Rocio Frej Vitalle

Tampa, Florida

Improving Aviation, LLC
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Learn about Florida Entrepreneur Rocio Frej Vitalle:

Originally from Spain, Rocio Frej Vitalle, Founder of Improving Aviation, LLC, moved to the United States on a tennis scholarship. She played two years at Boise State University, located in Boise, Idaho, before transferring to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach. Her pursuit of an engineering degree, which began in Idaho, is what ultimately set the stage for her entrepreneurial journey and the formation of Improving Aviation in April 2020.

"Growing up, I always thought I would do something with math or physics," Frej Vitalle said. "When I came to the states, I decided to do engineering. As a Division I athlete, we always flew to different states to compete. That experience of traveling by air, being around airports and seeing the planes is what ultimately led me down the path of aeronautical engineering."

After graduating from Embry-Riddle, Frej Vitalle worked for a consulting firm in Washington D.C.. After three years, she relocated to Tampa in January 2016, where she continued to work as a remote employee. In addition to working full-time, Frej Vitalle went back to school and earned her Master's Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of South Florida and is currently pursuing her PhD. Her experience with the consulting firm, the connections she made, her educational achievements and the confidence she gained over the years, eventually led her down the path of entrepreneurship.

"I made so many connections with the industry and within the Federal Aviation Administration," she said. "I earned some recognitions and even wrote an article that earned the award of Article of the Year for the Air Traffic Control Journal. My experience and accomplishments opened a lot of doors. By the end of 2019, I started to seriously consider the possibility of starting my own business. Another consulting firm offered to subcontract a couple of their projects. Then I approached my old company and they agreed to give me the project I was working on at the time, but to allow me to work as a consultant rather than an employee. That's really what allowed me to do this."

Improving Aviation, LLC is an engineering firm that provides superior engineering and technical services in air transportation systems. They support government agencies and private organizations to develop safe, efficient, and scalable solutions in air traffic management, transportation systems, and integration of emerging technologies in the aviation industry. As Frej Vitalle shared, there are four areas where her company stands out from similar firms.

"The four areas are: Excelling Technical Expertise, Value, Quality and Vision," she said. "We continue to lead the industry by regularly publishing articles for different professional organizations and I'm also an AIAA Session Chair. In terms of value, our maxima is to never sacrifice on effort, and thrive to provide the best value for our services. We strive for excellence and our priority is critical thinking to look at the next step ahead and future opportunities for our customers."

Working through a handful of challenges including, finding people to work with and identifying her main priorities, Frej Vitalle is currently focused on splitting her business into two main areas: Government and Commercial work. She's looking at opportunities to partner with other companies with new or existing contracts with NASA, the FAA and other transportation organizations to support them with their technical expertise. She's also focused on the commercial side of her business and developing technologies to allow companies like Uber or other drone manufacturers to safely deploy air taxis.

For Frej Vitalle, whose future goals include, building a suite of air traffic management products that help propel the next generation of aviation systems and getting certified as an 8(a) Business, a business assistance program for small disadvantaged businesses, working in the aviation industry is an honor.

"I am extremely proud of being part of the most complex, intricate, yet safest transportation system in the world," she said. "I have a huge passion for aviation and love staying on the cusp of today and tomorrow’s emergent technical challenges."

What advice does Frej Vitalle have for aspiring entrepreneurs? "Find something that you are passionate about and makes you wake up every day excited to do what you do. Pour your heart into it and love what you do," she said. "It's also important to know that entrepreneurship and owning your own business is like a roller coaster. Some days it's amazing, but others you feel like there will never be enough time in the day. Sleeping is a bit harder now, but it's all worth it when you’re living your dream and it's something you're passionate about."

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