Pilot Spotlight: Interview with Angi English
Company: Former Chief of Staff New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
Location: Austin, TX, US
Tell us about yourself.
I am an advocate for using drones in the homeland security and emergency management ecosystem for security purposes. Drones can be game-changers in the security ecosystem, search and rescue, supply chain delivery and so much more.
What inspired you to begin flying drones, and what made you want to enter the industry as a drone pilot?
I am an avid photographer and with my Masters in Security Studies, I quickly made the vital connections for the use of drones in homeland security and emergency management.
What were you doing before you started flying drones, and what made you make the transition? I've always been a photographer, so getting the camera away from my head and have it fly through the sky gave me such a great opportunity to see the world and photograph it from unique perspectives.
What drone(s) are you currently flying, and what drone accessories do you love? Phantom 4, Mavic Air, Mavic Pro, Mavic Air 2, Mavic Mini, Tello.
What is your favorite feature on your drone and why?
The higher sensor I can get, the better. I like the portability, features, and camera on the Mavic Air 2.
What drone images are you most proud of and why? Any image that helps find a missing person, identify hazards, and provide intelligence for security are my favorite images.
Have you learned any valuable lessons from being in the drone industry that you can share with our female drone community? Be Bold, Be Brave, Be Brilliant. Don't let the male-dominated industry push you around and make you think you don't belong... YOU DO!
Whether it's from a creative, commercial, or humanitarian perspective, tell us about the most memorable drone flight you have piloted thus far. Being able to have an aerial perspective to provide aide crossing a hot desert or fining missing persons is most exciting.
What would you say to women and girls about the drone industry to spark their interest in getting involved?
The drone industry needs women who are many times better at connecting the dots, attention to detail, curious, and creative enough to ask the hard questions.
What excites you most about more women joining the drone industry? Women often have empathy and compassion that escapes the male-dominated, often militaristic presence of men in the industry. Too often men are ready participants for confirmation bias and groupthink. In my experience, women tend to ask more questions and push the status quo thinking.
Do you have any drone tips & tricks you can share with our audience?
Always have a carrying case for each drone and label each piece of equipment, cable, etc., for each drone and always pack it the same way each time. This way you don't get cables and equipment confused. Pack it like a parachute.
What's the best way for our readers to get in touch with you? Through my email: firstname.lastname@example.org
English has an impressive career as a strategic thought leader, leading strategic initiatives in homeland security and emergency management, including various risk management projects for and with state and federal task forces.
In 2010, appointed by Secretary Janet Napolitano, English worked with 35 other task force members representing local, state, tribal, and territorial governments to collaboratively take stock of national preparedness and provide recommendations to Congress. The task force worked collaboratively with all stakeholders over a full year to produce a report for Congress, “Perspectives on Preparedness: Taking Stock Since 9/11.”
Additionally, English provided advisory services in the development of the Presidential Policy Directive 8, the directive aimed at strengthening the security and resilience of the United States through systematic preparation for the threats that pose the greatest risk to the security of the Nation, including acts of terrorism, cyber-attacks, pandemics, and catastrophic natural disasters. The taskforce also facilitated the overhaul of the Threat and Hazard Identification Risk Assessment (THIRA) and the National Disaster Response Framework.
In her 30 years working in homeland security, emergency management, mental health, risk management, and disability advocacy communities, she is a recognized award-winning leader. She is also a featured writer for Homeland Security: A Platform by the Center for Homeland Defense and Security For Radical Homeland Security Experimentation with over 30 publications, many focused on navigating “sensemaking in conditions of uncertainty,” and a featured authored in the Wiley Publishers text “Foundations of Homeland Security: Law and Policy, 2nd Edition with a chapter on “Metacognition and Errors in Judgement Related to Decision-Making in Homeland Security.”
When she’s not solving tough problems, she is out flying her drones as an FAA Certified Part 107 Drone Pilot or behind the lens of her camera, photographing landscapes in remote areas of the world. Combining her interests for drones and public safety, she was an instrumental advisor in the creation of New Mexico’s Fusion Center’s drone program, a half-million-dollar effort. Additionally, she is a subject matter advisor for DroneResponders, Inc, the world’s largest advocacy agency for use of drones for public safety uses.
She volunteers her time with various hunger initiatives such as the Austin Empty Bowl Project or with Austin Wildlife Rescue where at times she has served as a “possum anesthesiologist,” and as a volunteer drone pilot for local search and rescue efforts. Hopelessly in love with her wiener dog, “Harper Lee,” she and her veterinarian spouse care and rehab various kinds of animals in the ecosystem.