CHICAGO, IL, U.S.A., October 27, 2023 – The 7th Annual Women in Emerging Aviation Technologies Awards took place in Washington D.C. Wednesday, October 25th at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. The ceremony was hosted by 2022 Hall of Fame inductees Marilyn Pearson and Miriam McNabb, who also co-chaired the event.
More than 100 representatives from the Uncrewed Aviation Systems (UAS) and Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) industries gathered to celebrate the outstanding people and companies helping shape the future of aviation. The following individuals and organizations were presented with awards:
Innovation Award – Aura Network Systems of the U.S.A. – AURA will deliver an FAA-compliant nationwide network utilizing licensed aviation spectrum to accelerate advanced levels of autonomy in the controlled national airspace.
Drones for Good Award – GLOBHE – The platform is a leading curated marketplace connecting 8000+ carefully vetted local drone operators with organizations in need of accurate and actionable drone data from anywhere in the world.
Community Impact Award – Dr. La’Quata Sumter of the U.S.A. – Educator with more than 15 years of experience teaching technology. CEO and Founder of Focusing On Me, Inc., a 501(c)(3), supporting organizations in their goals for STEAM excellence for young people, teaching topics such as drone operation, safety, regulations, and aerial technology advancements.
Girl Dad of the Year – Clint Harper of the U.S.A. – The Advanced Air Mobility Community Integration Advocate is the father of four daughters. He believes in empowering his daughters to follow their unique passions including aviation, as well as be advocates for equal opportunities and universal respect.
Advocacy Excellence Award – Kenji Sugahara and Vic Moss of the U.S.A. – Advocacy efforts through their organization Drone Service Providers Alliance (DSPA) have been instrumental in raising awareness about the positive impact made by drone service providers, addressing regulatory challenges, and fostering public trust and acceptance of drones.
Humanitarian Award – Queen Ndlovu of South Africa – CEO and Founder of QP Drone Tech, MD of South Africa Flying Labs. She is a key figure in introducing STEM/Aviation to young people and raising awareness about the positive impact of drones. Her efforts have helped foster public trust and acceptance of drones among stakeholders and communities.
Impact Award – UNICEF – Malawi – African Drone and Data Academy – ADDA has trained over 1,154 youth from over 40 African countries how to construct and pilot drones, and to integrate them into a supply chain system. These efforts will dually equip young people in Malawi and the African region with necessary 21st-century skills while strengthening the drone and data ecosystem for more effective humanitarian and development response.
The Advanced Air Mobility Institute also presented awards. The Fresh Face Award went to Leica Morales Valenzuela of Zipline International, where she serves as Director of Global Aviation Regulatory Affairs. She is one of the leaders responsible for obtaining initial aviation regulatory approvals and authorizations for Zipline. The Unsung Hero Award went to Douglas Spotted Eagle of Sundance Media Group and VP of sales/marketing at KukerRanken. He is an accomplished aerial photographer, appointed as a safety and training advisor as well as risk management/mitigation subject matter expert.
The awards ceremony also recognized the women named to the Emerging Aviation Technologies Hall of Fame, earlier this year. The Inductees are Loretta Alkalay, Barbara Bollard, Jackie Dujmovic, Desiree Ekstein, Laurie Grindle, Sonet Kock, Mercy Makau, Jenn Player, Dr. Debbie Saunders, Annalisa Russell-Smith, and Abigail Smith.
Women and Drones Founder and CEO Sharon Rossmark expressed gratitude for everyone who helped make this 7th Annual Global Awards event possible, including presenting sponsor Sabrewing Aircraft Company. “We believe this yearly opportunity to recognize and celebrate the women driving change and leading the way will help us take significant steps forward in positioning the future of aviation as inclusive and dynamic.”
About the Women in Emerging Aviation Technologies Awards
Since 2017 Women and Drones has recognized the trailblazers, innovators, mentors, and business leaders who are making significant contributions to the UAS/AAM industry. Each year the company runs a global search for the women and organizations who are inspiring innovations and solutions, positively shaping the public perceptions of UAS/AAM technology, empowering more women to enter the industry as well as advocating for more inclusive practices in STEM and aviation. The individual awards are designed to acknowledge and inspire women who are driving change and leading the emerging aviation industry closer to gender parity. The company awards acknowledge organizations that in their pursuit of excellence, have a culture of inclusiveness where women are engaged in key roles leadership positions of the organization.