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Program Takes Flight

Program Takes Flight

Finally, a chance to hold an educational program up close, in person. No peering at a computer screen during a Zoom or Team session. Even more appropriate since it was outdoors, with fresh air, social distancing and even flying objects! And there was time to finally install our new officers and recognize an outstanding associate member.

What! Well, we finally were able to hold our first “in-person” educational program since February. On Aug. 19, more than 40 members and guests enjoyed some personal attention and time at the program held at the Gloria Rogers Pavilion in Tilles Park.

Besides allowing for a safe, socially distanced setting, the great outdoors were simply great for the topic at hand: How Drones Are Used in the Architectural and Engineering World – and Beyond.

Zachary Lawrence, geographic information systems analyst with Horner and Shifrin Inc., and Matt Niemeyer, virtual design and construction manager with SM Wilson, showcased the diversity of drones in conducting a variety of engineering, architectural and construction work.

Technology continues to improve so the flying, unmanned aircraft are becoming quite the tool in scores of usages. Lawrence and Niemeyer reviewed the 12 most common uses in the FM realm, primarily related to architectural, engineering, construction and maintenance arenas:

  • Surveying
  • Laser scanning
  • Thermal imaging
  • Site inspections
  • Site logistics
  • Asset tracking
  • Progress reports
  • Photography
  • Virtual walk arounds
  • Maintenance Inspections
  • Safety
  • And disaster management

Zach and Matt provided examples of all these uses. They also explained how the drones can be more efficient and effective in delivering the necessary information to assess and correct issues, as well as provide the tools and resources to achieve so many objectives.

Even better, Zach and Matt gave our members a firsthand look at the drones in operation.

Of course, those flying drones are being deployed well beyond the commercial real estate industry. Agricultural, cargo transport, law enforcement, surveillance, storm tracking and forecasting, and search and rescue are other areas that are relying on the unmanned aircraft.

The program also included the formal installation of our officers, whose terms started on July 1:

  • President, Scott Held, Ameren
  • Vice President, Dave Gardin, Kindred Healthcare
  • Treasurer, Michael Wright, Ameren
  • Secretary, Gary Wood, Stryker Construction


Additionally, Scott thanked Jeff Touchette of Jarrell Mechanical Contractors for his commitment to the chapter. Jeff has been involved on every level over the past eight years, including serving as our immediate past president. Scott presented a plaque to Jeff to show the chapter’s appreciation for his leadership and service.

Another member was honored as well. Matt Huelsing with Woodard was recognized as  Outstanding Associate Member of the Year.

As Scott noted in honoring Matt, “He has been our sponsorship chair for about 4-plus years now. Matt has been tasked with asking members for financial support of our chapter. Not an easy thing to do, especially now. Matt’s responsibilities at Woodard keep him insanely busy every single day. Matt re-created the Partner with IFMA sponsorship program, making the program more robust and worthwhile to our members, resulting in record-breaking support this year,” Scott said.

Well done and well deserved, Matt.

We also want to thank Renee LaBruyere with Horner and Shifrin for coordinating the program, as well as Horner and Shifrin and SM Wilson for sponsoring this informative event.