February 1, 2016

Dobbs’ ’09 Drone Work Recognized by Forbes

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Gabriel Dobbs ’09, who uses his legal background to help shape regulatory drone rules, was recognized as one of nine Cornellians named to Forbes’ 2016 ‘30 Under 30’ list.

With the surge in drone use in recent years, Dobbs said he has worked to eliminate human work and human error from a number of different processes.

“There are a ton of beneficial uses of small unmanned aircraft systems,” Dobbs said. “My work has focused on how this technology can remove human beings from doing a lot of dangerous and time consuming jobs in the real world.”

Dobbs currently works as director of business development and policy at Kespry Inc. — a California-based company that designs and builds a commercial drone system from the hardware to the data processing.

Describing his job, Dobbs said there is no “typical day” at Kespry.

“When I’m in the office, I reach out to new customers, work on large partnerships and distribution deals and keep up on regulatory news in the drone world,” he said. “Most of the time I’m onsite with our customers, where I do everything from training to interviewing them about how we can make our product better and help them save time, money and improve safety on their job sites.”

While at Cornell, Dobbs majored in mathematics and was an op-ed columnist for The Sun. He also studied Greek mythology, cooking and wines.

“Taking a mix of courses at Cornell gave me the strong opinion that you should pursue off-the-beaten path passions in college since they often end up being more valuable than more conventional studies,” he said. “Learning how to learn is important, as is enjoying yourself in a beautiful place and making friends with a bunch of smart, motivated people with varied interests.”

After graduating from Cornell, Dobbs worked as a software engineer at Cisco and an analyst at ValueAct Capital before studying law and business at Stanford.

“I’ve always looked for businesses and technologies that present dramatic opportunities to change and improve how people live, but also will require updates to our laws and policies to be truly effective,” he said.

Continuing in his interest in interdisciplinary pursuits, Dobbs said that he has aimed to work at the “intersection of law, business and technology.”

“[I] saw the many challenges companies face when they want to do incredibly ambitious things like remove human beings from driving, make c

ommercial space launch affordable or allow individuals access to personalized data about their genome,” he said.

Dobbs credits many of successes to his time at Cornell, citing the strength of the school’s alumni network and bonds between its graduates.

“Being part of the Cornell community definitely impacts you when you run into other alumni, because you instantly have a bond from this very special place and have so many shared experiences no matter when you graduated,” Dobbs said.