Mike Gerringer is a wildlife biologist and project manager for WEST and presently leads WEST’s drone program. Mike received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Cedarville University and a Master of Science degree from Indiana State University. Prior to joining WEST, Mike worked as a wildlife biologist at NaturEner, evaluating new eagle detection/deterrent technologies designed for wind projects. During his graduate research, Mike collaborated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Wildlife Research Center and the National Center for Atmospheric Research to evaluate an avian radar system for the FAA to determine if avian radar is an effective tool for addressing the hazards posed by bird-aircraft collisions at airports. Mike’s role in this evaluation involved design and implementation of field validation methods, training radar technicians, conducting drone flights and avian ground-truthing to test the detection and tracking capabilities of avian radar, and analyzing the results using advanced radar analysis software. Prior to graduate school, Mike served as a contractor at the Air Force Institute of Technology where he worked with engineers to derive bio-inspired cooperative control algorithms from the cooperative hunting behavior of Harris’ hawk, applying them to the cooperative control of multiple drones with applications to reconnaissance missions and infrastructure monitoring.
Mike has over 10 years of experience conducting wildlife studies and has a broad research background with experience working with biologists from Cornell University, Virginia Tech, The Ohio State University, the Air Force Institute of Technology, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Bureau of Land Manager, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, state agencies, solar/wind companies, and environmental consulting companies. He is also a licensed drone pilot with more than 10 years of flight experience, specializing in use of drones for a variety of wildlife surveys and applications. Mike has extensive experience in advanced mission planning, problem solving, and study design and implementation for drone survey methods. He is also an accomplished aerial photographer with experience producing content for major television networks; these photography skills play a critical role in ensuring appropriate exposure when collecting UAS imagery deliverables. His experience at WEST includes conducting and managing solar and wind pre- and post-construction wildlife studies, managing WEST’s drone program, collaborating with WEST’s artificial intelligence (AI) team to develop and implement drone-AI survey methods to automate the detection of wildlife, and technical report and publication writing.