Get to know Propeller’s world-class team in our ongoing employee spotlight. Today, we talk to Brent Dargantes, who works as a GIS specialist on the data success team. Brent is based in Manila, Philippines.
What do you do at Propeller?
I’m a GIS specialist at Propeller, so I look at customer survey data, process it, and turn it into useful information. I also do customer support. So if anyone has any questions regarding Propeller or their data, when I’m on shift, I’ll be the one answering those through our website.
What’s your career background?
I have a bachelor’s degree in geodetic engineering from the University of the Philippines. Basically, that is equivalent to a surveying plus GIS plus remote sensing degree in other countries. It’s a five-year course of study and ends with a licensing exam for surveying, so I’m also a licensed surveyor.
After that, I started working on government projects, specifically on the fallout from Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated the Philippines in 2013. After that, I worked at a private construction surveying firm and got back to consulting for flood management plans for the government. I started working with drones when I was with a North Carolina company. There, I worked with John Frost, who now runs Propeller’s business development team, on a project that had to do with satellite imagery. I must have impressed him because when John came to Propeller, he recommended me. He’s the reason I’m here.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a small town called Baybay, Leyte, in an area in the Philippines called the Visayas. It was a typical rural lifestyle: wake up early, go to bed early, eat fresh food.
Then I transferred to Manila, the biggest (and capital) city in the Philippines for university. That’s where my career started and stayed, so I’ve been there for almost ten years now.
Before working at Propeller, what’s the strangest or most interesting job you’ve held?
The strangest job I had was doing those flood management projects for the government. I had to survey and visit all the drainage areas in Metro Manila, which was not a good sight. I had to talk with people who were very angry with the government because they were being kicked out of their homes due to flooding.
At the same time, I had to survey how much garbage there was in the nearby rivers. There was one time that I fell and landed in a drainage canal and got myself covered with muck.
What’s your favorite Propeller memory?
It’s when I onboarded in Sydney when I started working at Propeller. It was my first time in the Southern Hemisphere and I’d never been to Australia before. Just meeting the whole team of people there, in person, was spectacular. It was kinda scary at first because I had to memorize all these names and all these faces, but once I got the hang of that, it was really fun. I was there for two full weeks.
Any talents, secret superpowers, or fun facts about yourself to share?
I really like to cook. That’s one of my things, especially to unwind, and especially when I go back to visit my hometown. I don’t think that’s something everyone knows—they seem shocked when I reveal that I can cook Italian or American dishes.
If you could be any piece of worksite technology, what would you be and why?
For a worksite, I’d be the safety boots. This is because no worksite I’ve ever been to allows people on site without them. They’re the basis of how you work. Even though they can get muddy and literally get stepped on, they do the important job of keeping people physically safe every day.
If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
I’d like to have the power to control magnetism because I was always really intrigued with Magneto from the X-Men. Everything you see in the world now is covered with metal, so I think it’d be a pretty powerful ability to have. My only weakness would be plastic or something.
Do you have an office nickname? If so, what is it and how did you get it?
Everyone just calls me Brent. Nothing special there.
What’s one thing you wish people understood better about Propeller?
Everyone should know that Propeller is always working to give you the best possible data and products. The thing we all like best is when our customers succeed. We know that getting a drone surveying program up and running on site or capturing an unusual site successfully can take time. But we’re here to help with that, too.
For my team and the customer success team, every single piece of advice we give is the result of research, consultations with super smart colleagues, and the work of other Propeller teams. A customer might be talking to one person about a problem, but they’re getting the knowledge of all of Propeller at once.