Entrepreneur: Danny Landry

Photography by Don Kadair

POSITION Co-founder

COMPANY LandBros Aerial

ADDRESS 1926 Ryder Drive

WHAT THEY DO Commercial and industrial drone services

NEXT GOALS Continue organic growth and incorporate new technology


LEARNING TO FLY

When Danny Landry bought his first drone about five years ago, he was little more than a hobbyist interested in the new technology. But it didn’t take long for Landry and other early adopters like him to imagine the incredible commercial potential for unmanned aerial vehicles. For Landry, he envisioned uses in the large industrial plants along the Interstate 10/12 corridor. And when that vision could, legally, become a reality, he was ready. “The aha moment was that I saw an opportunity. It was before all the projections that this industry would be huge. Sometimes, you just know.” Today, the hobbyist turned entrepreneur is dominating the commercial industrial drone market in south Louisiana. As the co-founder of LandBros Ariel with his brother, Kevin Landry, and Robert Shirley, his team of six operates unmanned aircraft systems for some of the largest oil and gas firms, industrial contractors and utility companies in the region.

NEW HEIGHTS

As Landry’s interest in drones progressed from hobby to passion, he put his LSU business degree to good use by studying companies in the United Kingdom that were utilizing drones in offshore work for oil and gas companies. That’s why, when U.S. and Louisiana regulations changed to allow commercial drone flight, LandBros was one of the first companies to receive a permit from the FAA. “From there, it’s been a lot of hard work and a lot of time and energy spent building relationships with people throughout the region.” Since establishing LandBros in 2014, he’s watched the mindset within industrial companies evolve and has had a hand in guiding that progress. “It was a foreign thing to them. Now, we’ve gotten it to a point where it is almost a norm. People understand drones can be used to create efficiencies in plants and refineries.”

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL

The proliferation of drones in industry still presents some challenges, both welcome and unwelcome for LandBros. The biggest of those is competition. “We compete against some very large worldwide drone companies.” You’d never know it by taking a quick glance at LandBros’ lengthly list of clients. Landry says he tries to separate his company from the competition by offering specialty services, sweating safety protocols and providing professional service. “People know that we are the guys that operate safely, we are the guys with the experience and that we are not just someone who bought a drone at Best Buy and thinks they know what they’re doing.” By employing retired military personnel and pilots who have valuable aviation experience, LandBros seeks to consistently operate at a higher caliber. “My favorite thing is whenever someone gives us the opportunity to do a project for them and we are able to exceed their expectations—and bring them something they’ve never seen before.”

INTO THE DISTANCE

As the drone industry continues its rapid growth, Landry is looking to keep the company’s expansion organic. “The industry is moving so fast. Where the technology is going to be in ten years is an extreme unknown.” He’s watched drone companies come and go since starting LandBros, reinforcing his belief in the importance of maintaining their focus on delivering high-quality products and expert customer service. For now, the plan is to continue expansion between Baton Rouge and Houston, adding new pilot teams and keeping up with the evolving technology. “The equipment is always getting better, which is a challenge because you don’t have the same piece of equipment very long.” But these changes keep things interesting. “We have clients come to us all the time with new uses for our drones sparked by a specific challenge they have. That’s been an exciting part of the learning curve, just listening and adjusting our services to solve their problems.”

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