• Jonathan, Founder - Southern Drone OPS

    Inspired by his father and grandfather's dedication to crop-dusting, Jonathan developed a passion for aerial application that would lead him to found Southern Drone OPS. Growing up surrounded by aviation's rich legacy, he set out to make his mark while honoring his family's heritage.

    A full-time nurse practitioner, Jonathan's entrepreneurial spirit took flight in Jonesboro, Arkansas, where he helped establish a Photography & Videography studio. During an aerial shoot, the sight of a crop duster stirred memories of his family's work and ignited curiosity about the possibilities of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in agriculture.

    With the guidance of a mentor, a retired FAA, NASA, and Air Force fighter jet pilot, Jonathan laid the groundwork for Southern Drone Ops, turning vision into reality.

    Since its inception, Southern Drone Ops has emerged as a leading aerial applicator for agriculture, bridging tradition with innovation. Jonathan's unwavering commitment has positioned the company as a trusted name nationwide, extending its reach beyond agriculture to partnerships with various government entities.

    Jonathan's leadership continues to drive Southern Drone Ops to new heights, fostering innovation, safety, and excellence. Whether enhancing crop yields, safeguarding the environment, or delivering specialized applications, Southern Drone Ops stands as a reliable partner, committed to exceptional results.

    Join Jonathan and Southern Drone Ops on this remarkable journey as they redefine aerial application, building upon a family legacy that inspires innovation, one flight at a time.

    Contact Jonathan 
  • Gail, Director of Business Development - Southern Drone OPS

    Gail, the tenacious Director of Business Development at Southern Drone OPS, orchestrates all facets of the company's business strategies and connections. Her story begins in Batesville, Arkansas, and takes root in Saffell, a town founded by her grandfather four generations earlier.

    Growing up in this rural community, agriculture was more than a livelihood; it was the rhythm of daily life. As a young laborer in the fields during a time when child labor was permitted, Gail took on responsibilities that would be daunting for most, including handpicking cotton before mechanical cotton pickers were invented. These early experiences carved out an unyielding work ethic that has been the cornerstone of her remarkable career.

    Gail's journey led her to Jonesboro, where she established her permanent residence and embarked on an impressive 40-year career in manufacturing leadership. Her roles were as diverse as they were demanding, culminating in her retirement as the Safety and Training Human Resource Director for Post Foods.

    Retirement for Gail was far from a slowing down. She remained energetically engaged with life, balancing travel and raising her grandchildren with an unwavering passion for work. Joining Southern Drone Ops in 2021, initially part-time to oversee record-keeping, Gail's keen eye swiftly identified avenues for growth, helping to shape and expand the company into its current form.

    Now a full-time member of the Southern Drone OPS team, Gail's legacy of safety and training excellence is actively infused into the company's culture and practices. Her prior manufacturing leadership, coupled with a profound understanding of agriculture and a relentless drive, uniquely positions her to navigate the complex landscapes of business development.

    Gail's dedication, experience, and insight make her an invaluable asset to Southern Drone OPS, contributing not only to its present success but also paving the way for a promising and innovative future. Her journey, marked by hard work, determination, and wisdom, continues to inspire those around her and is central to the identity and growth of the company.

    Contact Gail 
  • Mike, Operations Director – Southern Drone OPS

    Mike, the Operations Director at Southern Drone OPS, is an accomplished drone data analyst and consultant, boasting multiple years of intensive experience within the drone data industry.

    With a dynamic career spanning over 20 years in information technology, Mike collaborated with IT professionals across the globe before diving headfirst into the exciting realm of UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) and Data Analytics. Renowned for his expertise in guiding IT professionals in their transition to successful managed service providers, Mike was a sought-after speaker at channel-focused trade events and a recipient of various industry accolades.

    Mike's transition into the drone world was marked by a specialized focus on business development and operations management. Over the last 5 years, he has worked intimately with drone service providers, agronomists, and crop consultants, strategically positioning aerial analytics within the agricultural domain. His insightful contributions extend to his collaboration with Solvi.ag, where he played a pivotal role in helping the Swedish company establish its presence in the North American market.

    But Mike's story doesn't begin in the skies. Before his successful venture into Data Analytics, GIS, and UAVs, he held prestigious positions such as Director of Field & Managed Services at Dell, Group Manager of Channel Services at GFI Software, and Senior Partner Development Specialist at N-able Technologies.

    His multi-faceted background and unique blend of technological know-how and business acumen make Mike an invaluable asset to Southern Drone OPS. His leadership continues to drive innovation, fostering partnerships, and expanding horizons in the rapidly evolving field of drone technology.

    Contact Mike 
  • Zechariah, Sales Manager - Southern Drone OPS

    Zec is a driven leader with a track record of promoting business growth and personal development. Over six years, he has honed his leadership, people skills, and financial management through continuous learning, effectively applying these to enhance workplace relationships and tackle challenges. His career includes pivotal roles at DroneUp, ensuring top customer service, and at BBVA, where he sharpened his sales and business development acumen.


    Recognized for his leadership with a promotion at UPS, Zec led a team of 15, focusing on performance and mentorship, and made notable impacts at Centro Resources, LLC, and through his entrepreneurial venture, Enjoy the Best, driving income growth.

    As a certified Scrum Master, Zec employs a structured project management approach, boosting team efficiency and customer satisfaction. At Southern Drone OPS, he champions innovative
    agricultural spray drone technology, embodying leadership, and service.

  • Judd, Service Director – Southern Drone OPS

    Judd, the seasoned Service Director and Chief of Operations at Southern Drone OPS, boasts extensive and unparalleled twelve years of flight experience within the company. His journey with remote-controlled aviation began in the mid-2000s, when he commenced building and designing RC airplanes, eventually transitioning into drones around 2010.

    Hailing from Memphis and raised in the rural community of Jonesboro, Arkansas, Judd's childhood fascination with electronics evolved into a profound mastery of modular electronics. Growing up surrounded by agricultural practices, his interest naturally extended into commercial applications, leading him to become a commercial applicator himself.

    Judd's family background, with a father who was a Nurse Anesthetist and a mother an Occupational Therapist, fostered his passion for healthcare, culminating in his certification as an Occupational Therapist Assistant.Judd's contributions to Southern Drone OPS reach far beyond his technical acumen. He shares a close bond of friendship with Jonathan, lasting nearly twenty-five years, and has been a foundational figure in Jonathan's own drone-flying journey.
    From the inception of Southern Drone Ops, Judd has been a steadfast supporter, guiding the process every step of the way—from research and training to licensing.Judd's expertise in electronic modifications has naturally translated into his current responsibilities overseeing service, repair, and software aspects of Southern Drone Ops.

    As Judd's travel commitments have grown, Judd has taken charge of the main office, providing steady leadership and day-to-day oversight.But Judd's impact doesn't end there. In addition to his office and service responsibilities, he serves as the Chief of Operations for Southern Drone Ops' field teams, utilizing his wealth of knowledge to continually innovate and elevate the company's offerings.With a unique blend of hands-on experience, technical prowess, and unwavering dedication, Judd exemplifies the spirit of Southern Drone OPS, contributing vitally to its ongoing success and growth.

    Contact Judd 
  • Grayson Chapman, Chief Pilot, Spray Operations Crew - Southern Drone OPS

    Southern Drone OPS is thrilled to announce Grayson Chambers as the Chief Pilot of our newly expanded second spray crew. Grayson brings a blend of technical skill and practical knowledge to the
    role, having completed an intensive apprenticeship under the mentorship of Jonathan Cottingham, our founder and CEO. His deep understanding of drone technology, combined with a robust background in agronomy, positions him uniquely to lead and innovate in precision agriculture.


    Under Jonathan's guidance, Grayson has honed his skills in executing complex spraying missions, emphasizing safety, efficiency, and the health of the crops. His leadership is instrumental in advancing our mission to integrate cutting-edge drone technology into everyday agricultural practices, ensuring our clients receive the best in crop management solutions. We are excited to see Grayson take on this new role and lead our second spray crew to new heights.  

  • Emma, Creative Design Director - Southern Drone OPS

    Emma is the driving force behind the creative excellence at Southern Drone OPS, serving as the team's Creative Design Director. With an impressive 3 years in the drone community, she has been intimately connected with the agricultural world throughout her life.

    Born and raised amidst the vast farmlands of Craighead County, Arkansas, Emma's childhood was filled with exploration of pastures, leisurely strolls along the field rows, and absorbing the rhythmic pulse of farming life. These experiences have deeply shaped her approach to drone design, infusing her work with authenticity and a love for agriculture.Emma's partnership with farmers goes beyond mere observation.

    She recognizes the vital role that strategic investments play in enhancing the family farm's bottom line. Her focus on improving herd health, boosting yield, and reducing pollution reflects a commitment to sustainability and innovation that's rooted in 13+ years of diverse working experience.

    At Southern Drone OPS, Emma's responsibilities extend beyond internal projects. She also lends her expertise to new drone businesses, helping them to carve out a distinctive presence in their local communities. Her comprehensive understanding of today's digital landscape ensures that she's well-equipped to navigate the expanding e-commerce world, where engaging content is paramount.

    Whether she's working on an internal initiative for SDO or collaborating with emerging enterprises, Emma's multifaceted skills enable her to take on any media challenge with speed and effectiveness. Her passion for her craft, coupled with her deep connection to agriculture, makes her a vital asset to the Southern Drone OPS team.

    Contact Emma 
  • Caleb, Social Media Content Creator - Southern Drone OPS

    Caleb, the content creator for Southern Drone OPS, has many years of experience in the photo/video industry and also graduated college with a bachelor’s in fine arts. He created his media business in early 2023 and continues to work with individuals and companies to generate content for them.


    Caleb is a visionary in the realm of visual storytelling, mastering the art of both video and photography with finesse and creativity. My expertise transcends mere technical skill; it's a fusion of artistic flair, technical proficiency, and a deep understanding of your audience, but his talent doesn't stop at the capture phase. Caleb is also a master in post-production, skilled in editing techniques that elevate your content to new heights. From color grading to sound design, he meticulously polish every aspect of his work, resulting in a final product that is not just high-quality but also deeply engaging.


    He has a keen eye for composition, lighting, and detail sets you apart, ensuring that every frame you capture is not just visually stunning but also carries a narrative weight. You effortlessly blend different visual elements to create a cohesive story that
    resonates with your audience.

Southern Drone OPS Mission

At Southern Drone Ops, our mission is to provide the safest, highest quality, and innovative drone experiences to the next generation of visionaries. We ourselves, are third generation aerial applicators who are committed to helping others utilize spray drone technology for agriculture, business or community needs.

We also have mission is to empower farmers to take control of their own land and harvest. We believe in bringing precision agriculture to the mainstream, revolutionizing farming practices and ensuring a sustainable future. Through innovative drone solutions and advanced analytics, we aim to equip farmers with the tools and knowledge they need to make informed decisions, optimize yields, and drive productivity. Our mission is driven by a passion for transforming agriculture and empowering farmers to thrive in an ever-changing industry.