MEET JESSICA BROWN, FAA REMOTE PILOT AT COMPLETE ROOFING
When I first heard our company was going to start using drones to inspect roofs, I knew I wanted to do that. I approached Chad Conley, one of the owners of Complete Roofing, to let him know I was interested in becoming a drone pilot. Being a drone pilot can take you into all kinds of interesting areas and you are out there alone. So, I think there was some hesitation about safety. I’m not much bigger than a 6th grade kid.
However, I came back again and said, “Look, I can handle myself. I am still interested. I really want to do this.”
After some thought, Chad came back to me and said, “Are you still interested?” I said, “Yes, definitely!”. And I began training to become a drone pilot. I studied and passed my aeronautical knowledge exam and received my FAA Remote Pilot certificate. Then I was qualified to begin my new career.
I absolutely love what I do! Flying drones is my passion!I love being out in the field every day. I’ve never felt afraid or unsafe. I’ve never encountered a problem.
I love being a female in what is perceived as a male industry. Lots of times when I get out of the truck, a homeowner will be there and will say, “Well, I wasn’t expecting a girl!” They usually follow up with, “That’s great! How refreshing to see a female in this role.” I think maybe they are thinking, “Well, why not?” It’s not really a muscle job, but it is a field that is made up of mostly men.
People often come out of their homes to engage me in conversation about the drones. I love when people come out to watch and ask questions. I enjoy the interaction with people.
My favorite experiences are when the kids come out and then mom comes out to get pictures. They like to get pictures with me and with the drone. The kids get really excited about the drone. Many of them say things like, “That’s a real job? You get paid to fly drones?” I say, “Yes, it is. And I do.” They often declare their career intentions: “That’s what I’m going to do when I grow up!” It’s fun and exciting to listen to them and see their enthusiasm for my “cool” job.
I had this happen again just the other day. I was flying the manual drone and there was a kid riding his scooter back and forth, back and forth, watching everything. Finally, he got up the nerve to stop and he asked, “Is that your drone?”
“Yes, it is.”
Then he asked, “Were you flying it?”
“Yes, I was.”
He said, “That’s cool! Is it fun?”
I told him, “It is a lot of fun.”
He must have been around 11 or 12 years old. And he made his decision, “That’s what I’m going to be when I grow up. I’m going to fly a drone!”
Kids aren’t the only ones I want to inspire. I would say to other women out there that drone piloting is a great field with lots of growth opportunities. Drone use is expanding in commercial markets - there are so many ways to take advantage of drone tech that are just being realized. If you have a technical side and don’t want to be in an office all day, this might be a career you would thrive in. I’d love to see more women get out there and become drone pilots.
“Jessica started in an administrative role here at Complete Roofing. It has been cool to watch her take the bull by the horns and tackle drone piloting. She has proven her capabilities and continues to excel as a skilled pilot. Jessica has thousands of drone flights under her belt. I trust her implicitly. The fact that she was willing to push a little to take on this role increases my admiration for her.” -- Chad Conley