GHA’s Drone Strategic Planning Committee: A Visionary Success


A graphic showing different uses of drones at GHA.

In 2018, Gewalt Hamilton Associates, Inc. (GHA) recognized the potential of drone technology and soon established the Drone Strategic Planning Committee. Their mission: seamlessly integrate this technology into the firm’s operations. Today, GHA stands at the forefront of drone-integrated operations, thanks to the committee’s insight.

Establishment and Vision of the Committee

As Tom Rychlik, P.E., LEED-AP, committee catalyst, recalled, “Putting minds together was exciting. We had a clear vision: drones weren’t just future tech; they were now tech.” In 2018, GHA took its first steps into the world of drone technology by investing in an introductory model. This allowed for a demonstration that showcased the transformative potential of drone technology for GHA, which highlighted the vast opportunities they could bring to our core operations.

This dedicated group, diverse in its composition of members across different divisions, ages, and experiences, took on the ambitious task of navigating the rapidly evolving world of technology. During its tenure, the committee tested and evaluated numerous concepts, weighing the pros and cons of each, and marking out the path for the company’s future initiatives.

Guided by the committee, the firm invested in a state-of-the-art survey grade drone. “We were always looking at new tech, and when we saw the potential drones held, everything moved quickly,” shared Andy Szendala, Senior Survey Technician, who served on the committee. After six months of intensive research and strategic planning, GHA’s first survey drone took to the skies. Since its inaugural flight, it has been a regular asset, utilized weekly in various projects. The addition of the survey grade drone has significantly enhanced our crew’s capacity. This allows us to deliver existing conditions data more efficiently and effectively.

Committee Legacy at GHA

But the committee didn’t stop there. The committee, recognizing future needs, evaluated and acquired multiple drones, each with distinct capabilities. “Our committee eagerly embraced technology that helped our colleagues foster the success of each project,” Rychlik emphasized.  Guided by the committee, GHA adeptly navigated the evolving landscape of the industry.

As Szendala aptly puts it, “We’re excited about the future.” Though the Drone Strategic Planning Committee has completed its objectives and is no longer active, its legacy is evident in the skies and in the groundbreaking work GHA continues to do. The committee’s journey serves as a testament to the importance of forward-thinking, passion, and dedication to continuous improvement.