Randolph EMC donates $10K for drone program

representatives from Randolph EMC and Montgomery Community College
Pictured from L-R: Andrew Gardner, MCC Dean of Continuing Education; Dale Lambert, Randolph EMC CEO; Dennis Mabe, Randolph EMC VP of Engineering and Operations; Riley Beaman, MCC Director of Health and Public Safety Programs; Dr. Chad Bledsoe, MCC President; Lee Proctor, MCC VP of Instruction; Korrie Ervin, MCC Director of Resource Development.

Randolph Electric Membership Corporation recently donated $10,000 to Montgomery Community College in support of their N.C. Public Safety Drone Academy.

These funds will be used to purchase software and develop an educational course for REMC’s Utility Based Drone Program.

Montgomery Community College’s N.C. Public Safety Drone Academy currently prepares emergency service personnel and law enforcement to become effective and well-educated unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) pilots. The academy focuses on the laws and regulations for safely operating UAVs and includes an extensive hands-on flight school.

Randolph EMC’s Utility Based Drone Program will train line technicians to utilize the drones for a number of cost-saving applications. The drones can be used to conduct infrastructure inspections, detect problems with electric equipment, access equipment in difficult terrain, and provide direct support for electric utility vegetation management.

Randolph EMC has nearly 600 miles of power lines in Montgomery County, many of them located in the Uwharrie National Forest in difficult-to-reach areas. “Our hope is to establish a protocol that can be used to safely navigate around and inspect power lines—especially in difficult terrain—while identifying conditions that have the potential to cause an outage or damage equipment,” said Dennis Mabe, Vice President of Engineering and Operations for Randolph EMC.

“We knew the drone technology had many applications we had yet to consider. When Randolph EMC approached us to provide software and training, we were very excited about this unique opportunity,” said Riley Beaman, Director of Health and Public Safety Programs at MCC.

“We are looking forward to working with Randolph EMC on this new program,” said Montgomery Community College President, Dr. Chad Bledsoe. “Our hope is that we can use it as a blueprint for additional applications and occupations in the future.”