Recognized for Removing Barriers to Drone Adoption in Government, Industry, and Public Safety

San Jose, California, October 4, 2017 – The Commercial Drone Alliance, an independent 501c6 non-profit led by key figures of the commercial drone industry, today announced the winners of its inaugural “Industry Heroes” awards. These recognize people within the commercial drone industry who have made significant contributions toward the broader adoption of drones for commercial applications, educating the public, and for encouraging growth and reducing the gender gap. Beginning this year, these awards will be announced before both days’ keynote presentations at Drone World Expo.  

The Industry Heroes being honored here are recognized for their innovation in showcasing unique use cases, encouraging women and younger generations to join this community, and helping promote drone use for disaster management and saving lives. The winners are:  


●  End User Innovator of The Year: Mark Bathrick, Department of The Interior

●  Woman Innovator of The Year: Dyan Gibbens, Trumbull Unmanned

●  Drones for Good Innovator of the Year – Justin Adams, Kovar and Associates // CRASAR


“Drones are one of the sectors in the technology industry that really challenge the imagination’s limits for what’s possible with these amazing machines,” said Gretchen West, Drone World Expo Advisory Board Chair; Senior Advisor, Hogan Lovells; Co-Executive Director, Commercial Drone Alliance. “The winners of our first Industry Heroes award are all innovators in their respective industries, and for how they’ve applied drones to radically streamline government services; help support women’s initiatives; and even save lives.”


About the Winners


● End User Innovator of the Year: Mark Bathrick, Director, Offices of Aviation Services (OAS), Department of The Interior

Mark L. Bathrick directs a nationwide aviation services business for the U.S Department of the Interior (DOI), which manages over 500 million acres of public land across the United States and its territories (about one in every five acres). Mark has more than 25 years’ experience in UAS and under his leadership DOI has become a recognized leader in the domestic use and integration of UAS, having employed drones across more than 25 distinct mission applications and 12,000 flights.

“By its very nature, the drone industry is all about innovation and disruptive transformation. To have been selected by the Commercial Drone Alliance as End User Innovator of the Year from among the many ground-breaking end users in this community is truly humbling. I am honored to accept this award on behalf of the hundreds of Department of the Interior early adopters who have pioneered the use of drones in over 25 unique applications and 12,000 flights and our partners in the FAA, without whose support we would not be where we are today.”


● Woman Innovator of the Year – Dyan Gibbens, Trumbull Unmanned

Dyan Gibbens is an Air Force Academy Graduate who possesses a decade of technical experience leading acquisitions and aerospace program management within the Department of Defense. She is also a pilot and former member of the Air Force Parachute Team. Her skill set in unmanned systems, engineering management, and aviation logistics brings success in strategy development and execution. For several years her research and work has focused on UAS Integration. Her initiatives this year have been focused on women in drones, STEM, drone integration and veterans.

Dyan’s passion for women and STEM has been showcased at the highest levels of government through participation in several White House roundtables focused on STEM, women and entrepreneurship.  Dyan is a co-founder of the Women of Commercial Drones organization, worked with industry partners to develop content for a global STEM initiative, hosted “drone camp” at Rice University for 3 years running, and regularly speaks to students and children of military families about the importance of drones and technology.

“As the CEO and founder of a woman-owned, veteran-owned, minority-owned UAS business, my passion has always been to pay forward the successes I’ve had and share my experiences with younger generations of women to encourage them to work hard and follow their dreams. The commercial drone industry has tremendous opportunities in business development, policy development, engineering and management, and my goal is to help women shape their journeys to be a driving force for change in this industry. I’m honored to have been selected by the Commercial Drone Alliance as an advocate for women in this industry and I look forward to continuing our collective work.”


● Drones for Good Innovator of the Year – Justin Adams, Kovar and Associates // CRASAR

In addition to his work at Kovar and Associates, Justin is Director of Operations – UAS—Center for Robot Assisted Search and Rescue (CRASAR), a Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station Center whose mission is to improve disaster preparedness, prevention, response, and recovery through the development and adoption of robots and related technologies.

Justin, a civilian and drone pilot, recently served as CRASAR UAS director of UAS operations for Hurricane Harvey disaster response and as deputy UAS operations manager for Hurricane Irma disaster response.  He managed the air operations for 119 flights during Harvey and 247 flights during Irma, navigating the various challenges from policy restrictions, lack of communications networks, and population densities. Among the various missions, Justin provided emergency response for damage assessment, mapping, inspection, route planning, and search and rescue overwatch.


● Drones for Good Innovator of the Year – Justin Adams, a manned and unmanned pilot, recently served as Texas A&M CRASAR UAS Director of UAS operations and Air Operations Branch Director for Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management during Hurricane Harvey, managing manned and unmanned aircraft. The Fort Bend County efforts saw 119 UAV flights starting before the flooding from a diversity of platforms, altitudes, airspaces, TFR’s and ECOA’s, including the Insitu ScanEagle, DJI M600 and Mavic, and PrecisionHawk Lancaster, and a diversity of missions, including situation awareness, damage assessment, mapping, inspection, route planning, and search and rescue over watch. He also assisted the Florida State University Center for Disaster Risk Policy’s deployment as their deputy operations chief during Hurricane Irma, helping to coordinate 247 flights. Prior to this, he has flown in over five Federal declared disasters and numerous incidents including tornados, floods, hurricanes and search and rescue.  

“Drones are already fulfilling a unique role in emergency response, and my passion is to continue to improve these incredible technologies, identify new missions, and get them in the hands of responders all over the world. Most recently, in Florida and Texas, we’ve successfully used drones to aid in those disasters and showcase how truly beneficial drone technology can be. I am honored to have been selected by the Commercial Drone Alliance for the Drones for Good Innovator of the Year award and look forward to working with the commercial drone industry on more ways we can use drones for good and to provide aid and support to those in need.”

“The entire commercial drone community should be commended for the progress this industry has made over the past year,” said Lisa Ellman, Co-executive Director, Commercial Drone Alliance and Hogan Lovells Partner and Chair of the firm’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Practice. “Despite significant challenges, we’ve managed to grow and pioneer new use cases that build momentum for an exciting future. The people recognized today have raised the bar and are examples all of us can be proud of and point to as proof of our efforts.”  

Formed in May 2016, the Commercial Drone Alliance supports enterprise end-users adopting drone technology and seeks to enable commercial drone market growth. The group’s mission is public and policymaker education to accelerate the realization of commercial drone benefits in a way that ensures the safety, security, and privacy of the public.   

The Commercial Drone Alliance is co-led by industry veterans, Gretchen West and Lisa Ellman, both of Hogan Lovells LLP, a global law firm. Both Gretchen and Lisa are also co-founders of the Women of Commercial Drones organization, a nationwide effort to encourage women to become involved in this market and to mentor women to become leaders in technology.




About the Commercial Drone Alliance

Founded in 2016, the Commercial Drone Alliance is an independent 501c6 non-profit led by the commercial drone industry co-located in Silicon Valley, CA and Washington, DC. The overarching vision of the Alliance is to support commercial enterprise end users and assist them with adopting drone technology into their businesses, reducing barriers to entry, addressing public perception issues, and merging policy with innovation to create relevant rules for operation.