Avionics News May 2017 - 54
pany's Connected Panel, which synched certified cockpit data
with iPads and other portable flight planning aids.
"Now Connected Panel technology is ubiquitous, but Aspen
was the first," he said.
When it was time for college, Brad enrolled in the
Brad felt strongly about Connected Panel because it remindUniversity of Wyoming, but graduated from the University of
ed him of his high-tech experience - disruptive technology for
Utah when the oil glut hit Casper, the shop closed, and a new
GA at a time when the use of iPads was being integrated into
shop was opened in Salt Lake City. As for a career in aviation,
the cockpit. While at Aspen, an idea for a business formed.
Brad chose something different.
"I had always flown remote-control aircraft and was seeing
"My father, uncle and brother were naturals when it came
what was happening with power efficiency and overall capato troubleshooting avionics," he explained. "It was something
bilities of multirotor platforms," he explained. "I knew right
I did and enjoyed, but it didn't come to me naturally. They
away this was going to be an
could look at an airplane and
exciting growth market for
know what was wrong, but I
did not have that innate abilBrad and his wife, Thea, enjoy
Brad said it was a tough
skiing and RVing. The couple
decision to leave Aspen, but
Brad then decided to purcelebrated 20 years of marriage
added, "I couldn't miss out
sue something he could do
earlier this year.
on the drone wave." As he
well - marketing.
made the decision to leave,
After a stint as a techniBrad conferred extensively
cal writer, his first job in the
with his friend and mentor,
high-tech industry was for
Aspen CEO John Uczekaj,
Megahertz, a company that
who was supportive of his
made PCMCIA modems for
decision, and the two still talk
laptops. At Megahertz, he
set up the creative marketing
That choice led to the
department that produced all
launch of Robotic Skies,
the packaging, brochures,
an international network of
data sheets and the comgovernment-authorized repair
pany's first website. That
stations that provide sales,
was 1994 when corporate
maintenance, field support
websites weren't common, so
and other services for comhe taught himself HTML and
mercial UAS manufacturers.
built the site by hand.
"Robotic Skies is an interA series of corporate
esting blend of traditional
acquisitions ensued, and
avionics channel paradigms
Brad ended up in the San
combined with the new techFrancisco Bay area working in high tech for companies like
nology that's coming into aerospace that will change the way
U.S. Robotics and 3Com. One of his offices overlooked the
we view aviation," Brad said. "Drones have democratized aviapproach path to San Francisco Airport. He watched airplanes
ation for the masses and now everyone can be a pilot. Using
take off and land, which spurred him to return to the aviation
photography and sensors, UAS perform interesting missions
industry. That opportunity came in 2007 when he moved to
that otherwise are expensive or dangerous for piloted aircraft."
Albuquerque as director of the then-new Aspen Avionics.
With Robotic Skies, Brad believes he has captured a unique
"I was brought in to brand the company and set up a classic
segment of an emerging market, working with the existing
marketing program," Brad said. "At the time, glass cockpits
infrastructure of Part 145 maintenance facilities with a netwere prohibitively expensive, and Aspen's affordable product
work optimized to support unmanned systems.
revived the retrofit avionics industry and gave the repair sta"One of the things I saw early on is the volume of equiption channel something to sell in the GA space. It was excitment we don't see in manned aircraft," he said. "The FAA has
670,000 registered drones in its database, and the numbers are
He was promoted to vice president of marketing for Aspen
projected to go into the millions."
Avionics in 2010. While at Aspen, Brad launched the com-
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