Posted on Tuesday, March 26, 2019

An organization that promotes the use of drone aircraft by public safety agencies has commended Piedmont Virginia Community College’s unmanned aircraft training program for its leadership in the nascent field.

PVCC’s third annual Public Safety Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Conference was held March 4-6 at King Family Vineyards in Crozet, Virginia.

The National Council for Public Safety Unmanned Aircraft Systems recognized PVCC during the college’s recent three day conference on drone operations near Charlottesville. Charles L. Werner, Chair of National Council, presented the award to Valerie Palamountain, PVCC’s Dean of Workforce Services.

The event brought together leading experts in law enforcement, public safety, search and rescue, emergency services and disaster relief who have integrated drones into their operations, and featured attendees from Japan, Australia and Canada.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam told the gathering that drone technology may not only save lives and improve security, it also could boost the state’s economy. Noting there may be as many as seven million drones in the U.S. by 2020, Northam predicted more drone-related jobs in software, hardware and related industries.

PVCC launched its drone program in 2015. In 2016, Piedmont became the first college in the nation to receive a certificate of authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct research and development of small, unmanned aerial systems for public safety.

Since its inception, PVCC has trained more than 250 people from more than a dozen federal, state and local agencies.

Learn more about PVCC’s unmanned aerial systems program here.'

Jim Babb

Jim Babb works for Virginia's Community Colleges in the Office of Strategic Communications.

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