Mary Wohnrade named a 2017 Woman to Watch in UAS for civil engineering drone work

Mary Wohnrade earned her pilot’s license at age 22, but she ended up pursuing a career much closer to the ground — civil engineering, to follow in her father’s footsteps.

And then drones happened. The availability of unmanned aircraft systems took Broomfield-based Wohnrade Civil Engineers to new heights, which, on Tuesday, led to her being named a 2017 Women to Watch in UAS by Drone360 magazine and the Women and Drones organization. Other recipients include Helena Samsioe in Sweden, whose company GLBOHE uses drones to help humanitarian agencies deliver medical supplies; and Natalie Cheung, general manager of the Intel Corp. team behind the spectacular drone light show at the Super Bowl.

“These women are rock stars of the drone world,” said Wendy Erikson, a Women and Drones adviser who also was a first round-judge for the competition. “Hearing that drones are doing to be delivering medical supplies or offering new forms of entertainment and drones shows, it’s just amazing to see all the opportunities that are out there.”

Erikson said that few women are active participants in the drone world, which is why organization was created. A recent analysis of Federal Aviation Administration 2016 data by BeaconSkySurvey found that fewer than 4 percent of remote-pilot certificates were held by women. But they are out there, Erikson said, noting that 110 women were nominated to the Women to Watch list. (See the winners at