Brian Halchak likes to tell young people interested in STEM degrees that the sky is the limit.
As the first of several FAA-licensed drone pilots for Williams, Halchak has spent a lot of time in the skies.
The engineer helped develop Williams’ unmanned aerial systems program, after seeing a need to gather images and data to map and mitigate potential landslides.
Williams now is using drones for surveying and mapping, monitoring construction and inspecting facilities for maintenance and repair.
“This technology is helping us become safer, more efficient and cost effective when we do our work,” he said.
Halchak’s current role with Williams takes things below the surface. As a horizontal directional drilling engineer, he designs and helps construct trenchless pipeline installations. These are necessary when a pipeline must go under a highway or body of water without disrupting the surface.
Doing that safely, while working closely with stakeholders, is just as satisfying as flying a remote aircraft 400 feet above the earth, he said.
“My job involves trouble-shooting sometimes,” he said. “I like the excitement of working on whatever is coming up next.”
Halchak, a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, started working at Williams as a college intern in 2014. He was hired in 2016 and has worked in Louisiana, Houston and West Virginia before moving to his current location in Connellsville, Pennsylvania.
“Williams is a great place for an engineer,” he said. “We are surrounded by intelligent people who are willing to share their knowledge.”