Rich Gatanis, UAS Program Coordinator, Southern Manatee Fire Rescue District
Rich Gatanis began his career in 2003 as a Firefighter/EMT/HazMat Technician with Southern Manatee Fire Rescue located in Manatee County, Florida. In 2015, Rich took on the role of UAS Coordinator at SMFR by creating a UAS program within his agency. Since then, SMFR has become a national leader in developing and implementing policy and best practices for UAS response in hazardous materials and special operations. His innovative and forward thinking led him to develop specialized devices that allows a drone to carry chemical, gas, and radiation detectors into an area to remotely monitor the air in real time using onboard camera systems. Rich’s passion for UAS in public safety led him to join the team at flymotion in 2017. While at flymotion he worked closely with many public safety agencies across the country to develop drone programs and provide equipment. His knowledge of policy, training and UAS regulations has helped him assist those agencies in creating their own internal policies and protocols.In 2020, Rich Joined the Manatee County Search and Rescue Team as the UAS Team Lead. MC-SAR is a Non-Profit Search and Rescue team made up of current and previous Public Safety professionals with a passion for helping the community. MC-SAR deploys regularly with local agencies for missing persons, water rescue and many other emergency operations.In 2021, Rich helped form the Florida Public Safety UAS Coordination Group (FLOGRU). The DRONERESPONDERS Florida Public Safety Coordination Group establishes the framework for public safety agencies and emergency services organizations to directly collaborate with industry, government, and academia through the combined expertise of AIRT and AUVSI members with the State of Florida. Throughout Rich’s career with SMFR, MC-SAR and FLOGRU, he has worked closely with industry leaders involved in the development of technology for UAS operations in public safety.