22 Young Geospatial Professionals to Watch in 2022 – 19 of 22

This entry is part 19 of 22 in the series Young Professionals

Throughout January xyHt.com will feature the young geospatial professionals who are making a name for themselves in everything from surveying to geographic information systems. xyHt featured all of them in the January issue. Here we will spotlight one each day.

Name: Drishti Valecha

Company: Woolpert

Current Position: Aviation Research Analyst

Age: 28

Education: MS in Aeronautics, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with Distinction; National Aerospace University Kharkiv Aviation Institute (Ukraine), Aeronautical/Aerospace Engineering Technology/Technician

Biography: Drishti is a research analyst at Woolpert focusing on unmanned aircraft systems, advanced air mobility, and emerging technology research for federal and state clients. Her most recent projects include UAS pavement management, airport response to UAS threats, large UAS airfield design, and electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vertiport design. Drishti has also consulted with state agencies on their UAS implementation and integration programs, including developing CONOPs and risk management programs.

Most recently, Drishti co-produced a paper, “sUAS for Pavement Inspections—Interim Findings,” which was peer reviewed by the Transportation Research Board and will be presented at the 2022 TRB Annual Meeting in January. The paper recognizes the challenges and limitations of traditional methods for pavement condition inspections and identifies two critical needs: first, to develop a standard set of repeatable processes and procedures for data collection, analysis, and reporting; second, to disseminate technical specifications of small UAS and sensors acceptable for conducting pavement management program inspections.

Her previous work experience includes prominent industry constituents such as Southwest Airlines and Pittsburgh International Airport. She has also contributed to several articles, which have been published or showcased in venues such as the Safety Science journal and the National Training Aircraft Symposium.

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