Engineering firm adds four drone pilots

Engineering firm Woolpert has added four drone pilots to its workforce. In this 2013 photo, Sen. Rob Portman visited Woolpert’s Beavercreek headquarters, with a UAV hanging behind him. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF
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Engineering firm Woolpert has added four drone pilots to its workforce. In this 2013 photo, Sen. Rob Portman visited Woolpert’s Beavercreek headquarters, with a UAV hanging behind him. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF

A local engineering company is adding drone pilots to its workforce.

Beavercreek’s Woolpert has increased its pool of unmanned aerial vehicles pilots by four, the company said Wednesday.

RELATED: Woolpert lands contract to fly drones to look at rural roads

Kris Froiland, Ethan Schreuder, Joel Doughty and Rich Gerdeman join Woolpert’s team of “Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) commercial UAV certification resources,” the company announced.

Now the company has five UAV pilots, based at four of its 23 locations — Dayton, Chicago, Denver and Columbia, S.C., where the firm also is establishing UAV hubs.

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Woolpert was the first surveying and aerial mapping company to be approved to fly drones commercially in designated airspace, earning an FAA Section 333 exemption in December 2014.

Aaron Lawrence, Woolpert’s UAV technology manager, earned his license last August, the first day the certification was made public by the FAA, the company said.

Woolpert said it is working on multiple drone projects, creating high-resolution representations of locks and dams to pipeline inspections to digitally preserving historic bridges to construction design monitoring for airport runways.

That work will continue, the company said.

“We are known worldwide for our mapping capabilities,” Lawrence said in the firm’s statement. “By increasing our fleet of UAS pilots, we can more expansively apply this expertise. It’s all about what tool in the toolbox to use to meet the project specifications, and how to do it in the most cost-effective manner.”

Woolpert has 213 employees at its County Line Road headquarters and 609 total at its offices across the country.

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