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R.A. Smith National Given Green Light from FAA on Commercial Use of Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS)

by Karen Wiesneski 1. October 2015 08:09

R.A. Smith National — a nationwide, multi-disciplined civil and structural engineering and surveying firm — headquartered in Brookfield, Wis., has been granted a Section 333 Exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This exemption, granted on a case-by-case basis allows R.A. Smith National to use a UAS (unmanned aircraft system) to operate commercially within the parameters and guidelines established by the FAA through an associated blanket COA (certificate of authorization).

R.A. Smith National is one of only a few firms in Wisconsin and limited number nationwide that have been granted the Section 333 Exemption. Among its peers, the company is an early user of this technology and subsequent use for research and development purposes.

Moving forward, R.A. Smith National is talking to clients in both the public and private sectors to identify opportunities to use the UAS on projects that are best suited to this technology. Advantages of using a UAS include enhanced data collection on a wide range of projects; ability to better map areas that may otherwise be difficult or unsafe to traverse; expeditious data delivery; and in certain instances, a more cost-effective means of collecting data versus traditional methods.

Patrick Shirey Joins R.A. Smith National as Ecologist/Project Manager

by Karen Wiesneski 1. October 2015 04:10

Patrick D. Shirey has joined the Oakmont (Pittsburgh) office of R.A. Smith National as an ecologist and project manager. The addition of Shirey expands the ecological services provided by R.A. Smith National in the areas of stream assessment and ecosystem habitat restoration, aquatic organism passage, wetland assessments and delineations, permitting, and threatened and endangered species assessments. With the addition of Shirey, R.A. Smith National has a staff of four ecologists.

Ecological services are provided from R.A. Smith National’s offices in Oakmont, Pennsylvania as well as offices in Brookfield, Madison and Appleton, Wisconsin. R.A. Smith National is a multi-disciplined civil and structural engineering and surveying firm that completes projects nationwide for federal, state and local government as well as the private land development industry.

Shirey’s academic background and work experience in stream ecology, restoration ecology, environmental history and natural resources law broadens and strengthens the experience of R.A. Smith National’s existing team of ecologists and water resources engineers. His work experience, among others, includes project management services for natural resource inventory, research, assessment and mapping projects along the Rio Grande (New Mexico), Ontonagon River (Michigan), Namekagon River (Wisconsin) and St. Joseph River (Indiana). Shirey was instrumental in securing $300,000 in funding for brook trout habitat restoration and monitoring in the Namekagon River through the National Park Service.

On the federal level Shirey has worked closely with the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. He has worked with several Pennsylvania state agencies including the Bureau of State Parks (DCNR), the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Bureau of Forestry (DCNR).

Shirey recently served the American Fisheries Society as their first policy fellow, updating their policy statements on threatened and endangered species. He has won national awards including a graduate student policy award from the Ecological Society of America and a George Mendez Wright Climate Change Fellowship from the National Park Service to study native brook trout and their habitat on the wild and scenic Namekagon River in Wisconsin. He was a selected participant in an interdisciplinary, post-doctoral symposium series – Ecological Dissertations in the Aquatic Sciences – hosted by the University of Hawaii and supported by the National Science Foundation.

Patrick has served as an instructor for limnology, wildlife and fisheries field techniques, general ecology lab and biostatistics at New Mexico State University and Notre Dame. He taught as an adjunct professor for a marine biology class at Notre Dame. His work has been covered by national and local media including National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, WOJB in Reserve, Wisconsin and “Landscape Architecture Magazine.” Shirey’s articles have been published in a number of scholarly journals, the most recent in Integrative Zoology. He has co-authored eight peer-reviewed manuscripts and had an invited comment published in the journal Nature.

Shirey holds a doctorate in biological sciences from the University of Notre Dame, a juris doctor in law with a certificate in environmental and natural resources law from The Dickinson School of Law at The Pennsylvania State University, a master’s degree in wildlife science from New Mexico State University, and a bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fisheries science from The Pennsylvania State University.

Shirey currently resides in Sarver, Pennsylvania.

 

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Karen Wiesneski
(262) 317-3292
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