Tell us a little about Sci.Aero, what it is, and your role there.
In everything we do we believe in safety, efficiency and the future of flight. A group of experts, Sci.Aero is the passionate, compounding result of our group’s focus and belief in UAVs and advanced industrial robotics. Personally I’m focused on our future, education, collaboration and communication.
As integral as wheels have been to the 21st century,
you’ll see that flying machines will be to the 22nd.
Where did the idea for Sci.Aero come from?
For me, the best thing about Sci.Aero, there’s a unique and specific answer, which everyone of our team has. For me, I believe people are awesome and when we come together with purpose, we can achieve amazing things. I believe we’re capable of more. It’s with this passion I see capability to contribute to improving lives.
Sci.Aero was cofounded by Josh Portlock and myself. We share a common heritage in robotic engineering along with our passion for aerospace. We came together seeing the mutual benefit of 2 being better than 1. From there we’ve grown – our capability and passion continues to attract people who believe what we believe.
As integral as wheels have been to the 21st century, you’ll see that flying machines will be to the 22nd. With this vision, Sci.Aero is focused on ensuring we benefit from powerful future flight capabilities and do so safely.
What problem is your company solving?
Gravity. We engineer ingenious solutions that offer people the ability to transcend the limitations of gravity. Our current solution is the revolutionary cyberQuad. Its unique ducted blades and inherently safe design provide an industry leading solution for rapid response, and high quality data gathering in safety critical environments.
How do you bring your products to life?
It’s all about people. We catch up and communicate with people that save others’ lives and contribute to the good of others. We engage and discuss with experts who conduct dangerous work duties, duties to ensure our everyday conveniences are provided to us without hiccup. Out of these great people’s efforts, there are specific areas where our capabilities and passion can make a difference and help them. From here we apply our ISO9001 certified expertise with vision, passion, perspiration, blood, sweat and tears… until beautiful, highly capable things start to fly.
It’s all about people.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Typically I wake up to my son or daughter jumping on me, I spend some time with my family, meditate, stretch, a bit of exercise, breakfast and off to catch up with the team. Productivity comes from supporting our team and helping them achieve. My day typically comprises a healthy combination of people interaction, solution design, message communication, vision articulation and engineering. It’s fantastic to deal with passionate people around the world daily, who seek to achieve and contribute to others. Personally I focus on my strengths and do what ever it takes to succeed at my daily goals. As for daily goals – set them in advance, it’s a game changer. Then depending on the current cycle, I eat dinner with my wife and family, put the kids to bed and often squeeze in some plus plus before I also call it a night.
How did you get started in the drone industry?
I seek to build space planes and assistive technology that can help people achieve more safely. In the late 90s, culminating in my thesis, I was focused on power and propulsion systems. Realizing that commercial skills were required in addition to engineering, I sought to learn from the best and brightest I could access, successful experts and leaders who take responsibility for changing the world, those that would sit down to share their story with an eager young engineer and business man. Working in the Oil & Gas, Aerospace, and Industrial Robotics industries, including starting a few successful companies and suffering a few setbacks, I caught up with a friend and colleague Josh Portlock. This opened an opportunity for both of us, and viola, I was in the Drone industry.
What advice would you give to others who want to get started flying drones?
Hold people first, safety second and chase your dreams. Learn all you can, surround yourself with experts and don’t be afraid to pay or engage them, just do so within your means. Drones and UAVs hold the capability to transform our lives for the better when done right.
Share an experience of a failure you had (a crash, equipment failure, etc.) and what you learned from it.
We’ve had many, it’s how we learn. It’s because of failures in our R&D department that clients receive our certified production-passed quality aircraft solutions. That said, I may still be the only person who cheers when one crashes in development and testing – I see each one as our chance to learn. We haven’t had the same thing happen twice as a result of this.
Hold people first, safety second
and chase your dreams.
Where do you see drones and drone technology in the future?
Personally, I believe drones will play a significant part in the future of our lives. They’ll provide access, info, support, transport and more. My original concept sketches from uni days involved pizza delivery drones… almost 15 years later… it’s exciting.
Is there an aspect of drones that you’re particularly interested in at the moment?
Yes, safety and education. For all the amazing capabilities this technology can offer, it can also be very dangerous. I believe people are inherently good, I don’t believe they seek to purposefully do harm to others; however, without the right education and training, accidents are much more likely to happen. As with all emergent industries there is a fast paced, dynamic, creative environment out there. I hope people remember – people come first.
What was the best piece of advice ever given to you?
Back your strengths and hire your weaknesses. I rebutted this until my thirties, trying to be an expert at everything. These days I love to focus on supporting others, seeking to empower them to be the best they can be.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies – by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee. It’s a brilliant read or listen. I digest them in audio format through Audible while I’m in transit during my day.
…follow your passions and seek others who share them.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
There are so many amazing people, teachers and leaders who all volunteer great experiences. I personally find Richard Branson an inspiration. Les Brown, Tony Robbins and Ray Lewis are awesome, empowering individuals. Earl Nightingale’s greatest secret is as powerful today as it was when he wrote it. I could go on all day, follow your passions and seek others who share them.