A portrait photo of Madhav Desetty, Chief Software Architect for Airbus Aerial.

Madhav Desetty and Jay Dellinger are managers of Airbus Aerial’s Back End Development team. Having been with the company almost since its inception, both have had a direct hand in its growth. The general consensus of Aerial’s employees is that Madhav and Jay are incredibly intelligent and kind hearted. It seems like the best-case scenario in terms of a company’s culture, that some of the most senior employees are held in such high regard.

Madhav worked at Hexagon Geospatial before joining Aerial in the same role of chief architect. An acquaintance informed him of the startup backed by Airbus that planned to develop a geospatial platform, and introduced him to Aerial president, Jesse Kallman. Although the interest in building a product from scratch was present, pursuing work with a startup is often risky, because of the chance that the company will lose funding. “I got a lot of [opportunities] like that,” Madhav says. “People would want me to move to North Carolina or California.” As someone with a family rooted in Georgia, he never agreed to relocate. Thankfully, the backing of a well-established company like Airbus provided Aerial with stability and resources.

Jay previously worked at Manheim, the world’s largest wholesale car auction company, for 17 years. He expected to work there until he retired (there were great benefits), but hoped to work with a company more dedicated to innovation. “It was a career, but it felt like a job.” Additionally, his background had little to do with car sales: he had studied aerospace engineering, had previously worked for NASA, and has a pilot’s license. Airbus Aerial seemed to be a logical fit, but like Madhav, Jay only entertained the thought of working for the startup because it was backed by a stable company.

When Madhav joined Aerial, the most pressing task was to build a team as quickly as possible. He spent his first months recruiting through Georgia Tech and Angellist. It was a slow process due to the high volume of applicants, and might have been impossible to search through without the assistance of Airbus’ HR. Jay submitted his application and then contacted Madhav directly. His initiative definitely helped his chances of getting hired. “It was only when he sent me an email that I went back to the portal and looked up [his resume],” Madhav says. “There was a chance that I would have missed it because there were so many applications coming in.”

Outside of work, it can be difficult to find time to relax, as both Madhav and Jay have very active children. When they aren’t shepherding kids between school and extracurriculars, both men enjoy sports and travel. A few years ago, Madhav hiked the Grand Canyon with friends after training for four months. He solemnly advised me not to feed the squirrels. “There’s a good chance that the squirrels in the canyon still carry the Black Plague.” I told him that I’d steer clear of the area altogether. Jay has participated in the Peachtree Road Race for the past 13 years, and is a founding member of The Maker Station, a makerspace in Marietta that provides tools, instruction, and a collaborative environment for creatives interested in woodworking, sewing, and more.

Both Madhav and Jay state that their favorite part about working at Aerial is that everyone’s input is valued. They also find it significant that each employee helps to build Aerial’s products from scratch. As senior team members, it’s up to them to establish a company culture in which employee’s opinions and actions actually hold weight. It makes for a dedicated and passionate team, the likes of which I’ve witnessed firsthand at Airbus Aerial.

by Chisom Awachie


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