Brendan Powers, founder of United Drone Services, has always had an entrepreneurial spirit, but was spurred on to his newest adventure after an experience as an employee going through a corporate merger.
“I worked for a major defense contractor when we were sold to another major defense contractor,” he said. “I went home and told my wife that I didn’t want to be one of the pieces on a board that got traded back and forth. I have always wanted to work for myself so I considered buying an existing business. An agreement to purchase a helicopter dealership fell apart so I began to look at other businesses, from car washes to franchises. However, my wife kept pushing me back to aviation because it’s what I love. As I researched all aviation markets, I saw drones had additional commercial applications consistently emerging. By that time, I was in contact with financial backers who believed in the potential that I saw in the drone market and we launched United Drone Services. We started picking up clients almost immediately in the agriculture, real estate development and golf markets.”
United Drone Services offers drone flight imagery and analysis services for commercial applications. For example, a drone can identify areas of plant stress and track the progress of improvement.
“We create surface models and updated records for commercial sites,” Powers explained. “We help customers to monitor their sites in ways that weren’t possible before because of cost. We make farmers’ time on the ground more efficient by showing them things they can’t see with the naked eye. We use commercial grade equipment and the best analytical tools on the market. Plus, all of our pilots are trained to military standards. Our use of checklists and mission planning are critical to ensure we deliver the best end data to our customers.”
Powers’ advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to read Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin.
“You need to own everything - your successes and failures,” he said. “I meet weekly with my business partners. Sometimes it’s great and sometimes it’s ugly because I have to own mistakes I’ve made. Also, get as much help as you can from resources like SCORE. There are resources out there that can help you avoid mistakes. My SCORE mentor was vital. I met with him once a week and emailed him at all hours of the night.”
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