Black History Month is upon us, so we are pausing to take a look at People of Color and African Americans who are dynamic pioneers driving success and creating opportunities for others, as leaders in the drone Industry!
Only 20 years old, David Opateyibo has made headlines across Africa and around the world for building his own drones. Nigerian-born and raised he is now building his business there, drawing on a deep passion and thirst for technology and aviation. He started building drones from scratch back in 2017 (at 15!). He traveled to the US to earn his license and become a Certified sUAS Pilot. He is an active member of the NUSA (Nigerian Unmanned Systems & Robotics Association).
Currently, David has started his own business (learn more at dronerios.com), serving a number of corporations, offering them top-notch products and drone-related services, including acquisitions, Pilot training, Drone maintenance, Drone design and more.
“I was that child in the family that got in trouble for dismantling TVs, radios and any other electronics I could find around,” says David. “I just wanted to know how things worked and started tinkering at a young age.”
That has certainly paid off for this young, ambitious, successful entrepreneur in the drone industry.
Jae S. Brown
Jae Brown is the CEO of the Atlanta based Vekter Management, LLC, an unmanned aerial technology firm working in the areas of training, career placement and entertainment. Fly Vekter was founded in 2017 with the idea “to open UAV education (both hands on and academic) and career paths to the masses.” Jae calls himself an “Innovation Gap” Warrior,
Mr. Brown’s drone industry experience includes serving as the President of the Drone Racing division at a startup drone company. As a member of the firm’s executive team, he helped to raise millions of dollars in investment capital while leading the growth of several divisions within the organization.
In his search to bridge the “technology innovation gap” in minority communities, this multiple award-winning motivational speaker is setting up drone camps and providing UAV career paths and education to help “the masses” gets a taste of the drone life and carve their own way in the UAV industry. Learn more about Jae here.
Black Women Drone
Sisters Mavis and Monica Gragg are the phenomenal women behind the successful Black Women Drone project, encouraging women and girls to become drone pilots and close the gender gap (only 7.2% of FAA certified drone pilots in the US are women). Focused on making a change, the sisters want to push Black women to take the lead, inspiring them to achieve something more from their life and opening their eyes to a world of possibilities when it comes to learning new technology.
“Our goal is to increase the number of certified pilots in the drone space and to ensure that we can fly high without having to question who we are or how we look… our ongoing challenges are awareness and helping Black women feel like they belong in this industry.”
Learn more here about Black Women Drone and the Gragg Family Fund, also started by the sisters, in memory of their parents.
RBS Drone Technologies, Inc.
If we may, RBS Drone Technologies, Inc., is proud to include ourselves in this esteemed group. RBS Drone Technologies is a 100% African American Owned Business. Our founders and instructors are pilots, US Military Veterans, former Law-Enforcement officers and legacy members and leaders of the DODO Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen.
These are just some of the many (although still too few!) African American pioneers leading the drone industry. We highlight their work and successes during Black History Month, but know their accomplishments and leadership are limitless, and continue to grow and bring positive influence to the world year-round.