Jeremy Latchaw, President
As a veteran Army officer with well over a decade of experience in military accompanied by an entrepreneurship background, Jeremy Latchaw thoroughly understands the significance of unmanned aerial vehicles in public safety. Aerial imagery can be of great help in gathering data from a different angle to better understand the operational picture and enhance decision-making process creating a secure environment,” states Latchaw, Founder and President of Macatawa Unmanned Systems. To bring the advantage of aerial imagery to the corporate world, Latchaw founded Macatawa Unmanned Systems that focuses on helping businesses and government agencies develop unmanned security capabilities at expert levels. As subject matter experts, the company’s experienced professionals ensure clients get the products and services they need by understanding their constraints and limitations.
Zeroing in on the Right UAS Programs
Macatawa solves clients’ biggest challenges of navigating the ever-growing regulatory landscape as well as technological advancements in unmanned devices by offering them the most suitable solutions that are certified, based on their needs. As consultants, Macatawa works with clients to understand their risks and suggest methods to mitigate them, which include providing the most suitable unmanned systems such as aircraft and drones. “Before implementing any project, we complete all the paperwork mandated by the FAA and get their approval to continue with the UAS program,” says Latchaw. The company offers an open book approach whereby Macatawa experts will first understand client’s requirements and security program, and then start building the program by breaking it down into the equipment and training required as per the budget. Macatawa offers both high end as well as bottom range recommendations to suit the client’s budget requirements. “We then help develop stakeholder briefing,putting together the concept, outputs, use cases, and savings of implementing a particular UAS program.” The briefing can be presented to the concerned stakeholder which in public client cases may be the city council or commission while that for a private company would be a CEO or President. According to each stakeholder, the company puts together all the relevant data.
What sets us apart from other firms working in public safety sector is that we understand the full gamut of the industry, from the types of aircraft to the types of technologies and sensors that are available, to countering unmanned systems operated by rouge actors
Macatawa covers many areas of unmanned systems, including Underwater Unmanned Vehicle (UUV) sales, online and classroom training, Counter-UAS, and technologies that support those systems. Latchaw points out the growing use of small UAS (sUAS) for gaining enhanced common operational picture and identifying hot spots. In response to this, Macatawa offers high-end sUAS to help clients have the capability to get eyes on the ground during a search and rescue.“We guide clients through best methods and purchases that not only take into account their constraints and limitations, but also allows them to take full advantage of a sUAS,” explains Latchaw. With enhanced solutions such as thermal cameras and sUAS, clients can instantly spot individuals on the ground, thereby finding lost children, animals, and others quickly when time matters. “This can be one of the most useful tools to enhance the safety of firefighters and the local population, which is why we fortify our clients with the required training, FAA approval, and help them ensure they have the right SOGs and SOPs to begin operations,” explains Latchaw. Macatawa also offers UUVs for affordably conducting underwater searches. The company’s low-cost UUVs can travel up to 300 ft deep, allowing clients to search underwater without the need for divers and saving time as well as valuable resources.
"Before implementing any project, we complete all the paperwork mandated by the FAA and get their approval to continue with the UAS program"
The company can also offer additional functionalities such as 30 times optical zoom to help clients see farther distances and thermal imagery that helps identify heat sources. Macatawa can also provide parachutes from its partners to clients with advanced requirements. The data captured from these aerial imagery devices, be it images or videos, can then be used by clients to mitigate risks. For instance, if a parade or a football game is going on, an aircraft or drone can capture the entire event and live stream it to the command center for securing it effectively. Importantly, the data is instantly and securely transferred to the command center without getting stored anywhere, maintaining complete security. Apart from the core UAS devices, rescue operations require numerous accessories including payload drop systems, speakers, and tethers to help with operations. Macatawa has the expertise to help clients narrow down their needs and make recommendations for a quality solution.
Setting up Security Programs In-house
Macatawa also empowers clients to set up their own program by recommending the right equipment as well as providing training services. The company trains the clients on how to use the equipment and get approval from regulatory bodies for both public as well as private sector companies. The company offers flight training on multiple DJI sUAS products as well as common tactics, techniques, and procedures for different operational needs. These include FLIR Thermography, Mapping, Crew Safety, and others. Similarly, Macatawa offers numerous online high-end industry courses through the Unmanned Safety Institute, which meet industry standards and qualify pilots and programs for further professional sUAS pilot certifications.“What sets us apart from other firms working in public safety sector is that we understand the full gamut of the industry,from the types of aircraft to the types of technologies and sensors that are available,” extols Latchaw. Macatawa helps integrate the new types of technologies into clients existing operations seamlessly unlike other vendors who simply sell the solutions or offer consulting services. What’s more, the company also empowers clients to protect their assets from unwanted drone UAS activity.
Macatawa caters to public safety needs of numerous firms. Latchaw believes that most often these firms already know the use case but do not have the required know how to get a UAS in place. The company helps these clients in the entire lifecycle, starting from acquiring the right hardware devices to getting training to mitigate the risks concerned. He proudly states that the company’s services on aircraft usage and training as well as its ability to mitigate risks of these aircraft are second to none in the industry. In addition, Macatawa’s high-end partners such as DJI and FLIR also give the company a leading edge in the marketplace.
Backed by a team of experts including system operators, trainers, and integrators having a combined experience in developing unmanned training for the U.S. Army and devising sUAS programs, Macatawa has been instrumental in helping clients create their own unmanned systems department. “With nine years of experience in developing unmanned training for the U.S. Army, three years of experience in large municipality’s development of sUAS programs, and rich expertise in training unmanned systems, our team offers a cutting edge over to clients,” exclaims Latchaw. The company’s team of experts includes UAS mechanics, system operators, trainers, and integrators. As the helmsman of the power-packed team, Latchaw brings the required breadth and depth of experience needed to understand clients’ human capital and training needs quickly. His combat experience and seven years of experience in training the U.S. Army in counter-terrorism, his background helps public safety officials design state of the art tactics, techniques, and procedures needed to safeguard the nation. He also has an extensive background in large-scale disaster planning and assistance. Moving ahead, Macatawa is planning to expand geographically toward the east coast. The company is also looking at hiring more pilots to cater to its increasing client base.