Headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, Stantec is a top three multinational professional services firm specializing in design, architecture, and engineering. Early on, Stantec saw potential for
drones in their work, especially as a tool for surveying and modeling. Drones enable Stantec to perform aerial imaging with a variety of sensors and gather data more frequently, efficiently, and
at a lower cost.
Working within Canada’s relatively advanced regulatory structure, Stantec was able to establish an in-house unmanned aerial services
(UAS) program before commercial drones became widespread.
They saw the opportunity to be early adopters, treating drones
as just another tool in their arsenal for small-to-medium scale jobs.
Today, Stantec uses drones for projects ranging from survey
mapping to 3D modeling, and from inspections to detecting sites of
potential anthropological or paleontological significance.
Kevin Grover, Unmanned Aerial Service Operations Manager,
led the effort to incorporate drones into Stantec’s workflows.
But in a large firm with 23,000 employees spread over 400-plus
offices across North America and overseas, implementing an
ambitious and innovative program demanded a great deal of
coordination across several departments, particularly legal and risk
Kevin needed to show that drones were a valuable opportunity Stantec
couldn’t afford to pass up and that the program could be scaled up
without exposing the company to an unacceptable level of risk.
Adding to Kevin’s challenge was the fact that drone technology
was then in its infancy, so he first needed to educate employees
across the company about the potential applications of drones to
their work. “[Scaling drones] is something that’s a real struggle at
our company, being so big and with so many different offices,”
He wrote articles for the company blog and magazine to start
a company-wide conversation about how drones could and
should be used. He also spent a lot of time in the trenches,
speaking face-to-face with coworkers regarding the technology,
spreading general awareness and talking about the risks involved.
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