3 Lessons We Learned Transitioning to New Technology

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Guide to Drone Series: Which Photogrammetric Platforms Fit Your Solution?

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The Women of Firmatek and Their Industry Involvement

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As Women’s History Month comes to a close, we want to reflect on the purpose this designated recognition serves in our society. March is a month to appropriately honor and recognize the value that women create in the workplace and in our communities. At Firmatek, we see the importance in recognizing the role each employee plays in our continuing success, and this month, we want to highlight the women of Firmatek.

Firmatek provides a lot of services in male-dominated industries, such as Mining, Construction, and Technology. Despite the unique challenges that women face in male-dominated industries, many women are thriving in these fields.  The women of Firmatek are no exception.

While stats for our industry may not be great, for example less than 6 percent of FAA certified drone pilots are women and less than 10 percent of the construction industry is made up of women, there are a few organizations working to increase the number of women in our industries and celebrate our successes. Women Who Drone and International Women in Mining are two examples. For our part, we were excited to welcome four new women to our operations and sales teams recently. These women bring great experience and new perspectives to our team.

Here’s what they have to say about why they are excited to be a part of Firmatek and working in the industries we serve:

Kate Steger, Business Development Representative

“Working in a male-dominated industry, it is great to work with so many other hard-working women within the company. Firmatek does a great job allowing every one of our voices to be heard in order to help continuously improve our processes and overall structure. As we continue to expand our markets and expertise, I am proud to tell clients who I represent, what we’re doing, and where we are headed.”


Sarah Olivares, Geospatial Data Processor

“I look forward to coming into work every day because I know the value of what we are accomplishing as a team. It’s my first time working in this specific industry. Prior to this, I was in construction. It’s nice to see where our materials come from and how important it is to know how much is going in and out. Being a part of a company that efficiently aids in that knowledge process is personally satisfying.”


Ashely Arnold, Geospatial Field Technician

“What I love about getting to work for Firmatek is that it provides me with a sense of freedom that I have not gotten in any other job or opportunity.”




Erin Jean, Geospatial Field Technician

“I enjoy working at Firmatek because of the people. Everyone has been so friendly and welcoming. Working in this industry is great because every day is something new— whether it is being in a new place, facing new problems, or learning new technologies. Being a woman in this field proves difficult in many ways, so overcoming every obstacle becomes that much more rewarding.”


Kelli Kersey, Office Manager

“Working in this industry is amazing because of all the new techniques and new technology that has evolved since I started in this business 15 years ago. The people at Firmatek are so fun that you can’t help but love working here.”


By building communities within our companies and our  industries, we can get more women excited about careers in Mining, Engineering, Construction, and Drones.  Women in our industry can also become the role models and inspiration for the next generation. We can encourage them to follow their passions and jump into STEM careers, like mine planning and drone piloting. You can read about some of the inspirational women doing this today on Women and Drones.

We come from diverse backgrounds, and we play different roles in the company, but we all love the work we do and are excited to be a part of this industry. The women of Firmatek play an important part in the success of Firmatek, and we are glad that they have chosen to share their talents with us!

Main image by Guinn Partners.


Use Technology to Avoid Common Stockpile Measuring Mistakes

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By Lauren Elmore. Published in Aggregates Manager.

Stockpile measurements are an integral part of running a successful aggregates business. Operating efficiency and profits depend on stockpile measurements, yet many aggregates operations are guilty of making numerous common mistakes.

Leaders in the aggregates industry know their business, but they don’t generally know the ins and outs of the technology used to measure it. Gathering data can be extremely complex, and a skilled professional can find and address issues in order to deliver the best results possible. To keep everything moving forward in an organization, working with a service company is one of the most effective solutions for gathering and processing data into a usable form.

Stockpile measurements aren’t 100 percent perfect, but operators should focus on making accuracy one of their top priorities. With a more refined picture of stockpiles, an operator can base decisions on sound data instead of deceptive estimates, improving efficiency and boosting profit margins. To solve some of the most common measurement problems, keep the following strategies in mind.

1. Choose the right technology for your needs.

To manage resources, an operator has to measure them accurately. Depending on the types of technologies used, operations are often left with incomplete data sets. They may not be able to measure the entire pile, which means they need to make assumptions that will affect decisions down the road.

The best way to obtain accurate measurements is to use the right mix of technology. For most sites, a drone or a mix of terrestrial LIDAR and drones will be a good mix. However, if the operator has a very large site (more than 5,000 acres), aircraft-based LIDAR or photogrammetry may be a good option to collect accurate data.

2. Measure consistently.

Infrequent measurements that are only made once or twice per year can also contribute to errors in inventory, and these mistakes will impact operations and sales.

In the aggregates industry, quarries and yards are dynamic environments. Huge machines are capable of moving thousands of tons of material in a single day. Over the course of weeks and months, entire landscapes can change, rendering previous measurements obsolete.

Quarterly or monthly measurements are a good starting point for most operations. Some operations that move a lot of material may need to measure as frequently as weekly in order to obtain a strong understanding of the material they have on the ground.

3. Make adjustments instead of corrections.

Many operations simply correct numbers when they find an inconsistency in measurements. While updating the books to reflect reality is a necessary step, it also fails to take into account the source of the problem.

Instead, adjustments must be made to determine why numbers are off so that the inconsistency doesn’t continue to manifest itself. Density numbers are a frequent source of error — if the density is off by even a tenth of a ton per cubic yard, the inventory measurement may be woefully inaccurate.

Data is revolutionizing our world, and the aggregates industry is no different. Innovative measurement techniques have led to improvements in safety, accuracy, and affordability, encouraging industry leaders to view consistent stockpile measurements as an investment instead of a cost. Accurate measurements give organizations the confidence to make good decisions, ultimately leading to better business outcomes.