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Evans Incorporated, Noblis, and Dynamis to hold Upcoming UAS Panel Discussion

Did you know that latest estimates forecast the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) industry to be worth $82 Billion over the next 5 years?  However, organizations are struggling to capitalize on this limitless potential, especially if they don’t understand the regulatory boundaries. So what exactly is UAS, and what does it mean for your organization?

If you’re a commercial and public sector manager or executive focused on the use of drones and their potential but unsure of where to start, then look no further! Join three firms specializing in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Solutions, Evans Incorporated, Dynamis, and Noblis, for their upcoming UAS Panel event, Propelling Business and Government to New Heights — Institutionalizing the Full Potential of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) on Thursday, May 25th from 7:30am – 10:00am, at the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce (NOVA Chamber). This panel discussion will help you answer the following questions:

  • What do I need to know to plan how best establish, operate, or scale my drone operations or programs?
  • How can organizations best work with the government to obtain unique authorization or waivers for unmanned operations?
  • What are some of the more creative uses of this technology that have helped these organizations that might benefit others?
  • For companies thinking about starting a new drone program, or early adopters, what observations or advice would you have based on what you have seen and experienced?
  • What do you think will be most critical to monitor over the next 12-18 months for organizations that try to align their own drone operations and investment strategies with the evolving marketplace?

This unique event will provide participants with the opportunity to talk and network face-to-face with a cross-section of industry representatives about ongoing regulatory, security, operational, and technological changes driving the integration of drones into the National Airspace System (NAS), your businesses, and our economy.

Registration is limited — click here for more information and register by May 18th to secure your spot!

Evans @ 2017 FAA UAS Symposium

Evans Incorporated attended the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Symposium (https://www.faa.gov/uas/2017_symposium/ ) outside of Washington D.C. on March 27th through 29th, 2017.  The Symposium gave stakeholders the opportunity to talk face-to-face with a cross-section of government and industry representatives about regulations, research, and other initiatives to integrate UAS into the National Airspace System (NAS).  The focus was on initiatives to overcome technical challenges to safe UAS operations, as well as industry partnerships advancing integration.

The FAA spent some time recapping the progress made to-date, saying that “the easy work is behind us.”  There have been over 200,000 downloads of their B4UFly app, over 770,000 UAS registrations, and over 35,000 remote pilot certifications. As far as the term “UAS Integration,” the FAA says it just as much of an “inclusion” as it is an “integration.” Then they discussed what’s next for the FAA, which included discussion about the aviation community, UAS at airports, automation, collaboration with industry, and rulemaking.  Most notably, there was discussion about the historical role of FAA with airspace regulation and how this new technology is testing what used to be practical limitations.  The FAA is managing its resources strategically to mitigate risks to the NAS and flying public.

We were happy to hear discussion about the role of Safety Risk Management (SRM) and the overall culture of safety in the UAS industry, consistent with industry concerns conveyed during this year’s Helicopter Association International (HAI) Heli-Expo.  Establishing a safety culture is one of the aspects of the Evans UAS CAARMA suite of services, where we help organizations to integrate human-centered safety aspects into their operations and we believe this is one of the main components of successful implementation of UAS programs.

There was also discussion about future airport concepts and permanent or portable “drone ports” that could greatly impact the utility of unmanned systems, especially in the area of transportation.  While these concepts are being envisioned, FAA is taking it a step at a time with the evaluation of and rulemaking for operations over people and beyond visual line of sight – two key components that are necessary for the technology to advance.

Discussing the current authorization and waiver process, an interesting question was posed about the “options available to an operator,” which summarized the effort required to attain a waiver. The conundrum was that the proponent may need safety data to get a waiver, but needs the waiver (authorization) to attain safety data which can only be fully achieved through a real operational exercise – a circular dependency that makes it difficult to navigate the authorization and waiver process, and suggests unique partnerships with research and development firms may afford stronger industry collaboration around safety cases.

Evans was proud to be part of the conversation at the Symposium and is proud to be involved with the implementation of UAS regulations at the FAA.  We look forward to helping industry address some of the issues discussed while applying our UAS CAARMA™ services suite.

Is the Helicopter Industry thinking too small when it comes to UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems)?

While we were at the Helicopter Association International (HAI) Heli-Expo this past week, we saw many different applications of unmanned systems within the helicopter industry.  Most companies that have UAS programs are using them for inspection services, but we also saw many law enforcement and search and rescue applications.  In general, the operation of unmanned systems seems to fit well in the helicopter industry because of the pre-existence of an aviation safety culture, experience with rotorcraft, and the prevalence of pilot-related knowledge, skills, and abilities.

We met a lot of great people at HAI. It seems like the industry is excited to see where UAS will lead, but some were concerned about the cannibalization of traditional helicopter uses and the displacement of manned-system pilots.  However, we wonder if the helicopter industry is thinking too small.

Generally, we saw that the use of Unmanned Systems by helicopter companies hasn’t moved beyond the use of small-scale UAS (e.g. quad copters), presumably because the FAA’s Part 107 regulation caters to small UAS.  However, with the existing Section 333 and new regulations on the horizon, it seems that they are missing a strategic opportunity to think through the large-scale use of UAS in their industry – and begin to position themselves to take advantage of this budding market.  How they position themselves may mean the difference between the helicopter industry facing a great deal of external competition and suffering a downturn, or embracing this technological shift and boosting profits.

Large-scale UAS were not a topic that we heard at the HAI Heli-Expo this year.  We would have liked to see more about unmanned helicopters, unmanned aerial farming machines, and other large-format unmanned systems.  Helicopter operators should be thinking past the use of small quad copters and considering larger-scale unmanned operations.  Likewise, helicopter leasing companies should be thinking about financing models associated with large-scale unmanned systems.  These are major shifts in the marketplace that other (non-helicopter) companies will happily fill the void, but, with a little bit of strategic planning, a helicopter company should be poised and ready to fill.

Airbus unveiled a new video showing a concept for a flying car called Pop.Up at the Geneva International Motor Show that same week, but news of the new concept was not present on the HAI Heli-Expo floor.  Generally, we were surprised that helicopter manufacturers were not pushing large-scale UAS concepts.  We did see a few new helicopters, such as the Bell FCX-001, but no unmanned systems.  This is currently a large gap in the marketplace and potentially large oversight.  Large-scale UAS concepts and innovations could serve a vital role in helping to envision potential formats and applications of unmanned systems and could help to shape the future of the industry.  I would assume that helicopter manufacturers would be leading this charge, but there was no such presence at the Expo.

Evans Incorporated is excited for next year’s HAI Expo, where we hope to see more large-format UAS concepts.  As an established company with years of experience as broad-based business consultants, we look for opportunities to help companies evaluate the UAS legislative landscape and build an organizational strategy to capitalize on the budding UAS industry.  Not only does the Evans aviation team address the core programmatic and operational challenges of UAS, but also ensures success through human-centered stakeholder management, project and program management, risk management, communications, facilitation, and training – an integrated blend of capabilities the Evans has integrated into its CAARMA™ Solutions.  We look forward to providing these services to helicopter companies so that they can stay ahead of the UAS trend.

-Greg Caramanica

What really stole the show during the Super Bowl – the drones.

Did you know that there were a number of firsts during this year’s Super Bowl? One football team made an epic comeback and Tom Brady… well, you know the story… But, the biggest first that occurred during halftime was the use of Drones!!! Perhaps Lady Gaga’s performance was also something to be appreciated, but I was particularly interested in the Intel “Shooting Star,” which was the first time that drones were televised as part of an entertainment event. And it was definitely entertaining, even if it was recorded the day before (consistent with federal regulations, specifically for UAS operations over people).

The Shooting Star isn’t your typical store-bought drone. 300 (or more) can be flown at once by a single pilot and the collective swarm can make over 4 billion color combinations to bring light to life in the sky for up to 20 minutes. What is even more fascinating is what this could mean for the future of the unmanned aircraft industry. We just saw Intel, one of the industry’s leading pioneers, put on a display that was only a fraction of what this industry is capable of. Recently, at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, I saw amazing technological solutions that could perform a multitude of activities from delivering packages in less than 10 minutes to flying coast-to-coast without any human interaction – and that’s what is technically possible today (though not yet enabled by a still-evolving regulatory landscape). Beyond the current trend of using UAS primarily for pictures and video, the Super Bowl showed us that there are other possibilities that we might have not considered and, perhaps, problems that can be solved with UAS solutions if we opened our minds to them. And why not?  Like the cellphones we carry in our pockets, which now allow us to call anyone, order anything, replicate capabilities otherwise traditionally limited to personal computers, and/or perform a multitude of tasks with the swipe of our fingers, the future of UAS could become just as integrated into our existence as a smart phone.

I hope that colorful, elegant display of advanced technology inspires the next generation of Unmanned Systems thinkers and innovators. Who knows, maybe one day a drone will be your next taxi cab.

  • Andy Osantowske, Senior Unmanned Aircraft Systems Analyst at Evans Incorporated

The Human Element as the ‘Secret Sauce’ for Effective, Lasting, Continuous Change

Success Begets Success!

By: Jim Wright, Evans Incorporated

There’s no shortage of examples that prove the old adage continues to be true- the one constant in life (and work) is change. So, with this in mind – why are we usually apprehensive for what we know is an inevitable event?

The reason? Most often fear. Of failure, of change itself, and of things just simply being different than before. Of the unknown.

However, what if you could go confidently forward, unfettered and unobstructed because you knew you had taken all of the major variables and factors in the change decision or activity into account? Seems logical, doesn’t it?

It might surprise you to know, but that reaction isn’t nearly as common as it should be. At Evans, we have proven time and time again in our work over the last 20+ years with some of the largest and best-known brands, that amidst the near constant – and necessary – changes organizations must undergo to achieve growth and lasting success, the crucial (and often disregarded) ingredient in the mix is the human element. The people themselves who are, and will be, physically affected by the change, as well as key drivers within it, entrusted with the ability to make it ultimately sustainable – as we often say, “Success begets Success.”

The seemingly ‘old-fashioned’ human ‘secret sauce’ in the mix has never been more important, even in our age of exciting expansion and technical possibility. The biggest reasons why shouldn’t surprise you at all. In order to execute, implement, and facilitate lasting organizational change, several key efforts, all with people at their core, are necessary. These include:

  • Empowering cohesion behind a common goal: the change and its impacts.
  • Identifying and addressing key change risks: such as lack of skills, knowledge, resources, and insufficient support structures, which could have the power to derail the change efforts and effect team members’ abilities to adapt, which we uncover through Evans’ Change Readiness Assessment (CRA) to confront these risks head-on at the outset and throughout the process.
  • Acknowledging each individual’s role, significance, and vitality to the change process: taking team members’ specific hopes, biases, and fears into account and reminding them of the central role they play in making the change effort a success, regardless of their position or level at the organization.
  • Establishing an open feedback structure to convey the benefits -not the challenges- of the change: adopting an ‘open door’ policy to air concerns and insecurities, allowing team members to understand that they are part of the process, not roadblocks to the change itself.

The key takeaway of all of this really is that as much as the human element can complicate change proceedings, it is vital to ensuring these efforts have ‘sticking power’, and bringing measurable, lasting results for organizations. The confidence and cohesion driven by a common purpose, along with an open communication structure to enable each individual to understand their role -and importance – in the process, are critical ingredients in the change recipe. Within this, we at Evans have also seen the value of our roles as a change leader and advocate, as well as a supporter of our clients, to ensure decision makers at our client organizations are succeeding and reaching their goals with confidence, even in times of ambiguity.

What’s more – we’re so confident in the human element as a driver of organizational change that when clients trust us as their end-to-end provider of transformation solutions, they can also trust in the proven 100% guarantee on the unique Human-Centered methodological approach Evans uses to adapt diverse environments to ongoing change and drive Real Operational Impact®.

So we’d like to ask you a question: What else would you do if you knew you could not fail?  We will be holding an intensive, 3-hour Change Readiness Workshop on Thursday, November 10, 2016, from 8:30am-12pm at Evans Incorporated. Led by the leader of Evans’ Change Management Practice, Jim Wright, and Richard Hudson, Director of Client Delivery, in the session you will:

  • Take a deeper dive into how to conduct a Change Readiness Assessment at your organization;
  • Explore a case study where participants will apply the concepts they learn to a real-world scenario; and
  • Emerge equipped with practical and immediately applicable Change Readiness Assessment techniques and mitigation strategies for common risks, including stakeholder engagement and communications plans.

Following this workshop, you will know how to implement a portfolio of strategic initiatives and investments that you want to launch in the next year and are ready to ensure success where you know YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO FAIL!

What are you waiting for? Click here to Register Now! We look forward to seeing you on November 10th!

What would Sully do? Team decision making in safety-critical situations

Recovering from hazardous situations often requires a little ingenuity and some creative thinking, coupled with experience, motivation and teamwork. We all have off days when we forget the car keys, push the credit card into the “Retrieve Ticket Here” slot, or spill the milk on the kitchen floor. Human performance is variable – nobody is 100% perfect, and nobody is 100% consistent. Yet the flip-side of our failures and foibles is that we also have days when everything goes remarkably well. When we perform at our finest, miracles can happen.

Consider Flight 1549. Under the leadership of Captain “Sully” Sullenberger, the flight crew glided an Airbus A320 into the Hudson River after both engines lost almost all power following a bird strike. The cabin crew members successfully coordinated the evacuation of 150 frightened passengers, including a lap-held child, and everyone on board survived. Investigating the accident, the NTSB gave credit to the entire crew for excellent crew resource management – a term which refers to the way a team diagnoses a situation, shares information, makes decisions, and plans its response.

Crew resource management is critical in many command and control contexts. Evans has recently been working with a federal client to address crew resource management in transportation system control rooms. Although operators within the control rooms are supported by automation, human decisions and actions are necessary to ensure that the entire system operates safely. The automation system used in these control rooms was built to include significant redundancy, and to self-recover from common glitches. However, sometimes the self-recovery process leads to a system slow-down. When there is a slow-down, the expert operators have more work to do in order to maintain safety, and they also have to work closely with a team of technicians and engineers to diagnose and correct the issue.

Because teamwork is critical to success in situations like this, Evans has been working closely with their client to deliver experiential workshops that highlight the principles of crew resource management. Facilitated by human factors specialists and training experts, the workshops are attended by a wide range of personnel from different technical backgrounds, all of whom have a vital role to play in managing a slow-down. The sessions have been designed to simulate system slow-downs in a classroom environment, so that personnel can rehearse the way that they coordinate with each other. This enables the team to “step through” a slow-down, discussing how to diagnose the issue, manage the situation, and regain system capacity while maintaining safety. The sessions are highly interactive, and even include simulating the actual phone calls made to the engineers on the system helpdesk. They also include a degree of uncertainty and ambiguity, which is characteristic of slow-down events.

The workshops have received very positive feedback from participants from across all disciplines. Just a week after facilitating a workshop at one location, Evans received notification that the skills developed were used in a real slow-down situation, and helped to prevent the situation from becoming critical. Evans’ approach to working with teams responsible for operating safety-critical systems is to address all of the factors influencing team performance, not just technical skills. One person performing well is a definition of a good day. But when a group of people function well as a team to diagnose a situation, share information, make decisions, and plan a response, it really can “save the day”.

Leadership for the Many, Not the Few

By Beth Zimmerman

Leadership. In the organizational context, this phrase typically refers to a select group of people with titles such as CEO, vice president, director, and manager.

At Evans, we embrace a broader concept of leadership, one that asserts that leadership is for the many, not the few. Continue reading

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