May 3, 2023

Why I joined Skydio: Christina Park

Christina Park headshot

Christina Park

Christina Park Headshot

When I entered MIT as a freshman once upon a time, I had declared myself to be a Materials Science/Chemistry major, but I found myself gravitating towards seminars like “Lego Robotics”, “How Things Work”, and “Design for Third World Applications”. By the end of my freshman year, I realized that what I really wanted to do was to understand problems, tinker, build with my hands, and optimize solutions. In short, that’s when I knew I wanted to be an engineer.

Professional Growth in the Energy Utility Industry

In 2007, after graduate school and a few years in nanotechnology at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, I entered the utility industry when I joined the New York Power Authority as a Hydro Engineer.

Over the next 13 years, I learned about power generation through major overhauls called Life Extension and Modernization programs at various power plants. First apprenticing then leading in a decade plus effort with the Lewiston Pump Generating Plant, it was deeply gratifying to see it through from design to manufacturing to commissioning.  And while the daily grind in the trenches was not always glamorous, it was rewarding to stand in the turbine gallery and know that I had a small part in bringing power to the State of New York.

Reliability and Asset Management

During the pandemic, like many others, I considered developing and expanding my career, so I made a transition to Strategic Operations into a department called Technology Programs.  What began as a project manager role evolved, and as the needs of Asset Management became evident, I grew to understand the larger enterprise-wide challenges of reliability and how critical it was to integrate people, process, and technology.

In 2022, there was a need for someone to lead the Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) Program, which had been around for about 20 years in starts and stops, but had never quite found its footing.

As part of a larger effort to frame the Asset Performance Program, I saw the value and necessity of RCM as a foundation, and my “boots on the ground” experience in Engineering working closely with the Operations staff at the sites helped me understand and connect with the ones who would ultimately benefit.

So without staff nor budget, but with the support and encouragement of my management that I was the right person to drive this forward, I set out with a peer to understand the different stakeholders and what success would look like up and down the chain.

Galvanizing that program led to the merging of RCM with Technology Programs, which evolved into what would become the Asset Intelligence Solutions department, which focused on operationalizing technology across the enterprise.

By standing up the RCM program and identifying gaps for Technical Enablement to bring solutions to scale, my department tested and incorporated robotics, sensors, and data analytics to connect problems to solutions.

Technical Enablement and Skydio Solutions

The Technical Enablement portion of my program consisted of four work streams, two of which were Robotics and AI/ML.

There were a variety of asset management and security use cases for which drones and AI analytics were applicable, and it became clear to me that amongst many vendors and technologies, Skydio was not just a hardware company - it was a software company with hardware that could fly.

The mechanical engineer in me gravitated towards the physical product, but the strategic side of me saw the possibilities in the solutions when properly matched up to the problems.

Connecting new solutions to long-standing challenges

I’m excited to assume my role as Sr. Director of Energy Marketing here at Skydio, where I will be creating and driving the strategy to connect the problems I’ve experienced and tackled within the Energy utility industry to the robust technology that the future holds.

Asset Management success can be distilled down to three key factors to optimize: cost, risk, and performance, and I believe that Skydio solutions can help utilities, municipalities, and co-operatives achieve these goals in a very tangible way.

Embracing the Skydio Vision and Culture

Above all, I love the simplicity and depth of the company vision: to make the world more productive, creative, and safe through autonomous flight. It’s something that every Skydian embodies and it’s reflected in the details of the culture - I felt that as a guest at the Dock Day product launch, and I feel it in every interaction and collaboration I’ve had since I started.

Reach out to me if there’s a problem you think we could help with!

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