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Employee Spotlight: Abigail Surdoval


Mary-Lou Smulders

Abigail Surdoval director of public safety dedrone

As Dedrone's Director of Public Safety, can you tell us a bit more about your day to day activities? Does your job involve a lot of travel? Do you visit a lot of correctional facilities? How do you help support them and local governments?

My day-to-day activities include checking in on current customer systems to analyze the drone activity from the prior day and week, then reaching out to the customer with any concerning flights that I find. I want to ensure the system is still suiting their needs. I also call on potential customers that are interested in drone detection to share more about our solution.

Prior to Covid, I did a lot of travel and visited many different correctional facilities. I found this very intriguing to learn about the daily workflow of these kinds of facilities and how Dedrone’s solution could help eliminate some of their problems. A lot of facilities knew they had drone threats but needed more help to mitigate them. As the Director of Public Safety at Dedrone, it is my role to help corrections officials mitigate the threat that drones pose to operations.  

You are the first US Dedrone employee, correct? Can you tell us about how you got hired for the job and what it was like in the early days? How have things changed?

Yes, I started with Dedrone in September of 2015. I had left my previous job at Tyco Integrated Security as a Commercial Account Manager after my second child was born. At the time, I was waitressing at a local restaurant when I received a call about an interview for an office assistant position with a company looking to sell drone detection technology. After the interview I was offered the position, and though I didn’t know much about drones, I embraced this new role and learned so much in the early days about drones and drone detection.

I worked for our COO and co-founder’s business partner here in Charleston, WV. I developed a great relationship with our German team while there was no one else here in the States. At first, I worked on building relationships and educating potential customers about the threat of drones and why they needed drone detection. It has been amazing to see how the market has grown to realize the threat and how our single sensor has grown into the market leader as a drone detection solution.

What do you like best about working at Dedrone?

Confucius once said, “choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life!” Dedrone gave me the confidence to be the best that I can be! Dedrone is more than just a career, it is a family.

What do you think is the most important element of airspace security that the organizations you work with don't always understand?

Airspace security is absolutely needed because drone threats are growing and not going away. Customers need to understand that they need a solution that will scale with the threat and that not just one sensor will protect them, but rather a solution that integrates multiple sensor modalities to combat their threat at each facility. The Dedrone solution can offer them just that and scale based on their needs.

Can you share a bit more about what you enjoy in your free time?

My kids play on the club soccer team, WVFC, here in WV, so we spend a lot of time watching them play! My sons and I are very involved in fostering small animals, mainly kittens and puppies. We have been fostering and transporting for the last 6 years, and over that time I would say we have been a part of helping over 300 animals! Fostering gave me a purpose here in Huntington, WV and helped me build a network of others who want to make a difference. The best part has been seeing my kids thrive and their passion for helping animals. I have been asked many times, how can you foster and not get attached? Well, my kids and I always remember that if we didn’t foster, then that could be a life lost, so we are their second chance and that overcomes the sadness in letting them go.

Along with small animal rescue, I met a friend, Tinia, about 3 years ago who founded the horse rescue, Heart of Phoenix, here in WV. I have always had a love for horses, but never lived in an area to have the ability to be around them often. When I was 16, I always dreamed of going to veterinary school for horses in Colorado. Now, Tinia and I have become so close that I am asked to join her on round ups, transports and to help at their main event the Appalachia Trainer Face Off.

This is such an amazing rescue, so if you are interested in learning more, you can check them out on Facebook or Google! The feral horse population here in WV, OH, KY is unbelievable and not well known.

What do you love about where you live?

When I first moved to Huntington, WV from Pittsburgh it was very difficult. I was older, worked from home and pregnant with my second child. It took me a very long time to love where I live, however 8 years later I would never consider moving. WV brought me into the Dedrone family, it has allowed me to help animals which was always my passion and has brought me a close group of friends who are also my family.

I have two boys, Preston who is 10 and Evan who is 7. They are my world and love watching them grow. Preston plays soccer for WVFC and has grown so much over the last 2 seasons, and I just really love watching him grow, since he is my shy and more reserved child. His love for animals and others makes my heart happy. Evan also plays for WVFC and loves playing goalie, he also plays basketball and baseball and wants just loves to be out playing and I love watching him give it his all each time!


Mar 24, 2023

| Updated

Mar 24, 2023

About the author

Mary-Lou Smulders is the Chief Marketing Officer at Dedrone, where she leads Dedrone's global marketing and communications team.

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