Aerial support company focuses on safety and accuracy.

OneSpan, based in Birmingham, Alabama, is an aerial support company specializing in utility work. The operator employs a full staff of pilots, mechanics, and utility linepeople and operates all project-required equipment and tools, offering a full-service utility support structure. One of three companies run by parent corporation DaVinciSKY Group, OneSpan owns and operates three MD 500 helicopters and contracts with other operators when jobs call for additional or larger aircraft.

Another company in the group, DaVinciSKY Engineering and Management, provides helicopter operation consultation, audits, and support as helicopter subject-matter experts in aerial utility operations. This work, in turn, supports OneSpan.

Holistic Support
“The one thing that sets us apart is how our companies work together for the safety and accuracy of the job,” explains OneSpan principal and CEO Gretchen Bailey Johnson. “With DaVinciSKY, we help utility companies write a scope of work to ensure the safety of the project and the accuracy of their requests for bids. Recently, we had a major utility using the wrong kind of Skycrane in the RFP. If we’d not been able to step in, they’d have been off by $10,000 an hour.

“We also opened a distribution and storm group that acts as a storm-readiness team,” adds Johnson. “We can call up 200 to 300 workers and the required equipment, which includes helicopters, within 24 hours to respond to storms. These companies work with OneSpan to help us provide holistic support to our customers.”

Johnson adds that OneSpan is more competitive as a result of its sister companies. A deep understanding of the job scope and contractor needs helps OneSpan better coordinate work plans with various stakeholders to complete the job quickly and on budget.

The Total Package
OneSpan’s work includes utility construction, utility maintenance, and aerial inspections of all job sizes. With a full team of aviation professionals, utility linepeople, and a transmission tower erection team, it markets itself as being able to coordinate work plans with various stakeholders and seamlessly execute a job safely and professionally.

OneSpan’s equipment capabilities include the ability to lift up to 25,000 lb. and perform precision placements for infrastructure development, heavy-load relocation, transmission line construction, transmission tower erection, and hydroelectric and renewable-energy project support.

OneSpan aerial inspections include comprehensive visual, infrared, and ultraviolet examinations. The company markets its technology-supported aerial surveys as helping utilities improve their system reliability by identifying high-resistance contacts, short circuits, open circuits, and overloads.

Since launching in 2018, OneSpan has experienced 171% growth. As a wholly owned company, it doesn’t have investors and is currently debt free, both of which help the company run safely without outside pressures, Johnson says. Her secret to success?

“We recruit, hire, and retain the best by offering support to our employees and their whole families based on the kind of work they do,” she says. “When you treat your employees and their families well, they stay with you and help you grow.”

Author

  • Jen Boyer is the principal of her own firm, Flying Penguin Communications. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and holds commercial, instrument, flight instructor, and instrument instructor ratings in helicopters and a private rating in airplanes. She has worked as a professional journalist and marketing communicator in the aviation industry since the early 1990s.

Jen Boyer

Jen Boyer

Jen Boyer is the principal of her own firm, Flying Penguin Communications. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and holds commercial, instrument, flight instructor, and instrument instructor ratings in helicopters and a private rating in airplanes. She has worked as a professional journalist and marketing communicator in the aviation industry since the early 1990s.