In November 2016, Microdrones and Trimble forged an agreement, making Microdrones Trimble’s preferred provider of quadcopter UAV mapping solutions. Since then, our Trimble Dealer Manager, Phil Kern has been traveling the globe and working with dealers to get them signed on and ready to sell Microdrones mdMapper solutions.
Sara Furlong, Microdrones content marketing manager, interviewed Phil to learn about the work he’s doing to get Trimble dealers off the ground.
Sara: Hi, Phil! So you’ve been a very busy guy! Can you give us an update on how things are going with signing on Trimble dealers to sell Microdrones aerial mapping packages?
Phil: Sure! It’s going great. The dealers have been very pleased with our systems so far and they are signing on quickly. Just in the past few weeks we have announced partnerships with NEI and SITECH South in the Southern United States, Martin Instrument in Texas, and coming next is GEOCOM in Chile, though they are already signed on. Many others have joined us and they are making quick progress. Most have sold several systems already – including our most advanced direct georeferencing packages.
Sara: That’s great! This position must mean a lot of travel for you.
Phil: It does, but I enjoy it. I started working with Microdrones after the Trimble partnership was announced in November. My first day on the job was in Las Vegas at the Trimble Dimensions show. Since then, I’ve traveled extensively in Europe, South America, and the United States. Soon I’m headed to Peru and Colombia and after that I’m headed for a long trip to Australia. Next it will probably be South Africa. All to meet with Trimble dealers to show them our systems and help them understand the value for customers. It’s been a lot of fun.
Sara: What did you do before working at Microdrones?
Phil: I worked in sales for global geospatial companies for more than 20 years. I love working with and supporting customers in this industry.
Sara: Do you enjoy working with Microdrones so far?
Phil: Absolutely. First and foremost, I love the company, the people I’m working with, and the people I’m working for. Everything about what we’re doing is exciting. It’s a dynamic work environment and everyone on our team is very smart and hard-working. I am so pumped about what the future holds for Microdrones.
Sara: I agree! What part of your job do you think is the most fun?
Phil: Well, I really like meeting all the dealers. They are very intelligent businesspeople that really care about their customers. They do great work. I also love watching our systems being demoed. They fly beautifully and they’re so quiet – it surprises people. The customers appreciate it right away. They are just really well-received and that makes it very satisfying.
Sara: What do they like best about the drones?
Phil: They like that we’re offering a complete package with everything the user needs for aerial mapping. They like how efficient they are and the exceptional quality and the fact that they’re future-proof, that is, they can be upgraded to the latest hardware and firmware. They especially like the long flight times. In general, they like that they will be able to help their customers do work more quickly, safely, and accurately.
Sara: How does the process of becoming a dealer work?
Phil: Usually it starts when I contact them. They are usually waiting to hear from Microdrones. Sometimes they contact me first. From there, I send them some introductory information with the Microdrones UAS Business Planning Questionnaire. They fill that out and then we send them a dealer agreement, modeled after the Trimble dealer agreements. After that they procure a demo unit and begin training through Microdrones mdAcademy.
Sara: How long does training take?
Phil: We recommend that our dealers take our “Train the Trainer” course. This is five days, usually broken up into two sessions, plus two more if they want to take the direct georeferencing training for our most advanced systems. Taking this training is helpful because it teaches the dealers how to train their customers to succeed with our systems. If they don’t take the “Train the Trainer” course, it usually takes about 3 days to learn to use our systems.
Sara: What do you do with your time when you’re not traveling the world meeting with Trimble dealers?
Phil: Well, I love movies – especially Coen Brothers films. I like working out. I love cycling. And I have two very successful daughters that I love getting to visit with.
Sara: Sounds like you keep very busy when you’re not working, too!
Phil: I do!
Sara: What should dealers who want to learn more about Microdrones do to get more information?
Phil: I will be contacting them sometime soon. However, if they have a customer that wants to get started with UAVs right away, they should contact me by e-mail at phil.kern@Microdrones.com and we’ll do everything we can to expedite the process.