We are excited to welcome Bobby Vick to the PrecisionHawk business development unit today! We caught up with Bobby to hear what it's like entering the drone arena. What could Legos and drones have in common? You'll learn in our interview below!
Tell us a little about your background?
Growing up, I was always good at math and had a knack for designing things, starting with Legos! I also came from an agricultural family in Eastern NC and participated in 4H livestock projects. While in college at North Carolina State University, this combination led me to Biological and Agricultural Engineering, which allowed me to combine my natural gifts with my passion and agricultural background. I continued my studies at N.C. State, receiving a masters in 2012 and a Ph.D in 2016.
How did your academic studies lead you to the drone industry?
My experience as a graduate student at NCSU afforded me the opportunity to meet and interact with many key stakeholders in the ag space, from top industry and academic leaders to growers and farm managers at the ground level. I saw the potential of innovative tools and technology (such as precision ag, UAVs, aerial data), and the eagerness of growers to improve their production practices, yet a gap between the two. My goal at PrecisionHawk is to help narrow this gap.
What will you be doing at PrecisionHawk?
I am part of the business development team, and I view my role as a connector between the development team and end users. Most of my work will revolve around identifying clients that can benefit from the tools and services that we currently offer and to work with them on integrating these products into their practices. In doing so, I work to maintain PrecisionHawk’s place as an industry leader and finding new ways to integrate our products and services into real end-users’ everyday practices and applications.
Can you tell us what made PrecisionHawk stand out to you?
PrecisionHawk is changing people’s perception of drones, from viewing them as a toy or means to make a pretty sweet YouTube video to a practical and valuable tool than can be integrated into and benefit their day-to-day operations. The platforms that we collect the data from are cool, but at the end of the day, what matters is the information we glean from the data and how much benefit it offers to the end users.
What are some unique tools you think PrecisionHawk provides to the agriculture industry?
Through software such as DataMapper, PrecisionHawk has transitioned the focus from data collection to automated image processing and analysis, with rapid return of information that easily can be applied by the end user. Our existing suite of algorithms in the Algorithm Marketplace already gives growers quick access to familiar information such as NDVI and Canopy Coverage. And the realm of possibilities is endless. Our team is constantly refining our existing tools while developing new algorithms to meet the crop management demands facing today’s growers.
How do you think older generations of farmers would think about using drones on a farm?
I sort of chuckle when I imagine what the farmers of 50 years ago would have said at the thought of drones flying over farms as a routine practice someday. First, they wouldn’t have known what the heck a drone was, but second, I’m not sure their reaction would have been too different from how they would have reacted to the suggestion of diesel powered tractors that could plant 30+ rows in one pass, combines that communicate with satellites while recording real-time yields in a field, or smart phones that give a grower access to years of crop information all in the palm of his hand; yet each of these are not only realities, they’re common place in farming today.
What makes you get out of bed and come to work each morning?
The opportunity to work for a company that is a global leader in an exciting and cutting edge space with a real chance to directly impact the lives and practices of end users around the world.
Want to meet other members of our talented team? A Bird’s Eye View is a series produced by PrecisionHawk to offer a unique glimpse into the company’s product and technical team. See previous episodes here.