Pramod Raheja | Creating Better Leaders, MIT Entrepreneurial Master’s Program, and Building a Fleet of AI-Powered Drones

Pramod Raheja is the co-founder and CEO of Airgility, a company based in the Washington DC area doing interesting stuff with drones in a commercial application and they are helping large companies and entities such as the US Air Force and Department of Homeland Security with their drone technology. Pramod is an Aerospace Engineering graduate from UMCP with over 30 years of aviation and aerospace operations experience. He is also a longtime member of  Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and has been an entrepreneur for many years, having founded a number of companies while being a full time pilot with United Airlines. 

Pramod has a comprehensive understanding of technology at a tactical and strategic level and he always takes a customer-focused approach to management, new business development, revenue generation, and profitability. He is also a Graduate of the Founder’s Institute and the Entrepreneurial Master’s Program at MIT.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • How Pramod Raheja self-funded his way to flying school
  • Pramod talks about the similarities between pilots and entrepreneurs and how this is reflected in his entrepreneurship journey and in the launch of his first company
  • Why Pramod’s first consulting company focused on healthcare
  • How Pramod’s life as a pilot and as an entrepreneur changed after 9/11
  • How people reacted to Pramod’s decision to go into entrepreneurship
  • Pramod explains why he decided to buy into the Intelligent Office franchise 
  • Pramod discusses his decision to go back into employment in order to shift to a different industry
  • Pramod talks about the history of drones and what his company, Airgility, does
  • What Pramod has learned about working with the government
  • The future of Airgility and the company’s plans of using UV light technology for cleaning 
  • Pramod’s experience at Entrepreneurial Masters Program (EMP)
  • The role Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) has played in Pramod’s businesses and entrepreneurship journey
  • The people Pramod acknowledges for his success and achievements

Resources Mentioned:

Sponsor: Rise25

Today’s episode is sponsored by Rise25 Media, where our mission is to connect you with your best referral partners, clients, and strategic partners. We do this through our done for you business podcast solution and content marketing. 

Along with my business partner Dr. Jeremy Weisz, we have over 18 years of experience with B2B podcasting, which is one of the best things you can do for your business and you personally. 

If you do it right, a podcast is like a “Swiss Army Knife” – it is a tool that accomplishes many things at once. It can and will lead to great ROI, great clients, referrals, strategic partnerships, and more. It is networking and business development; and it is personal and professional development which doubles as content marketing

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Check out Rise25 to learn more about our done-for-you lead generation and done-for-you podcast services. 

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Episode Transcript

Intro 0:14

Welcome to the Revolution, the Smart Business Revolution podcast where we ask today’s most successful entrepreneurs to share the tools and strategies they use to build relationships and connections to grow their revenue. Now, your host for the revolution. John Corcoran.

John Corcoran 0:40

All right. Welcome everyone. John Corcoran here. I’m the host of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, where I get the privilege of talking with all kinds of interesting CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs and companies and organizations like YPO, EO, Activision Blizzard, Lending tree, Open Table, x software and many more. I’m also the co-founder of Rise25 where we help connect b2b business owners with their ideal prospects and referral partners. 

And I’m really excited today, my guest is Pramod Raheja. He’s the CEO and co-founder of Airgility, which is a company based in the Washington DC area, which is doing some really interesting stuff with drones in a commercial application, all kinds of interesting applications, helping larger companies, including the US Air Force and Department of Homeland Security entities like that. So we’re going to talk about that. He’s also a longtime EO member since 2011. And he’s been an entrepreneur for many years, founded a number of different companies in spite of the fact, and this is really interesting, that he’s a full time pilot. He flies for United Airlines and has been a pilot for a long time, self funded and bootstrapped his way into it, not going through the military or anything like that, and manages to balance all these things and you know, founding a EO qualified business, which is no easy thing to do. So we’re going to get into all of that in a second. 

But first, before we get into this interview this episode is brought to you by my company Rise25 Media. Rise25 helps b2b businesses to get clients, referrals and strategic partnerships with done for you podcasts and content marketing and if you’re listening to this and you like podcasts and you thought, hey should I do a podcast? Well I say, yes sir you should. We specialize in b2b businesses with a high client lifetime value helping you to build high caliber relationships with the people who matter so To learn more, and get more inspiration and ideas about how you can do this go to or you can also email us at [email protected] 

All right, Pramod, so really interested you know, you and I connected through eo we’re at Startup Grind conference right before the whole Coronavirus pandemic hit and everything got shut down. So I was really glad that we got to meet we connected through EO which by the way if you don’t know about EO, go to or check out some of my past interviews with Verne Harnish, Daniel Marcos or Dave Will, host of the EO 360 podcast if you want to learn more about it’s amazing organizations I’ve been involved with you’ve been involved with since 2011. So let’s first start, I know we chatted before and you self funded becoming a pilot while you’re in college, I believe it was, because you were just passionate about it. And that that’s no small thing to do. It’s not cheap. And it’s also very time consuming to do that. How did you go about that?

Pramod Raheja 3:28

Yeah. Hey, thanks, John. Thanks for having me excited to be here. And yeah, I think the passion for aviation and aerospace and just anything that flew was something that was ingrained in me. I don’t know if it ingrains the right word, but just something I think I was born with is a strong interest. So growing up, I had tons of pictures about videos because we didn’t have videos back then. But pictures and posters of essentially flying machines on my walls and my heroes were like the astronauts, the lunar development. Hello program. And so wanting desire, the desire to fly was kind of inherent in there. And it wasn’t until college that I really had the wherewithal and the, you know, financial ability in terms of like you said bootstrapping, which where I was working at a job and I was pouring all that money into, you know, taking flying lessons. And the ability to do that. So when I did it, I like to say that when people go for their first flight, where they’re actually you know, piloting the airplane, they have a bug or they don’t they have the we call it the flying bug, right? Where they’re just like, oh, gosh, I love this right. And so, then you either do what I did was pursue it professionally, or you pursue it as a hobby and you enjoy it, you know, and do it on the side of whatever you do. And of course, I kind of just immediately identified with this meet the, sort of being a pilot will say, and I yes, myself in those shoes, I could see myself doing it and just follow that out at that point from college. Pass and beyond.

John Corcoran 5:00

And you were not in a small program or an easy program, either you were studying Aerospace Engineering at the University of Maryland College Park, which is one of the most respected programs out there for that topic. So that must have been really time consuming, doing both those things. I’m also fascinated with, you know, the personal qualities that go into becoming a pilot and also go into becoming an entrepreneur. Because some people would say that entrepreneurship is inherently risky. And it requires a lot of courage. Same thing with piloting an airplane, there’s a lot of risk involved and requires a lot of courage and requires a lot of preparation. What are your thoughts on the kind of the, the personal characteristics that go into both of those two types of vocations?

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