The drone industry, like aerospace in general, has fewer women. Women and Drones began the “Women to Watch” awards 5 years ago to recognize and elevate those women, making other women aware of the opportunities and developments in the industry.
“The WTW program elevates the entire UAS/UAM/AAM industry by recognizing those who are making a positive difference in it,” says the Women and Drones press release.
Since it’s inception, the awards have grown. The drone industry has stepped up to support the program, with major names sponsoring awards and, for the first time, enabling a monetary micro grant of $500 for each honoree. In addition, the awards now honor those teams who work to incorporate diversity and inclusivity in their missions.
Sharon Rossmark, Founder of Women and Drones, creator of the awards, and tireless advocate for diversity in the drone industry, tells DRONELIFE:
“It has been an amazing ride to journey through the first five years of celebrating women in the UAS industry. It’s a prime example of letting your passion guide your purpose.”
“A huge thanks to CES, our sponsors, NASA and the FAA for their partnership and incredible support. Thanks also to our international panel of judges who had the difficult role of reviewing the submissions. And lastly, a thank you to the phenomenal women and companies who participated in the 2021 global search. Moving forward, we will continue to raise the profile of women in the industry and partner with companies committed to an inclusive culture where women can thrive.”
Women to Watch in UAS: 2021
(The following is from a Women and Drones press release.)
- Bronwyn Morgan, Xeo Air – Recipient of the Iris Automation Entrepreneurship Award – Bronwyn Morgan is a Part 107 certified pilot, FAA Safety Representative and FAA Drone Pro, and is the Founder of Xeo Air, an AI based drones on demand, data analytics and autonomy platform for mission management that connects clients in telecom, catastrophic response, oil and gas, energy, construction, civil infrastructure.
- Madison Jeffery, Swoop Aero – Recipient of the Skydio Public Safety/Service Award – Madison Jeffery of Australia is based in Southern Malawi, where she manages Swoop Aero’s flagship medical drone logistics network, which connects over 1.5 million people with essential medical supplies.
- Karen DiMeo, AERODiMEO LLC – Recipient of the Sabrewing Aircraft Leadership Award – As CEO, Karen DiMeo advises her clients on issues related to unmanned and advanced emerging technologies in the commercial aerospace ecosystem. Karen has 30 years of experience in the aviation industry from both government and industry leadership positions.
- April Lanotte, STEM lead for NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate – Recipient of the Unmanned Safety Institute Education Award – In her current position with NASA, April Lanotte works on making aerospace science more accessible to all teachers and students and works with engineers and subject matter experts on ways to add more STEM opportunities into their missions.
The initiative also recognized outstanding teams:
- Toni Drummond, CEO of Global Aerial Management Group – Recipient of the Volatus Aerospace Innovation Team Award – Global Aerial Management Group, which operates a multitude of turboprop and jet aircraft, is 100% Women owned and operated. The UAS vertical is expanding and specializes in drone sanitizing, disinfecting of both indoor and outdoor arenas, stadiums, schools and other large spaces.
- Pharns Genece, CEO of USOG – Recipient of the FoxFury Team Spotlight Award – Unmanned Systems Operations Goup (USOG) is a leading-edge provider of medical logistics solutions utilizing UAS. The diverse and inclusive team of employees is led by Genece, who has 18 years of experience as a highly trained flight nurse with US Air Force Medevac.
- Michael Healander, CEO Airspace Link, Inc – Recipient of the Women and Drones Diversity Exemplar Award – Airspace Link, Inc. builds the digital infrastructure required to support drone use of all types, ensuring they are safe, legal and fully benefitting the community. 60% of the company’s leadership team is female.
“Every year at CES, tech leaders and promising entrepreneurs convene to share ideas, launch products and forge relationships – all paving the way for our future,” said Karen Chupka, EVP, CES, CTA. “We are excited to host the Women to Watch awards at CES 2022 and recognize the trailblazers, innovators, mentors and business leaders making significant contributions to the industry.”
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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