NEWTON, Mass. — Drone Dispatch based in Austin, Texas is exceptionally busy these days, not just with business as usual or preparing for METALCON, the largest international event in the metal construction industry, but with helping expedite Hurricane Harvey insurance claims through drone imaging of Houston’s devastation.

One of the country’s largest commercial insurance property and casualty companies, CNA, recently reached out to Drone Dispatch, a nationwide provider of drone services, to help document the damage so hurricane victims, whose homes were affected, can get their claims processed quickly and begin rebuilding their homes and communities.

Joshua Barnett, president of Drone Dispatch, immediately responded to the emergency call, sending down four crews who have been working around the clock to capture images of the damage. 

“Drones are the first step to getting these people paid out,” said Barnett.  “We closed our corporate office and sent our entire executive team down to help.  We even flew our own personal drones and then bought a boat to help save lives. It was gut-wrenching to see that level of disaster.  It felt like nuclear fallout.  The trees are stripped of their leaves, and there are piles of rubble everywhere.  Although, it was great to see people come together to help each other.  Between the government, charities, businesses and community groups, they are already rebuilding.”

Now, on to Drone Dispatch at METALCON… Drones, one of the most exciting technologies to enter the construction industry, are the focus of Barnett’s session on “Where Drones Meet Metal in the Roofing Industry” on Oct. 18 and 19 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.  He will help attendees understand how drones will help save time, save money, reduce operational risk and provide additional utility.

“The point of my presentation is to provide education and talk about regulations,” said Barnett.  “There is so much misinformation about what drones do, how they work and what the regulations mean.  I will discuss how to pick a drone and what steps you need to take to proceed.  There is a lack of exposure with drones, and it hasn’t occurred to a lot of folks how drone technology can benefit their businesses.”

“There is so much we can do with drones from generic marketing photos, to work progression photos and 3-D models,” said Barnett.  “We can take measurements on roofs, create 3-D roof images and keep folks safe by keeping them off roofs.”            

“Drone Dispatch presents a unique set of product offerings across the board and within each category of business,” said Barnett.  “We have a particular model, which our competitors do not provide.  We become part of an organization.  We have guys already trained.  We are not trying to outfit an organization with people; rather we are trying to outfit it with drones.”

Drone Dispatch was founded by three under 30 — Barnett, his brother Kevin Whatley and their good friend, Chris Bonnet.  It all started over a conversation between Barnett and Bonnet.  Bonnet was a realtor and determined he needed aerial images to remain competitive so he bought a drone and tried it out.  Subsequently, everyone in his business started asking for the technology. Together, they collected a list of four thousand realtors, reached out to them and 40 responded.  Brothers Barnett and Whatley were just a few classes away from college graduation, when Drone Dispatch exploded, and they decided to focus all of their energy on the drone business. Today, they run a successful business with a strong network of pilots.

“The industry is growing rapidly; our goal is to be the #1 drone service provider in the United States," said Barnett.

“This cutting-edge technology will help the metal construction industry expedite orders and increase sales, while saving time and money,” said Claire Kilcoyne, METALCON show director.  “What normally might take a whole week to accomplish on a large-scale roofing project, drone technology can expedite in a day.  I am so impressed with Drone Dispatch’s knowledge, enthusiasm, and even more so, the youth and relationship of the partners.” 

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