Take your business to new heights
MISSION: Provide our clients a myriad of timely, high quality services through safe, certified and insured drone flight to meet their aerial needs.
VISION: Be an industry leader in commercial aerial drone services.
Rick W. Mills
President, Owner and CEO
Rick Mills is the founder and owner of DroneAscent LLC. He developed the passion to start his own company after recently becoming active in the drone community. Rick is also a flight instructor for Dart Drones – an industry leader in providing drone instruction.
Rick has been a private pilot since 1990 and has flown numerous single engine planes throughout the United States, including the Cessna 152, 162, 172, 172RG, 182, and Navy T34 Trainer. On an interesting note, Rick also had the honor to fly in an F/A-18 while the Navy Blue Angels were participating in the 2010 Chicago Airshow.
He also served as Superintendent of Manatee County Schools from March 2013 to May 2015. Prior to his position in Manatee County, Rick was the Chief Executive Officer of Minneapolis Public Schools from July 2011 to March 2013. He served ten years in Chicago Public Schools in various educational leadership positions from July 2001 to July 2011. His tenure includes two years as Chief Area Officer (Area Superintendent) for 26 High Schools and three years as Area Instructional Officer for six military academy high schools. While serving in Chicago, Rick was appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley as Chair of the Chicago Memorial Day Parade and Weekend from 2009 to 2011.
Prior to his employment with Chicago Public Schools, Rick had a distinguished 25-year career in the United States Army where he served in a myriad of assignments: Cavalry Squadron Commander; Political-Military Officer at United States Central Command; Plans Officer at United Nations Jerusalem, Assistant Professor at the United States Military Academy; and Tank Company Commander, 2nd Battalion 5th Cavalry. Rick retired at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in July 2001; his decorations include the Legion of Merit, Ranger Tab and Parachutist Badge.
Vice President of Administrative Services
Having been awarded the Dart drones Professional Operator Certificate and the Federal Aviation Administration Remote Pilot Certification, Ned has returned to the sky. In 1967, over the skies of Vietnam, he was awarded the Army Air Medal and the Army Commendation Medal with a device for Valor for his actions after being shot down over enemy territory.
Ned’s military career did not end there. He served honorably for the next 22 years in both leadership and administrative positions throughout the world using the skills obtained from the University of Maryland, Roosevelt University and the University of Indianapolis where obtained Masters degrees in Public and Business Administration.
Upon military retirement he was hired by the Chicago Public Schools as a Junior Reserve Officers Training instructor. Subsequently promoted to the position of an Academy Commandant in 1999, he opened and commanded the nationally known General George S. Patton Jr. ROTC Academy. That 20 year career completed his second retirement and then opened the doors for a return to the air.
Vice President of Operations
Bob Warfel has been a commercial pilot for 23 years, he is typed in turbo-prop and jet aircraft. He is also a certified flight instructor for the FAA and a drone instructor for DartDrones LLC. Bob had been operating his own small drone business for the last year before he decided to join the Drone Ascent team and bring his clients into the fold.
He brings with him over 20 years of experience in the aviation industry and working with the FAA to our team.
Ryan C. Bremner
Vice President of Technology Services
Ryan received his bachelor’s degree in Digital Art from Florida State University in 2000, and earned his master’s degree in Instructional Design and Technology from Full Sail University in 2009. Ryan has worked in the public education sector for 15 years, most recently as the Senior Web and Media Developer for Manatee County schools, where he managed the implementation of 53 separate web presence serving nearly 5,000 employees, 50,000 students and the community at large.
He currently serves as a member of the Florida Technology Student Association and freelances graphic, web and video production in his off hours. He has a love of learning, design, and keeping up to date with emergent technologies. He is proficient in content and learning management systems; data management, design for print and web; mobile app management; and video production. Ryan is certified in several Adobe products and web technologies. He is active in martial arts, enjoys scuba diving and augmented reality gaming with his family. Ryan currently resides in an 88-year old limestone cottage (with the original tin-tile roof!) in Bradenton, FL with his wife and daughter.
Vice President of Marketing and Communications
Lorrie brings 18 years of Marketing Communication experience to DroneAscent from a variety of corporate industries and non-profit organizations across the United States. She received her B.A. in Communications from New England College and her M.A. in Business Communications and Public Relations from Emerson College.
A lifelong love of writing evolved into creating targeted content for print and digital communications for diverse audiences, event planning and public relations, radio commercial voiceovers, and conceptualizing and implementing branding efforts. In her spare time, Lorrie spends her time renovating her old Florida home, enjoying her Maltese dogs, and attending concerts and Red Sox games.
Enrico Schaefer, Esq.
General Legal Counsel
Enrico Schaefer, Esq. is a UAS pilot and technology lawyer. He is the founding partner of Traverse Legal, PLC and his firm operates www.dronelaw.pro. Enrico represents Fortune 100 and start-up companies on drone law, Part 107 compliance and other related issues. He is the author of many articles concerning drone regulations, Part 107, Section 333 Exemptions and FAA compliance.
Enrico has been a speaker on UAVs matters at the International Drone Conference, InterDrone, International Drone Expo, Michigan Parks and Recreation Expo and the Agricultural Claims Conference. He has had media appearances on MITech News, Robotics Business Review, The Steve Gruber Show (1240 WJIM Radio), WJR Radio (Detroit), DroneLife.com and "That Drone Show". Enrico and his firm Traverse Legal is the outside counsel to Ascent Drones, assisting with Part 107 compliance, business and intellectual property issues.