He started his career as an engineer working in cockpit and crew station design on several aircraft, including the C-17 large transport aircraft. Merkle holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Central Florida and a Master's degree in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.