We are elated to announce that Jackie Dujmovic, CEO of Hover UAV, is among 11 outstanding women who have been honored with an induction into the Women in Emerging Aviation Hall of Fame. This prestigious recognition was conferred upon her at the 7th Annual Women in Emerging Aviation Awards, celebrated at the iconic Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C.
The evening was a grand gala event hosted within the walls of the renowned Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. The Hall of Fame inductees were honored in an intimate ceremony. The gala unfolded beneath some of the most legendary aviation milestones and aircraft in history, including but not limited to the pioneering achievements of the Wright Brothers.
The night was an extraordinary occasion as all attendees celebrated the pioneering women making significant strides in the aviation sector. Their innovative contributions and forward-thinking visions forecast a future brimming with innovation, scientific and technological advancements. Representing a wealth of knowledge and expertise, these honorees came from various facets of the Uncrewed Aerial Systems and Advanced Air Mobility sectors.
Women In Emerging Aviation Hall of Fame Inductees
Loretta Alkalay – Aviation attorney and Adjunct Professor at Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology. Alkalay holds an FAA remote pilot certificate with a sUAS rating and also serves as a regulatory consultant, specializing in issues related to compliance with federal aviation regulations including drone rules.
Barbara Bollard – Professor Bollard of Australia is a leader in the field of drone remote sensing, renowned for her pioneering research in both Antarctica and extreme desert environments. Her groundbreaking achievements have significantly advanced the capabilities of drone technology, transforming data collection and analysis in these challenging terrains.
Jackie Dujmovic – Founder and CEO of Hover UAV in Australia. As a commercial UAS Pilot and accomplished Chief Remote Pilot, Dujmovic’s expertise is establishing robust communication and procedural frameworks with regulators across local, national, and international spheres. Her ultimate mission is the seamless integration of drone systems into everyday life, commitments to safety, compliance, and navigating intricate operational approvals.
Desiree Ekstein – Founder of On The Go Video and accomplished figure in the UAS industry. Ekstein is dedicated to promoting safety and education as a Lead FAASTeam Representative and AUVSI TOP Level 3 pilot. She is also involved in the “Girls Take Flight” initiative which encourages young women to explore careers in the science and technology fields.
Laurie Grindle – Deputy Center Director, NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center. Grindle assists in the management of the NASA field centre, focusing on strategy, business processes, and institutional management. She has also served in leadership roles overseeing Unmanned Air Vehicles and the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew vehicle abort test booster.
Sonet Kock – Director of Drone Policy & Regulatory Development. Sonet is the Founder and Managing Director of AviComply (Pty) Ltd, a leading South African consulting firm specializing in Aviation Compliance Solutions. She is known for her expertise and extensive experience in Aviation Regulatory Compliance and has dedicated her efforts to ensuring quality and safety assurance for both crewed and uncrewed flight operations.
Mercy Makau – President and Founder of the Young Aviator Club of Africa as well as Chairperson of Drone Club Kenya. Makau is considered a passionate change maker, deeply committed to empowering youth and promoting gender equity in Africa’s aviation and aerospace industry.
Jenn Player – Senior Director of Global Aviation Regulatory Affairs at Skydio. Jenn collaborates with customers, regulators, and standards development organizations to advance autonomy and unlock safe and effective docked drone operations. Jenn’s early work to integrate drones into the National Airspace System led to the first long-range BVLOS civil flight in the continental United States.
Dr Debbie Saunders – Founder, CEO and Chief Remote Pilot of Wildlife Drones. The Australian company is transforming biodiversity conservation by developing innovative technological solutions, including the world’s most advanced drone-based radio-telemetry sensor that empowers endangered and invasive species managers globally to simultaneously track the movements of many animals from a drone in real time.
Annalisa Russell-Smith – Chief Strategy Officer, Flyby Technology. The company flew the COVID virus between laboratories and chemotherapy to isolated communities and Russell-Smith was the first civilian female in the United Kingdom to become a Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) pilot.
Abigail Smith – Executive Director (A), of the FAA’s UAS Security Office, which serves as the focal point for all matters related to drone and air mobility (AAM) security in U.S. airspace. Within this role, Smith leads the FAA’s efforts to safely integrate detection and mitigation systems for drones and AAM operations into the National Airspace System.
About the Women in Emerging Aviation Technologies Awards: Initiated in 2017, Women and Drones has been shining a spotlight on those reshaping the UAS/AAM industry. Every year, a global hunt singles out women and entities bringing innovation, enhancing the UAS/AAM industry’s reputation, fostering inclusivity in STEM and aviation, and propelling the industry closer to equal gender representation.