Meet the team behind Volansi’s flying robots. Each week we share stories from the team at Volansi highlighting their journey to joining the team, how they help keep our drones taking off, and some quirky fun along the way.

Donna Barton

Title at Volansi: Senior Electrical Engineer

Joined the team: 2021

Hometown: Regina, Saskatchewan

Tell us a little bit about your background and the work you did before joining the Volansi team?

For most of my career, I’ve designed radio frequency and analog circuitry for a wide range of applications. I came to Oregon to work at Tektronix after graduating from Montana State University. Tektronix taught me phase-based (or gated) design, a disciplined approach that served me well in the medical device field and one which is applicable to avionics. A small company making a wireless vital signs monitor brought me to Central Oregon, and I’ve been here ever since. Bend favors engineers with flexibility and I’ve had the opportunity to work on a wide range of products including wrist-worn actigraphy, an in-field IV curve tester for solar panels and rapid diagnostic equipment for disease detection. Volansi is my first foray into avionics. 

In your own words, what do you do at Volansi?

provide electronics expertise to the Production and Maintenance facility here in Bend. That covers anything from writing Requirements Specifications for a new product to be designed by a contract manufacturer to drawing cable harness assemblies and troubleshooting production issues. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Enjoying the many outdoor opportunities Central Oregon has to offer is my first choice. I volunteer with Central Oregon Nordic Club (CONC) and Central Oregon Trail Alliance (COTA) to maintain and build trails and stock the ski shelters with wood. Woodworking and studying kung-fu are two other hobbies. Recently, I got a new puppy, and he is occupying a large portion of my time. 

Who are your heroes in aviation, drone, or logistics history? Why?

All of the over 400,000 individuals who worked on the original Apollo program. Each one had a vision of something bigger than themselves that they were willing to work toward together. Just imagine the place they were starting from – a computer was a person who did calculations, and they were shooting for the moonIn a very short amount of time, this group of amazing individuals invented or accelerated dozens of technologies, many of which were yet to be conceptualized. Talk about teamwork! 

We are in the dawn of unmanned flight and autonomous mobility. What are the applications that excite you most?

Deliveries to remote locations, especially in countries with insufficient infrastructure, and emergency relief are the two applications that excite me the most. Looking forward to seeing paradigms change in logistics.