JS: How did you become involved with model aviation?
TC: I’ve known I wanted to be involved in aviation since I was three years old. I remember going to the local airport. The most realistic way to get involved in aviation is with model aviation because as a kid you can actually fly the airplanes as a break into real aviation.
When I was about five years old, I wanted a model airplane but my parents said no. They bought me a RealFlight simulator and they told me when I got good on the simulator they would buy me a gas airplane. I spent two years becoming as proficient as I could, and they bought a gas trainer for me. I went to the local club, joined, and have been flying since.
JS: How has model aviation impacted your life and/or career?
TC: It’s really gotten me started in everything that I am doing now. It was the beginning to absolutely everything I have done with aviation. It drove me to want to go to school, to go to college, and to be a pilot, all of which I did.
Working for a commercial UAS company, I’m able to bring together my three favorite things: business, aviation, and model aviation. I’m really able to have an impact on various things around the world and have an impact on what people are doing in a positive way, which is great.
JS: What disciplines of modeling do you currently participate in?
TC: I am still active in the model aviation community, but not as much as I was because of my career. I now primarily focus on electric stuff. I have my own quadcopters that I built. I love the technology. I have very small aircraft, so when I travel I can take my small Blade with me and I can still fly and enjoy the hobby while I am on the road. It’s great that technology now allows me to do that.
JS: What are your other hobbies?
TC: My other hobbies include everything to do with electronics. I taught myself how to program because I enjoy the challenge. I taught myself about electronics so that if I have an idea, I can make something for myself.
I find that interesting and intriguing. I can get my hands into something and that started with model aviation. Building an airplane completely from scratch really takes time and effort. It teaches you various disciplines, and I’m able to expand on those disciplines in other hobbies.
JS: Who (or what) has influenced you most?
TC: What has really influenced me the most is seeing the hard work of my family. My father and my mother knew what they wanted and they were not afraid to work to get it. They did whatever it took to achieve their dreams.
I want to be able to do the same through the hard work I have done and through following my passion. Everyone tells you to follow what you love and I have made a point to do so. I now make a career out of the things I enjoy in my personal life. I really couldn’t ask for anything better at this point. I enjoy everything I do every hour of the day.
How did you get involved in PrecisionHawk and what are your responsabilities?
TC: I went to Indiana State University in Indiana to be a pilot. I got all of my pilot certificates and the school had a new minor in unmanned aerial systems. With my love of the hobby, I signed up for the minor, which introduced me to the commercial aspect of UAVs and how they can be used in real-world applications outside of the hobby, which fascinated me.
In my junior year of college, one of my professors had a personal contact at a small company called PrecisionHawk. At that time it had five employees. I was chosen for an internship and I worked that summer doing flight service for seed companies and flew for them to collect data for their research.
I went back to school for a year and graduated. PrecisionHawk offered me a job in sales and I worked my way up to the director of business development. We are now a company of 80 employees. What I do now is work with our large-enterprise clients, developing solutions that they can roll out to their clients and helping them solve problems.