Adam Bry ’08: From Oliner to CEO


Several years ago, as part of the Olin admissions process, students were asked to write a short news article depicting the success of their future achievements due in part to their Olin education. For alumnus Adam Bry, these newsworthy articles came much sooner than anticipated.

After graduating from Olin in 2008, Adam went on to join the MIT CSAIL program to pursue a Master’s degree in Aerospace. It was here that the accolades began, with Adam and his winning team being featured in the MIT News for successfully creating an autonomous robotic plane that could fly indoors.

Google[x] was the next stop for Adam, where he worked as a software engineer on Project Wing, to help build the next generation of automated aircraft. In the future, Project Wing hopes to be able to deliver everything from consumer goods to emergency supplies.

Building on his knowledge from Olin, MIT and Google, Adam and Matt Donahoe ‘08 set out to build their own drone company and in February of 2014, Skydio was founded. Adam’s rapid ascent to success has not gone unnoticed. He has been named to the MIT Technology Review’s 2016 edition of 35 Innovators under 35 as well as the Smithsonian’s 8 Innovators to watch in 2017 (side note: Olin Alumna, Etosha Cave ’06 is also on this list!).

Although most of the work that Adam and his team, which now also includes Jeff DeCew ’08, is not-yet-for-publication, he explains that the drones they are making are “fully autonomous and can do more than just avoid crashing into walls.” In a recent article for IEEE Spectrum, Adam notes that the drones are “using all of the info available from the environment to make intelligent decisions…similar to what an expert pilot would do.” To simplify the process even more, he says that “Ultimately, all the information a drone needs to be good at its job is in the images.”

Adam is no stranger to piloting and in an article on, we learn that when he was younger he was something of “…a radio-controlled airplane fanatic, a passion he channeled into multiple victories in national aerial acrobatics competitions.” So, it’s no surprise that he has chosen drones as his career path. We are anxious to see what’s next for Adam but in the meantime he leaves us with some sage advice:

“When I was at Olin I viewed networking as this artificial and uncomfortable thing that was important for success, but I would probably fail at. The thing that I've come to understand is that the strength and depth of relationships is much more important than the number of them. In my experience networking isn't about networking events, it's about working alongside talented people for a long period of time and developing a high level of mutual respect along with a deep understanding of people's skill sets. Talented people go onto to uncover interesting opportunities and share them with the people they know they can trust.”

Want to know more about Adam Bry? Just Google him, there’s lots out there and it’s all good!

Posted in: From the Staff