For Measure’s VP of Flight Operations, Andy Justicia, unmanned aircraft operations isn’t just a job, it’s an extension of a lifelong passion.
“I started flying model airplanes when I was 10 years old,” Andy states. “I’m 44 and still flying – that’s 34 years.”
Nicknamed “Mr. Selfie” due to his enthusiasm for showcasing his work and the people he works with, Justicia was one of Measure’s first full-time pilots, back in 2016. He quickly demonstrated expertise and discipline in his work, performing countless inspections of energy assets. In 2018, he became the Lead Pilot for sUAS Training and Standards, where he developed the curriculum and shaped Measure’s elite pilot training program. In this role, Andy trained more than 150 drone pilots in the United States and more than 75 internationally.
In addition to being arguably one of the most versatile drone pilots in the energy sector, Andy is also an instrument-rated commercial pilot and is currently working on his Certified Flight Instructor license. This means that Andy can fly people or cargo for hire and can legally and safely operate a properly equipped aircraft in instrument meteorological conditions.
This expanded aviation experience came in handy on-the-job when Andy was on a mission for Measure in Hawaii. When traveling from one island to another for his work, there was an issue with the local airline transporting the necessary drone batteries.
With no other options available, Andy was able to rent a small aircraft and fly the equipment to the island in order to complete the mission.
Although his experience and skill in aviation is admirable, what truly sets Andy apart is his professionalism and enthusiasm for his work. Drone pilots spend much of their time traveling and working in harsh environmental conditions, with long hours outside. Yet Andy’s enthusiasm never wains, and he never shies away from a new challenge, often leading R&D efforts.
For example, when Measure was called to perform a boiler inspection - a particularly difficult process due to low-light, heat, and harsh air conditions inside the boiler – it was Andy who volunteered to take on the challenge, with a smile on his face.
“Being inside the boiler felt like a movie,” Andy recalls. “With the emptiness of the walls going 150 ft up, it’s super clean, and a surreal experience. Boilers are still one of my favorite assets to inspect.”
So what is Andy’s secret to maintaining a positive, can-do attitude?
“I think this comes from my 18 years of business development experience,” Andy notes. “My first priority is doing an excellent job for the client. Of course, it helps that I love what I do.”
“It is apparent that Andy takes his job seriously while also really enjoying it,” says Brandon Torres Declet, CEO at Measure. “He doesn’t back down from new challenges and is always improving his skills while encouraging others to do the same. With so much real-world experience, we’re extremely confident in where he will lead our operations team.”
“As VP of Flight Operations, my goal is to maintain Measure’s industry-leading safety record and provide superior on-the-job professionalism and skill to all of our clients,” Andy says. “I’m excited about what’s in store for Measure and the drone industry over the next few years and feel lucky to be a part of it.”
You can find Andy in print as he was recently featured in RotorDrone Pro’s special “Drone Careers” section of their July issue, where he elaborates on what it takes to make a career in the drone industry. You can also connect with him and view his many on-the-job selfies on LinkedIn here.