Dietrich Evans: Putting Clients on the Trajectory for Success
Looking back, it’s apparent that Dietrich Evans’ career could have taken a radically different course. The talented catcher was drafted out of high school by the San Diego Padres and in college by the San Francisco Giants baseball franchises.
While earning a business degree at Arizona Western College, Dietrich took an internship with the Department of Defense at the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground where he became a certified geodesist and, over the next few years, developed firing tables for heavy artillery in the field. He enjoyed the work, even if it didn’t fit into his goal of owning a sports therapy business.
Life went on pretty much as planned after college. He played pro ball for the Giants’ AAA squad in Scottsdale and continued working for the DOD in the off-season. Then the unexpected happened: While walking across a street in Phoenix, Dietrich was hit by a car traveling 35 miles per hour. The impact herniated three discs and ended his baseball career.
However, Dietrich wasn’t out of the game—not by a long shot. His happy disposition, an entrepreneurial spirit, the DOD internship, even his injury, all factored into a new trajectory that would lead him to become a laser scanning pioneer, the owner of 3D Laser Imaging Inc., and, most recently, U.S. West account manager for Leica Geosystems’ Public Safety Group.
“It’s funny how things work out,” Dietrich says. “They definitely have a reason. They are part of what makes us who we are in the present.”
A Change of Fields
When Dietrich traded the sports field for the technical field in the mid-1990s, he came equipped with a solid technical background in geodesy and remote sensing from his years at the proving grounds. “Basically what we did out there was blast analysis,” he says. “We were studying heavy artillery and doing blast overpressure using 3D devices—whether it was close-range photogrammetry, some type of laser scanner, or similar technologies—to archive these blasts in a number of different applications.”
At that time, laser scanning was in its infancy, and Dietrich was one of the first to begin exploring the technology’s practical uses in various fields. “It wasn’t anything I set out to do,” he says. “It was just something I’d been involved in with the DOD and was very passionate about for quite some time, so it was a natural thing to pioneer some of these applications.”
While working as lead sales engineer and application developer for a survey instrument dealer, Dietrich had the opportunity to collaborate with Ben Kacyra, the founder of Cyra Technologies, on the development of applications for the Cyrax 2400, the first fully integrated laser 3D imaging, mapping, modeling and CAD system. (Cyra Technologies was acquired by Leica Geosystems in 2001.) “We didn’t have a lot of plant infrastructure to scan in Arizona, so I scanned Indian ruins, which I was able to show Ben,” Dietrich explains. “That was some of the first exposure that led him to his endeavor now, which is CyArk, of doing historical preservation with laser scanning.”
In 2004, Dietrich launched a high-definition surveying services and consulting business, 3D Laser Imaging Inc., and completed nearly 500 projects in a wide range of applications. “I was doing some of the original public safety scanning 10 years ago when we were just scanning cars and doing crush analysis and things like that,” he says. “I also worked quite often on arson investigations and in support of the FBI in blast explosions and blast analysis—all utilizing Leica Geosystems laser scanning technology.” In his line of work, Dietrich couldn’t risk deploying technology that required software manipulations in post-processing. He needed accurate and verifiable data that would stand up in court. “Leica has always paid attention to detail,” Dietrich says. “It’s even more important on the public-safety side of things because everything we scan is evidence.”
Today, Dietrich dedicates his 20 years of hands-on experience, skill and knowledge to positioning his public safety clients on a trajectory for success. “Many of the applications that I’m supporting now in the Public Safety Group—bomb-squad work, arson investigation, ballistic coefficients, shooting reconstruction and things like that—I understand on a larger level,” Dietrich says. “Having the background that I have gives me the ability to really focus in because I’ve been in so many situations that are so similar to what these folks are going through.”
While he no longer concerns himself with wind, gravity, curvature of the earth, etc., Dietrich knows from his days at the proving ground that any successful trajectory takes into account all the variables. So he works closely with each agency to understand their workflow and objectives in order to determine which of Leica’s many solutions—GPS/GNSS, total station or laser scanning technology—will best meet their budgetary goals. “I’ve found great satisfaction in being able to craft that solution with agencies and knowing that the solution is going to help them be better and do better,” he says.